Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reason to Believe the Virgin Birth

Christmas is fast approaching. In the rush to buy presents, attend parties, and see family I hope you can take a moment and ponder the true meaning of Christmas.

In his book Jesus Among Other Gods Ravi Zacharias wrote; “Yes, the virgin birth is a startling claim. People have stumbled over this truth for centuries. Yet it’s a claim backed by strong evidence.” If we hold to the belief that the Bible is true, then we must believe that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus.

Those who know me well know that I am not a big Christmas guy. I love to give (and get) presents, to spend time with my family, and to eat the food that is so plentiful at Christmas. The reason I am not a big Christmas guy is because I the main truth of Christianity isn’t that God broke into this world as the baby Jesus. The main truth of Christianity is discovered in the resurrection. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then it would not matter that He was born. Even Christmas discovers its meaning and truth in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. That is why, for me, Easter is a much more significant holiday.

That does not mean Christmas is not a significant part of our faith or that Christmas is not important. Christmas is extremely important. One of the evidences for the divinity of Jesus is His birth. Jesus’ birth was promised hundreds of years before the even. Not only was Jesus’ birth promised, it was also supernatural. We all know the natural way for a baby to be conceived and born. Jesus’ birth was different because it did not follow that natural way, for He was born to a virgin. The virgin birth of Jesus is a piece of evidence that points to Jesus’ divine nature.

Ravi Zacharias gives 4 evidences that support the truth of the virgin birth:
  1. Mary claimed such an outlandish conception at the risk not only of her own life but of Jesus’ life as well. To be pregnant and unmarried exposed her to a “putting away” by Joseph similar to divorce; to be pregnant by a divine miracle exposed her to charges of slandering God. The sentence? Death.
  2. Zechariah the priest and his wife, Elizabeth--the parents of John the Baptizer--celebrated the birth of Jesus as the miraculous birth of the Savior. In a culture that revolved around power and position, it would have been natural for them not to want their son to live in the shadow of Jesus, his younger cousin. They risked shame, social ostracism, and even suicide to stand up for the truth.
  3. Jesus’ followers and the New Testament authors risked the rejection of their whole message by claiming a virgin birth, especially since their message had to fulfill perfectly hundreds of prophecies. If untrue, the virgin birth was an unnecessary stumbling block. And it would have been easy for Jesus’ opponents to discredit the message had the virgin birth not miraculously met the test of the Old Testament.
  4. Possibly the most astounding endorsement of the virgin birth comes from Islam, which for centuries has opposed the Christian gospel. Even the Koran, written six hundred years after Jesus, affirmed His virgin birth (Surah 19:19-21). This would serve Islam no good purpose. (Jesus Among Other Gods: The Youth Edition, pp. 30, 31).

The Apostle Paul wrote; “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15, NLT). The virgin birth is one piece of evidence that supports that truth.

I hope your Christmas is a joyful one. Take some time and thank God for sending Jesus, for He is the reason we can have joy.

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