March 3, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for that reason also the holy Child will be called the Son of God.”—Luke 1:35 (NASB)
Did you know the Bible contains 44 prophecies about the birth, life, work, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus? And while each prophecy is important and tells us something vital about the person and mission of Jesus, one detail that often just gets overlooked because of how ingrained it is in the story of Christmas is the virgin birth.
It’s just kind of become something we know, but never really dig deeper on. It seems we’ve lost our sense of wonder and astonishment about it. But it’s something we absolutely should examine because the truth behind it is crucial to the story of our salvation.
Let’s consider what we’re told:
The angel Gabriel comes to Mary, a virgin, and says, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30–32 NIV). This causes Mary to ask how this could all happen, since she is a virgin and has never done the thing humans have to do to conceive. A logical question, right?
Well, Gabriel gives Mary the explanation in today’s passage: “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.”
Two special things to note here…
First, the word overshadow here means that the presence and power of God would cover her and that the Child would be conceived through miraculous means. Second, Gabriel said the Child would be holy. The word holy means, “set apart, sacred, special, unlike any other.” How? Because He would be the Son of God . . . God in the flesh, Immanuel (“God with us”).
So, why is this such an important detail? Did Jesus HAVE to be born of a virgin? And if so, why?
Here are two big reasons why this matters:
Every person conceived from the seed of Adam has been born into sin AND spiritually dead. You see, Adam and Eve died spiritually the very instant they ate of the forbidden fruit. Because of this, they could no longer pass on through their genes what that they did not possess, which was spiritual life.
But Jesus wasn’t conceived by a man and woman, but by the Holy Spirit. He was free of the stain of sin and spiritual death because He was not conceived by the seed of sinful man—the Bible is clear that our sinful nature is passed through man’s seed. Thus, Jesus was born perfect and sinless by the power of the Spirit and with the Spirit of the Lord upon Him, making Him the only One who could pay the price for our sins and reverse the curse of death.
The virgin birth establishes Jesus’ divinity and perfection through the Holy Spirit’s work in Mary’s womb. Apart from this truth, we could not be forgiven of sin, because no one else was worthy to take the penalty of sin and pay the debt in full—only the holy, perfect Son of God!
Pause: Why does the detail of the virgin birth matter so much?
Practice: Jesus’ birth was announced in advance to give people hope and show God’s faithfulness. Write how He’s been faithful this year!
Pray: Father, by sending Jesus, You did for us what You knew we could never do for ourselves! You provided the perfect Lamb for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus, thank You that You laid down Your life willingly, that You endured the cross for the joy that was set before You, the joy of “bringing many sons and daughters to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 NIV). I praise You, Jesus, whose joy is in my redemption, which beautifully and powerfully displays Your glory. And I thank You that You allow me to share in this joy every day. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.