Right, let’s get this out the way first: a virgin birth is impossible. Biology 101 states that there must be both a man and a woman in the reproduction process. I’m sorry if you’ve never heard this before but storks are not the way babies appear. Being born of a virgin is scientifically impossible.
“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?”
Luke 1 v 26 - 34
Let’s face it, we ask the above question with Mary – considering how completely impossible it sounds how could a virgin birth happen?
“The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon 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.”
Luke 1 v 35
And therein lies our answer: with God nothing is impossible. God created the entire universe, a virgin birth was easy. But there’s another question worth asking and that’s why Jesus had to be born of a virgin?
There are three important reasons for it:
1) It fulfilled prophecy – hundreds of years before the events described in Luke this was said:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Isaiah 7 v 14
The virgin birth was one of the many signs that Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus’ life was one long fulfillment of prophecy and it started right at his conception.
2) Jesus was born without sin. One of the purposes of Jesus’ existence was to live a sinless and blameless life. Therefore he to avoid the curse of Original Sin i.e. Adam’s first sin that cursed the entire human race.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”
Romans 5 v 12
Being born of a virgin in a miraculous act meant that Jesus was free from being sinful by nature.
3) It shows how unique Jesus is. As I’ve said before the virgin birth is impossible. It happened once, as a miracle, and it will never happen again. This singular event reinforces the fact that God became man just once. It reinforces the fact that Jesus was God – even the act of conception was a miracle.
Hang on, hang on, what if Mary lied? What if this is all some elaborate ruse?
Fortunately, the virgin birth was a sign of Jesus being Jesus Christ – both God and man – but it was not the only sign. There were many others. In fact, what is fascinating when studying the birth of Jesus was the sheer number of prophecies it fell in line with.
Think about this for a second – men four hundred to eight hundred years before Jesus was born predicted with 100% accuracy all the major details of Jesus’ birth and early life. That isn’t just random guesswork but the work of God.
“When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
"But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”
Matthew 2 v 4 – 6
The prophet in question was Micah and the quotation is from Micah 5 v 2. To show just how amazing this is let’s examine what this means.
First of all, Micah prophecies that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem. Ok, now why did Mary and Joseph move to Bethlehem?
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register”
Luke 2 v 1 – 3
So an event completely outside of Joseph and Mary’s control forces them to move to Bethlehem where Jesus is born and the prophecy is fulfilled. And if you thought that was ‘lucky’ bear in mind that Joseph was a direct descent of King David fulfilling another prophecy actually given to King David that:
“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”
2 Samuel 7 v 16
But that’s not all. Around two years about Jesus’ birth Herod heard about his birth and to try and kill Jesus put to death all the babies in Bethlehem two years old or younger.
“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
"A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
Mathew 2 v 16 – 18
Joseph took his family to Egypt and then after a time moved back to Israel but to Nazareth fulfilling yet another prophecy:
“and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He [Jesus] will be called a Nazarene.”
Matthew 2 v 23
Jesus’ whole life was one of fulfilling past prophecies about him and his birth was no exception. It is beyond the boundaries of coincidence that Mary and Joseph could have lied they’re way through everything especially considering that many events were outside of their control.
Furthermore what reason had they to lie about Jesus having a virgin birth? How can the accurate prophecies of men who lived hundreds and hundreds of years before Jesus be explained other than the fact that God was in complete control over the birth of his Son.
The virgin birth was a miracle. A miracle that gave the world Jesus, Immanuel, Saviour. It was just one of many signs and wonders that made it clear that Jesus was who he would later claim to be: the Son of God.