Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 1:19-20 NKJV
It is not possible
Jesus was not born on December 25th, is what some people will say when that day come – they love to point this out to believers in Christ. In last week’s sermon, ‘The Purpose of the Savior’, we proclaimed how the day of birth doesn’t matter to believers! We are not celebrating the date of birth, but the birth of the Savior! Whether Christ was born in the winter, spring, summer, or fall: that does not matter! Whether Christ was born in January, April, August, or September: that does not matter!
When the doubters understand this point, they will then point to the virgin’s birth. They will say, “How is that possible? It’s not possible for a virgin to give birth.” What’s interesting about that thought is that we, humans, are capable of fertilizing the egg in a woman’s womb without her ever having sexual intercourse with a man. If we can do it, why would God be incapable of performing such a feat? But they will continue to say, “How was Jesus born by a virgin’s birth?”
To me, this sounds like the doubting of God’s power, right? We believe that God is almighty and the Creator of all things. Even those that doubt our God exists will say that a god should have limitless power. To doubt the Savior’s birth, the birth of Christ (the Messiah), is to doubt the power of God!
I believe the real issue at play here is the lack of understanding. When we cannot understand something, we typically end up saying, “this makes no sense”. We end up believing that there is a problem with what we are unable to understand – in this case, the birth of Christ. We conclude that there is a problem with the explanation of His birth because of what we think we know.
I find that this happens often when it comes to scripture, or even when it comes to things in the world. All of this year, I watched as people misunderstood the football players kneeling during the national anthem. Instead of trying to understand the player’s perspective, people simply concluded that there was a problem with what the players were doing. They also concluded that there was a also a problem with the people who agreed with player’s protest. The reality is that the problem isn’t necessarily with the football players but those who cannot understand.
This also holds true when it comes to scripture. We know that the Lord God is truth and does not lie. Yet, when we come across scripture that we cannot understand, we believe the problem lies in the scripture instead of with us. Instead of stating that the problem is with the scripture, we should try to figure out the problem with why we cannot accept the scripture. You see, scripture is truth and so we must choose to either accept that truth or doubt that truth – this is what happens with the birth of Christ.
Scripture is truth
When we take a look at the birth of Christ, scripture is actually very straightforward with the birth of our Savior. Scripture tells us (Matthew 1:20) that the angel spoke with Joseph and told him that what was conceived in Mary was of the Holy Spirit. Again, I believe the scripture is very clear on what was conceived in Mary and by whom.
Note: the angel clearly states that what was conceived in Mary was OF the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God! Remember: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. People, for whatever reason, always think that the Holy Spirit was not in work until after Christ’s ascension but the Holy Spirit actually appears several times in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit was not in action inside of all believers until after Christ’s ascension.
So, let’s be clear here. What was conceived in the womb of Mary, according to scripture (God’s gospel), was of God the Holy Spirit. What was conceived in Mary was not of a man! Mary clearly says as much in the next passage of scripture that I will take a look at (Luke 1:26-38). Gabriel visits Mary and he tells her: she is blessed and will conceive a Son and name Him, Jesus (v.31). Mary asks, “How?”
Mary’s response was the same as those that doubt the birth of Christ. How? Mary could not understand the “how” because she did not know any man – she was a virgin. This is where many people get stuck – the how. Gabriel actually explains the “how”, he says:
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. – Luke 1:35 NKJV
Scripture, once again, is very clear on how this happens. The Holy Spirit (God) would overshadow Mary. To overshadow: to cast a shadow over. We experienced a solar eclipse in the summer, and in the eclipse most of the sun was blocked out. Me and my brother began to notice that not only was it slightly darker, but that it had gotten slightly cooler outside – we were caught in the moon’s shadow. The moon was casting a shadow over the earth that caught through the majority of the states, and Georgia just happen to be one of the states in the path of the shadow.
The Holy Spirit, God, was going to overshadow Mary – move upon her and cover her up. God planted His seed, God the Son, into the womb of Mary and fertilized that egg. Our Lord and Savior grew in the womb of Mary, was carried in the womb, and was then born into this world. You see, this is the true story of Christmas; we must choose whether we accept or reject this truth.
The Savior was born! The Savior that would come to this world and get back that what was lost from the Lord. Gabriel said that the child would be great and He was certainly great. Jesus, God was born in the flesh and became our propitiation of sin – to save us! God brought joy to this world and we take joy in proclaiming the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.