The Virgin Birth Of Christ
“And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.”—Matthew 2:9
The virgin’s child; the Father’s Only Begotten Son: Immanuel! God with us! Let all the people clap their hands and shout for joy! Oh, the depths of meaning to mankind in that God-given name Immanuel! Heaven and Earth come together at His advent. An angel from the throne of God, suddenly coming upon the lowly shepherds at night, announces this stupendous event, while the light of God shines round about them. No wonder they were sore afraid. Heaven’s light against Earth’s awful doubting darkness is startling beyond our imagination.
Then, added to the glory of the light about them, is the glory of the angel messenger’s announcement: The birth of “a Saviour which is Christ the Lord,” and breaking in at its close a “multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest!’” The angel and the singing multitude believed that this birth was God’s work, and praised God accordingly. O, that men might believe it too, this Christmas time, and praise Him in the highest.
Silently across the desert sands moves the star-guided, camel-borne company of wise men to the manager where the babe was cradled. They have reached their goal. They have not traveled in vain. Here the star stops above the birthplace of the virgin’s child, the Father’s Only Begotten Son.
Yes, He was the begotten of the Father. Here was not the creation of a new personality, but the giving of a body to a personality that had no beginning; the taking of a body by Him who said, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
How the carnal mind loves to attack Christ’s deity by denying His virgin birth; but above its loud, critical blasts, His sweet voice sings a glad “I am.” He was not Joseph’s son. He was God’s Only Begotten Son, and the Father gave Him to us in that body, wrapped about Him by Mary, according to God’s plan, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
How proud God the Father was of God the Son; how careful in His telling of His coming to us. How He moved the lips of Micah long before His Son’s advent to say, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah”—or as we would say today of so small a town, that it was not big enough to be on the map, not even a county seat—and yet “Out of thee shall come forth unto Me, that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings-forth have been from old, from everlasting.” Yes, from everlasting.
When Herod demanded of the chief priests and scribes at the coming of the wise men where Jesus was to be born, they pointed him to Micah’s words of prophecy, and to the little town of Bethlehem. There the wise men found Him, in Bethlehem of Judea, as the prophet had written. Now if the prophecy of the town in which He was to be born, and was born, is literal and true, these last two words in the prophecy concerning Him, namely, “from everlasting,” are also literal and true, and mark Him as the only begotten of the everlasting Father—Mary’s child, but the Father’s Son.
To dig away all the roots of prophecy that run back from the virgin birth, and cut away all the vine and branches that spring from His coming in the flesh out of His place in the glory with the Father, is a task that men cannot accomplish, “for Him hath God the Father sealed,” and no man can break that seal.
It is not alone that God moved the prophets to write that Jesus was His Son, but God Himself, above the Jordan that day when Jesus was baptized, spoke emphatically, saying: “Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” John the Baptist, born to be the fore-runner of Jesus, and especially equipped by God to give testimony, unfalteringly says: “And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God.”
Also Peter testifies, being moved by the Holy Ghost: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus’ own answer to Peter’s statement is this: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” And on another occasion Peter declared that he was an eyewitness to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, only wrapped in a body of our flesh, for His heavenly glory shone through the flesh before Peter’s very eyes, and the eyes of John and James, that day when they were with Christ in the mountain, when He “was transfigured before them and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light; and behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.”
Peter says in another place, referring to this scene: Ye “were eyewitnesses of His majesty; for He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,’ and this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with Him in the holy mount.”
So above all the contradictory voices of men concerning the virgin birth, sounds the Father’s voice in no uncertain tones: “This is My beloved son”—and surely that voice is final.
The story is told of a soldier on guard duty, who was approached one night by his general.
“What are you duties, sir?” asked the general.
“I am to challenge all comers, and if at the third challenge they do not answer, I am to shoot,” was the reply.
“Would you shoot to kill?” was the general’s next question.
“I think maybe I would,” the guard answered.
“Give me that gun,” said the general hotly. “You are not fit to be a soldier. You will have to learn, sir, that there are men above you who are hired to do the thinking. Your business is but to obey orders.”
God’s command in Matthew 17:5 reads: “And behold a voice out of the cloud which said, This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.”
Oh, the poor mortals today who are stumbling over the virgin birth because they cannot explain it. They are trying to take God’s work out of His hands. They are trying to think out something that to a human mind could never be explained. Poor souls—not fit to be soldiers. They do not even know, and cannot understand, though they be scientists, how two gases can combine and form a liquid called water which they all must use. They may give you some data on the happening. They may even give the lovely name of oxygen to one gas and hydrogen to the other, but this does not make it appear any more reasonable that two gases should form a liquid, and that that liquid can be frozen and fall like a rock, or heated and drive a locomotive. They drink this combination, though they understand it not, but this Water of Life in Christ they refuse because they cannot fathom the combination of the Only Begotten Son of the Father and the virgin’s child.
They will take the lovely gifts of friends this Christmas, they will receive them with profuse thanks, and yet they will turn away from God’s own wonderful gift, sent in His own wonderful way—His Only Begotten Son as a sin-bearer and a giver of everlasting life.
But let all those who know the joy of receiving Christ the Saviour sing praises to God in the highest, at this Christmastime, because they know that “to as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Turn again to the scene of the annunciation. Was ever [an] angel sent from God to bear so wonderful a message as Gabriel bore to Mary? Hear this angel that stands in the presence of God say to her: “The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
Read, too, the words of Elizabeth as Mary comes to visit her in her home, bearing this unborn Son of God. Read those marvelous words spoken by Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, under the power of the Holy Ghost which had come upon her and filled her the moment she came into the presence of this unborn babe. What a wonderful bit of evidence that he was the second person of the God-head with power to baptize with the Holy Ghost! How glorious Elizabeth’s testimony as she calls this unborn babe, “My Lord!”
It would be most beautiful if we could think over after her the thoughts of Mary during those wonderful days. How she must have longed to see the face of this babe, the Son of God, and with what exquisite joy she must have gazed with the adoring wise men upon Him in the manger there, while the star of God kept vigil above the cradle.
Yet we who have received Him, precious Saviour of our souls, into our hearts, know something of her longing to see His face. Praise God for the great and growing company among Christians who “love His appearing” and are earnestly waiting until we shall see Him face to face—“Whom having not seen we love.”
Lo, the day-star has risen high in our hearts, above all, clear and bright to the eye of faith, to the wise men of this age; but soon the night will be over, the dawning past, the day-star will melt into the Sun of Righteousness, and the clouds will flee away and day-time with Him will be here at last. “Even so come, Lord Jesus.”