by Matt Slick
The reason the virgin birth of Jesus recorded in Matthew 1:25, is so important is because it fulfills prophecy, supports the deity of Jesus, and shows his sinless nature. Let's take a look.
The Virgin Birth Fulfills Prophecy
The Old Testament prophesied the virgin birth of Jesus.
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."
Some critics of the prophetic aspect of Scripture will tell us that the Hebrew word for virgin, in that verse, is 'almah' which means "young maiden." It is not 'btulah' which is Hebrew for "virgin." Therefore, they say that Isaiah 7:14 is not prophecy. There are two responses to this objection.
First, saying that a young maiden will give birth to a child is not miraculous. What would be the reason for Isaiah writing that a girl will have a child? All children are born of women, so Isaiah must have had something else in mind than just a casual mention. Furthermore, the word "Emanuel" means "God is with us." So, the verse tells us that this person who was to be thus born was of special character.
Second, in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament,1 the Jews translated the Hebrew word "alma" into the Greek "parthenon" which means virgin. So, the Jews themselves understood the text in Isaiah 7:14 referred to a virgin birth.
The Virgin Birth and the Deity of Christ
The New Testament clearly tells us that Jesus has two natures, divine and human. He is God and man.
- John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
- Colossians 2:9, "For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form."
If Jesus were born of natural parentage, a biological father, and the biological mother, then the support for his deity would be undermined. In addition, Jesus' divine nature and human nature are important because of how they affect the doctrine of the atonement. Jesus is human so that he could die for people. He is divine so that his sacrifice would be of divine value and sufficient to atone for the sins of his people.
The virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus
The Bible tells us that the sacrifice offered to God must be without blemish.
- Numbers 19:2, "This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed."
- Deuteronomy 17:1, "You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing to the LORD your God."
If Jesus were born from a purely human lineage, then how could we defend his sinless nature, a sinless nature that comes from God? Since a mother and a father are sinners, for Jesus to be born of sinful human parentage, it would imply his own sinful nature. This would then jeopardize the sufficiency of the atonement that requires an unblemished sacrifice. After all, having a fallen, sinful nature, would be a blemish.
The virgin birth is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, who overshadowed Mary.
- Matthew 1:20, "But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
Mary's pregnancy was the product of God's miraculous work, not mere human copulation. Therefore, Jesus was conceived in a miraculous manner, from a virgin, which fulfilled prophecy, and supports his deity which further supports the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins.
- 1. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament that was produced by the Jews around 250 BC.