Monday, December 11
Born of a Virgin
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:31–35; Isaiah 7:14
Put yourself in Joseph’s sandals for a minute. Knowing that the two of you have not had sex, your betrothed comes to you and indicates that she is not only pregnant but that the life inside her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. Wouldn’t you be angry because your only logical conclusion is that she had sex with someone else? Wouldn’t you be even more angry because of the ridiculous story she has come up with and even brought God into it? Yet, Joseph maintains his cool and decides to divorce her without having her publicly stoned to death, which he was entitled to do under the law (Deut 22:20–24). He decides on this more peaceful solution until an angel reveals to him that Mary is telling the truth (Matt 1:18–25).
Really? A virgin? Many scholars have attempted to dispute this, indicating that the Hebrew word used in Isa 7:14 could mean either someone who has never had sex or simply a young woman. While this is true, the Greek translation of Isa 7:14 as well as the Greek word used in Matthew and Luke’s Gospel accounts is a word that could only mean someone who has never had sex. In addition to many other factors that point to this understanding, what else would be such a miraculous sign from God (Isa 7:14)? Luke’s Gospel certainly makes it clear that Mary is this type of virgin, not simply a young woman (Luke 1:34).
The original promise was made through Isaiah the prophet to the king of Judah as a sign of God’s presence in the midst of threats from the kings of Aram and Israel who had joined forces against Judah (Isaiah 7). While partially fulfilled in Isaiah’s lifetime with the birth of a child that signaled God’s presence and soon-coming victory over Judah’s enemies, Matthew’s Gospel points specifically to this prophecy being fulfilled in the birth of Jesus (Matt 1:22–23). Luke’s Gospel discusses the ramifications of the birth of Jesus in that it will be a supernatural birth (born of a virgin) and that Jesus will be not only the Son of God but also the long-awaited Messiah prophesied in 2 Samuel 7:12–16.
Now imagine being Mary who was chosen to carry the Son of God in her womb! Why Mary? We do not know a specific reason other than that she was favored by God (Luke 1:28, 30). Our God is a God who loves us because of Who He is and not because of what we have done. Like Mary, although we do not see it in ourselves, God sees the potential in us for what He can do through us. Jesus was born of a virgin through the conception by the Holy Spirit of God, demonstrating that He is God in the flesh. As we reflect on Christmas, let us remember that we worship a God of miracles and a God who can take the ordinary and make the extraordinary.
- What does the miraculous entry of Jesus into the human race say about God’s love for us?
- How does Jesus being called “Immanuel” (God with us) impact your view of Christmas? How does it impact your view of the world around us?
Listen to "Silent Night"