As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, I’ve been thinking a lot about the birth of Jesus and the Christian claims related to His conception. The “virgin conception” is an essential belief of the authors of Scripture and the early Church. It is listed in the earliest creeds as an essential ingredient of Christian Orthodoxy. Yet many of us, as Christians, give little or no thought to the reality of the claim or the significance of the event. Why does it matter how Jesus was conceived, anyway? As I’ve been pondering this question, three truths are brought to my memory about the importance of the virgin conception of Jesus. I thought it might be good for all of us to remember the essential importance of the virgin conception on the eve of Christmas:
The Virgin Conception Is An Essential Piece of Evidence
The “virgin conception” fulfills the Old Testament prophecy initially given by the prophet Isaiah:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Matthew cited this prophecy of Isaiah when describing the birth of Jesus. Matthew saw the role that the “virgin conception” made as an important piece of evidence (fulfilled prophecy) demonstrating that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah.
The Virgin Conception Is An Essential Explanation of Jesus’ Nature
God could have entered the world in any number of ways, but it’s significant that Jesus was born to a virgin. The supernatural God of the universe came into the world in a supernatural way that retained his sinlessness. If Jesus had been born of two fallen human parents, He would have inherited the same sin problem that plagues all of us as descendants of Adam. Instead, Jesus entered the world untouched by human sin so that He might serve as our Savior:
2 Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The Virgin Conception Is An Essential Truth of God
The Bible makes many claims about the nature of the world and about the nature of God’s activity in the world. The “virgin conception” is just one claim of many. If we trust that God is telling us the truth in other areas of Scripture, there is no reason for us to doubt Him with this essential truth related to the conception of Jesus.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit ; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.
The “virgin conception” of Jesus assured that the Son of God (the eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God of the universe) would be uniquely qualified to act as the “propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Jesus is the man-God of Divine and human origin, completely God and completely human. He understands our struggles as a result of His humanity, but He is capable of paying the ultimate price for our sin because of His divinity.
While the “virgin conception” is often dismissed by unbelievers and ignored by Christians, it is an essential truth that can be defended and explained as yet another miraculous act of God, intended to save and restore the crown of His creation. What better day to remember the importance of how Jesus was conceived than Christmas Eve? Merry Christmas to you as you ponder the magnitude of what God did for us through Jesus Christ.