Some of the traditions surrounding the Christmas holiday are confusing. For example, the old tradition our parents practiced of putting real candles on the Christmas tree. Not a good idea. My grandma’s Christmas sweaters with 47 different holiday colors on them. Complex and confusing. Canada’s boxing day. Really? You need that on the calendar just in case you forget to box up the tinsel? And finally, fruit cake.
But there is another thing I did not understand about Christmas when I became a Christian; the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Is it just a neat miracle where God says, “Watch this!”?
The virgin birth, more accurately phrased, the virgin conception, was an essential piece of God’s plan in redemptive history.
What exactly does the virgin conception mean?
It does not mean that Christ was born in a manner different than others. He was born like any other baby. It does not mean a miraculous conception, for example, as from a woman who could not have children.
The virgin conception of Christ means that, completely contrary to the normal course of God’s design in nature, God joined himself to humanity, becoming fully human and was born in the natural way.
The result was that the conception of Jesus Christ was not his origin, but his incarnation. He has no origin: Christ was the only person in history whose conception did not mark the beginning of his existence. At his conception, he did not become something different, but took on something he had not; humanity:
As far as witnesses go, many testify directly or indirectly to the fact of Christ’s virgin conception.
- Many biblical writers. In addition to Isaiah (Isa. 7:14), Matthew (Matt. 1:18-20), Luke (Luke 1:31-35), and Mary (as recorded in the gospels).
- Christ. He is constantly referring to God as his Father, which means he knew of his virgin conception.
- Christ’s enemies. Though indirectly, those who opposed Christ testified to his virgin conception when they disdained him for being the product of fornication (John 8:19, 41).
- His life itself demands a heavenly origin. J. Oswald Sanders writes, “If, as science demands, every event must have an adequate cause, then the presence of a sinless Man, in the midst of universally sinful men implies a miracle of origin. Such a Person as Jesus…demands such a birth as the gospels record. The how of the birth becomes believable when the Who of the birth is taken into account” (The Incomparable Christ, 14).
- Early church historians. Individuals such as Justin Martyr, Aristides, and Ignatius also affirmed the fact of the virgin conception.
So, why the virgin conception? Generally, the virgin conception of Jesus Christ was an essential element of God’s plan to bring forgiveness and eternal life to all who would trust in Christ as Lord and Savior.
Breaking that down a bit, here are 5 reasons for the virgin conception of Jesus Christ: