“Born of the Virgin Mary”

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Why was Jesus born of a virgin? Is that how he could remain sinless? Does it make him a magical demigod? Actually, it goes all the way back to the beginning of the Bible, to the first promise of the Gospel. After Adam and his wife sinned, God made a threat-promise to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and her offspring [seed]; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). God would be the one to wrench humanity back from the devil’s dominion, and he would do so through the seed of the woman. This is an enigmatic way of talking about a future champion. Women don’t have “seed,” men do. Ordinarily we’d expect the man’s offspring to be the object of such a prophecy. The Bible is full of lists of “this man” begetting “that man,” but man could not bring his own salvation into the world. God would do something unconventional to show his will and power to save.

And Jesus wasn’t just born of any old virgin, but of Mary, in the house and city of David. Among God’s many gracious promises was the fantastic one made to David concerning his descendant: “I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2 Samuel 7:12-14). Jesus is unique, but he is truly human; he shares our nature. And he is the great King of Israel whose rule and deliverance extends to all nations. The King of kings is one of us! His kingdom is for people like us! It is customary for nations to commemorate the reigns of kings and dynasties; now the whole earth measures time according to the rule of our brother, Jesus Christ (Anno Domini, “The Year of the Lord”). Two thousand Years of Jubilee, two millennia of the rule of the promised seed of the woman is a good start to his eternal dominion!

Why do you suppose it is so difficult for us to hold together the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus? According to the Scriptures, why must the Messiah be truly both? How does the unique-yet-shared humanity of Jesus encourage you? In what ways are you prone to forget its importance? Do you feel like the Virgin Birth is an odd doctrine for which you must make apologies, or Good News you celebrate and share with others?

 

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