Jesus Was Born of a Virgin for Our Salvation
Pastor Tom Ascol continues in his Advent series with a message on Matthew 1:18-25 entitled “Jesus Was Born of a Virgin to Be Our Savior.” Jesus’ birth as described in our passage, as well as in Luke 1, illustrates for us the natural circumstances, the supernatural cause, and the eternal significance of that event.
Mary and Joseph were betrothed though not yet married. Betrothal then was a far more serious relationship than is engagement today. It involved legal relationships. The relationship between the betrothed was initiated yet not consummated so Mary’s becoming pregnant would normally have indicated an adulterous affair. The fact that the baby was from the Holy Spirit was neither known nor anticipated. Mary’s pregnancy, therefore, was scandalous. Joseph, no doubt at first hurt, decided to privately put Mary away to spare her ridicule. However, an angel in telling Joseph what had happened, directed Joseph to stay with Mary. What should have been a time of happiness now would open the couple up to judgment and derision. Still, as far as anyone knew, the circumstances of Jesus’ birth would be natural even if caused by the supernatural.
How could a baby be born of a virgin? Matthew tells us Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. This is exactly what the angel Gabriel had told Mary (Luke 1:30-34). It is what the angel told Joseph. God was doing something miraculous and unique. However, it was not only the angels speaking to Mary and Joseph that told of a virgin giving birth. The Old Testament foretold this event. Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” prophesied a virgin giving birth. This was fulfilled in Mary giving birth to Jesus. Objections to the virgin birth come from both biological and exegetical concerns. Yet is it really difficult for the Creator to make something improbable happen, especially given the peculiarity of this sign for the coming Messiah? Furthermore, the preponderance of usage of the word alma refers to a young, unmarried maiden, perfectly descriptive of Mary. The biblical conclusion is that Jesus was born of a virgin. Being born in natural circumstances from supernatural causes leads to the eternal purpose of Jesus’ birth.
Jesus came to save His people from their sin. In fact, Jesus means “savior.” Moreover, Immanuel means “God with us.” While God has always been with His people His Incarnation brings Him to His people in an unprecedented way, the only way He could work out salvation for these people. Hebrews 4:15 explains “we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” As He lived among us He fulfilled the Law enabling Him to be a worthy sacrifice on our behalves. This One, miraculously born of a virgin, miraculously provided a way for sinful man to be saved from their sin and enter into the relationship with God planned before the foundation of the earth. Come to the Father through the Son today.