Was Mary really a virgin?


The Virgin Birth of Jesus requires faith, models faith and inspires faith. Have a look at Luke 1:26-38

Vs 26 – 27 Salvation is ultimately from God.
“God’s destiny positions you in the right place, at the right time, with the right people” (Brian Houston). God sends an Angel to Zechariah the Father of John. And God fills John with his Spirit to prepare the way for Jesus. Then God sends the Angel Gabriel to Mary to tell her that she will be pregnant with Jesus. It is God at work. And that’s why it supernatural, it is inexplicable, it is miraculous, it is beyond human understanding. If the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of the wise” (1Cor 1:25) why do we expect to fully understand Wisdom incarnate? The Virgin Birth serves as a reminder to us that our salvation is from God, through God, because of God and for God. That is why he gets all the glory! God is completely in charge of the story of redemption, and you just like Mary can trust him with your life.

Vs 28 Mary’s Faith
There really is something about Mary. She is the “favored one”. She is not as the Catholics believe without sin. Catholics believe in the doctrine of Immaculate Conception – that Mary was born without sin. However, this is nowhere to be found in Scripture. But Mary is a wonderful example of someone ordinary, who has real faith, being used for the extraordinary.

We don’t know much about her family history. Probably because she didn’t come from a very well to-do family. She is an ordinary girl, plain Jane, girl next door, but she is filled with faith. She has more faith than Zechariah who is older than her and a priest. She believes that she will fall pregnant through the Holy Spirit (vs. 38), while Zacheriah doubts that God can open Elizabeth’s womb (vs. 20).
Perhaps this is why God favored her; because of her faith? Mary and Joseph will have to be the primary role models in the life of Jesus. Jesus will imitate mommy and daddy. When Jesus is a young boy Mary and Joseph’s faith will be his faith. Mary to a large degree will shape the spirituality of Jesus during his most formative years. And God knows that Jesus will need faith. But Mary is troubled.

Vs 29 – 33 Mary was troubled
God is in charge, he wants to use Mary to make a difference, but this does not mean that it’s going to be easy. When Joseph learned that she was pregnant he threatened her with divorce. That’s heartbreaking. Mary didn’t get the kind of wedding she wanted. She was pregnant. Mary had to face people who did not believe her. If it took an Angel to convince Joseph, who loved her, what about everyone else? We don’t know all of her trouble, but we get a glimpse of what Jesus had to endure.

Jesus grew up having to answer some complex questions about his identity. “Am I illegitimate?” for example. “Why is Joseph not my real dad?” “Why could all the other kids have real Dad’s and not me?” You may know what its like to not have a dad around, you know first hand the kind of feelings and thoughts and questions that Jesus had. In essence Joseph adopts Jesus. Joseph is not his biological father, but his adopted father. Perhaps you have been adopted. Jesus was adopted. Jesus had to choose to work through insecurities by faith. And certainly others ridiculed Jesus as he grew up. They had this “trump card” as John Piper has noted; “You don’t even know who your real dad is”, “your mom was loose”.
In John 8 Jesus shares the gospel with some Jews and they resist him. They are so enraged that Jesus would call them slaves to sin and children of the Devil that they use the card:

They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality…” (John 8:41)

Ouch! “You don’t even know who your own dad is”. “You are a bastard”. That’s what they are saying. Jesus was slandered and called illegitimate throughout his whole life. The Bible says “he had nowhere to lay his head” Luke 9.58. I don’t think that means a roof over his head, I think it’s got to do with rejection. Jesus had to grow in faith.

Jesus had to choose believe by faith that God was really his father. Jesus had to choose to live by faith and not by sight. He had to choose to believe God’s Word rather than his circumstances. And he did. Jesus persevered “for the joy set before him”, which was you and me. He was driven by compassion for us.

In the Jewish culture “a good name is to be chosen rather than riches” Proverbs 22:1. But Jesus was so driven by his compassion for us that he was doubly poor. He had neither a good name nor riches. He compromised his good name by spending time with tax collectors, prostitutes and the untouchables of society. And here’s why: He said:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick.” Luke 5:31.

Friends Jesus endured insecurity and slander his whole life to save sinners. What a savior! People stumble over the Virgin Birth of Jesus and would rather call him illegitimate than holy because they stumble over truth. But in the end, Jesus knew who he was and the only voice that mattered, was the voice of God his Father.

Vs 34 – 35 Why the Virgin Birth?
We can see three reasons why Mary had to be a virgin and conceive by the Holy Spirit.
1. The Virgin Birth was the prophetic sign
In Isaiah 7:14 we read:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (God with us).
The Virgin birth was the actual sign. You will know who “Immanuel” is by the pregnant virgin. The Virgin Birth was to verify that Jesus was God with us.

2. So that Jesus would be truly human and truly God
The Virgin Birth made possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one person. Now, if we think for a moment there are two other possibilities that Dr. Wayne Grudem suggests that God could have used to send his Son.
A. God could have given Jesus a human form in heaven and then from heaven sent him to earth, without being born. But this would make it hard for us to see how Jesus is fully human, and technically Jesus wouldn’t be a descendant of Adam and part of the human race.
B. Alternately God could have given Jesus a human father and mother and supernaturally implanted his deity. But this would make it hard for us to see how Jesus was fully God, since he wouldn’t have been born any differently to us.
The Virgin Birth makes it easier for us to understand that Jesus was fully God (conceived by the Holy Spirit) and fully human (born like you and me from a woman).

3. So that Jesus would not inherit Adam’s sin
Every human being is born sinful. We have inherited Adam’s sin. The Virgin Birth interrupts this lineage to Adam and means that Jesus is born holy. Have a look at verse 35:

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God. (ESV)

Now when you see therefore in the Bible you can ask ‘wherefore is this there for?’.

therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.

Why will the child be holy? Because:
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you

Jesus has a God nature, he is holy because of the Holy Spirit on Mary. He has a God nature because the Holy Spirit came upon Mary; which made him holy from birth. So Jesus is not born with a sinful nature like you and me.

Vs. 37 – 38 Son’s like Jesus
Jesus and Mary and Joseph sacrificed much for us. Jesus endured so much slander, he had to work through insecurities about his father, and ultimately he endured the cross. Why? So that you would receive the Holy Spirit and also become children of God.
At the “fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman…so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4). Jesus led the way. He has become “the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom 8:29). He chose to live by faith and endure slander and the ultimate slander of the cross so that we might also be included in God’s family.

But the choice is yours.

Have you put your identity in Christ? Perhaps you’ve put your identity in your performance. Perhaps you have put your identity in your physical looks? Perhaps you have put your identity in your job success? Perhaps you have put your identity in marriage or children? And perhaps these things have let you down. Perhaps your career is going as well as you like. Perhaps you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, or you so hoped that you would be married by now and you are not. Will you choose by faith to not allow worldly standards to define you? Will you choose to turn to God, walk by faith and not by sight, pray and read Scripture before you turn to a friend, or a councilor, or the next sermon or book? You need to hear from God directly who you are. That’s how Jesus overcame.

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