Why the virgin birth?
“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
- from Luke 1:35
Today, we’re going to look at Luke’s explanation for why Jesus came into the world through the miracle of a virgin birth.
In Luke’s telling of the Christmas story, the angel Gabriel visits the virgin Mary and announces that Mary is going to miraculously conceive and give birth to Jesus who would become king of a kingdom that will never end.
Here’s what the angel Gabriel doesn’t say …
He doesn’t say that sex is sinful or icky or shameful or wrong. From the very beginning of the Bible we read that God created our sexual natures and designed them for our pleasure and benefit. Though sex has been warped by the fall of humanity, it isn’t some problem with sex that led to Jesus being born of a virgin.
He also doesn’t focus on original sin (the classical / theological explanation for the necessity of the virgin birth). There are other places in the New Testament that talk about Jesus being sinless and Luke does mention that Jesus would be born holy, but that isn’t his emphasis for why the virgin birth needed to happen.
Can you see where Luke and the angel Gabriel focus their attention?
Look right in the middle of the verse. Can you see the “So”? Hinge words like “so,” “because,” and “therefore” should flash for us when we read scripture. They signal that the biblical authors are taking a deep breath and preparing to dive deeper into the reasons for or implications of what they’ve just been writing.
According to Luke, Jesus was born of a virgin so that he could be called the Son of God. Jesus’ biological father wasn’t Joseph (a good man with a distant link to Jewish royalty) or a Roman soldier (despite the perks that that might have given him with the occupying Roman regime). Jesus’ biological father was – however mysteriously – the Most High.
From the very start of Jesus’ life his heavenly Father claimed him. Jesus was wanted and loved. Everything else Jesus did – his miracles, his ministry, his death and resurrection – it all flowed from the relationship he had with his Father. In the virgin birth we see the extraordinary and miraculous lengths God will go to for the sake of a relationship.
The same God who bent our rules around conception is the God who has offered you a place in his family. He’ll go to great lengths to include you.
Take some time today to meditate on the truth that God wants a relationship with you. What emotions does that truth stir for you? In what ways has that ground-shaking reality grown commonplace for you? How can you reconnect with God’s powerful invitation to you today?