February 21, 2019

Impossible? Or Possible?

One of the most ridiculed tenets of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the story of His birth. Not that people deny that it happened (as they once did), but that it happened the way that the Bible said it happened.

First, it was prophesied in the Old Testament. But how can an event be known hundreds of years before it happens?

There are several verses but this one is the most well known and probably the most criticized. It is also the one Luke quotes as being said by an angel to Mary.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “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. (Luke 1:30–35)
This conversation between Mary and the angel say that Jesus is Immanuel just as Matthew’s account affirms:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:23)
Putting this together with other verses, the NT says that the birth of Jesus was told to Mary by an angel before it happened, she was a virgin, and the conception would not be about Joseph, but by the Holy Spirit. In other words, Jesus was fully God and fully man. Other verses say this:
. . . the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3)
Why is this significant? How is it even possible? In my thinking, why limit God to our understanding of how things work? If the Bible is true in saying nothing is impossible for God, then there is no reason to ridicule the idea that He could be born in a human womb. The Bible indicates God wanted to reveal Himself to humanity. He is invisible. What other way could He do that and be believable? A spectacular sky show? Writing on the wall? Revelation into the mind? An article in the newspaper?

Because we are created in His image, what better way to show us what He is like by appearing as one of us — only without sin?

I’ve never had a problem with the virgin birth. In my thinking, any birth is totally amazing. Our human ideas of how to reproduce ourselves falls short. A clone is not a new creation and some of the science fiction efforts are downright comical. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God whose IQ goes far beyond genius. His creative powers are incredible. Our efforts to explain them are laughable and full of holes.

I should not be too hard on those who stumble over the idea of a virgin birth. God does say their minds are blinded and they cannot see the glory of Christ. I’ve been there. It is a miracle also that He can open blind eyes. As the NT says:
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:5–6)
Jesus, You know how difficult it is for any of us to fully grasp the amazing truth of who You are. How can it be that God came to visit us, to redeem us, even to take on the task of transforming us into Your image? It happens — only because nothing is impossible for God. You truly take my breath away!

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