Christmas: Was Jesus really born of a virgin?
What is spoken of as “the virgin birth” refers to the unique birth of all human history. It refers to the incarnation of the Son of God through a woman named Mary. By incarnation we mean that God took on flesh as true humanity. By speaking of it as a virgin birth, it is meant that no man was involved in the procreation resulting in the birth. What a great amount of debate and controversy there has been over this event! But the fact of the matter is that such a birth did take place over 2 millennia ago in the city of Bethlehem of Israel. This person named Jesus was born apart from human copulation. And to make it even more amazing, His birth was prophesied many centuries earlier. The first of the statements predicting this miraculous event is found in the first book of the Bible.
15 And I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed [unbelievers] and her seed [believers]; it shall bruise thy head [a prediction of the coming final defeat of Satan], and thou shalt bruise his heel [a prediction of the crucifixion of Christ on the cross of Calvary].
16 Unto the woman [Eve] he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children [speaking of all the suffering associated with giving birth to a child]; and thy desire shall be to thy husband [Adam], and he [the man] shall rule over thee. [Emphasis added]
Then many centuries later the prophet Isaiah makes a prediction about this.
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin [PARTHENOS = virgin] shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [meaning God with us]. [Emphasis added]
Some falsely claim this verse is simply speaking of a young woman, not a virgin. However, such a birth from a virgin was essential so that Mary could give birth to a sinless child. For it is the seed of the man that perpetuates the sin nature from one generation to the next. Without the virgin birth Jesus would have been born a sinner with a sin nature and in need of a Savior like the rest of mankind. For a way of salvation to be provided, a sinless sacrifice was essential. It was this Jesus of Nazareth who was born sinless of a virgin who became that sacrifice. This is why John the Baptist made the prophetic statement he made when he first saw Him.
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [Emphasis added]
Until then animals such as lambs and bullocks were used as sacrifices that served as a picture of the One who was to come as the once and for all sacrifice—Jesus Christ. This is also something the apostle Paul often spoke about.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For he hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]
Here’s probably the primary passage that clearly shows that this woman Mary was a virgin and not just a young girl.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused [HARMOZO = joined to be a wife] to Joseph, before they came together [SUNERCHOMAI = come together as in sexual intercourse], she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived [GENNAO = conceived or begat] in her is of the Holy Ghost.
What a clear statement explaining what happened!
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet [Isaiah 7:13-15], saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew [GINOSKO = KNEW – used here for intercourse] her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus. [Emphasis added]
After all this, clearly, the child was born of a virgin. How could it be made clearer! Why would anyone deny Mary’s virginity unless they simply didn’t want to believe it, as is often the case?
But why is this virgin birth so important? That’s an extremely important question about a very important matter that everyone should be familiar with. What must be understood about all this is that had Mary not given birth to Jesus as a virgin, He would have been born a sinner like the rest of us. That means then that He would not have been qualified to be our Savior. He would have been sinful like the rest of mankind and, therefore, condemned by the justice of God. Numerous passages of Scripture speak of this inherent problem of sin in all mankind. Here are several of those.
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [Emphasis added]
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: [Emphasis added]
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. [Emphasis added]
Even other writers of Scripture speak of this.
1 John 1:8
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [Emphasis added]
Both the problem of man’s sin as well as the solution was laid out many centuries ago.
3 He [Jesus Christ] is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. [Emphasis added]
It was all this that Christ did to provide for us a way of salvation. It is this truth that must be believed for the salvation of someone to occur. If this message is not provided, the gospel has not been presented.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel [the good news] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins [making full payment for our sins] according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried [our sins were put away], and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]
If it is not this message that someone believes, salvation has not occurred.
In every generation the most important division in the human race is believer and unbeliever, saved and unsaved, and child of God and child of Satan. In which camp are you? This most important division is not geographical, racial, linguistic, or any other such thing. There are those who remain spiritually dead and then there are those who’ve been made alive by a spiritual new birth called regeneration. If you’ve not done this already, you can put your faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for you through His death, burial, and resurrection and be saved forever. If you’ve never done that, what better time than right now?