Announcement of the Birth of Jesus to a Virgin: Part 2 of 3 (series: Harmony of the Gospels)
by John Lowe
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
The angel’s message contains a quote from Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” None of this is hard to understand and both passages are quite literal. When the liberal theologian says that the Bible does not teach the virgin birth, I would ask him, “Can you read” and if the answer were yes, I would tell him “Then you haven’t read your Bible.” It is as plain as the nose on your face. The Bible says that a virgin gave birth to Jesus.
Take another look at Isaiah’s prophesy, “…..The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah said that His name would be Immanuel, but He is not called by that name in any of the Gospels. Immanuel means “God with us,” but they called Him Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins. However, He cannot save us from our sins unless He is Immanuel, “God with us.” Every time you call Him Jesus, you are saying “God with us.” He is God with us and God for us. He is our Savior, born of a virgin.
Note that God is going to give Jesus a throne, the throne that David set on when he was alive. David’s descendants had ruled over Judah from the United Kingdom to the Exile in one unbroken dynasty. The angel predicted that Jesus would complete the succession. He will reign over the house of Jacob and from that point; there will be no end to His reign. This is still in the future. When Jesus returns it will not be as a baby, but He will return as a king with power and glory'
Notice the important truths, which are enshrined in the announcement by the angel:
1. The real humanity of the Messiah—you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son.
2. His deity and His mission as Savior—and shall call His name JESUS (meaning Jehovah is the Savior).
3. His essential greatness—He will be great, both as to His Person and His work.
4. His identity as the Son of God—and will be called the Son of the Highest.
5. His title to the throne of David—the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. This establishes Him as the Messiah.
6. His everlasting and universal kingdom—He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom, there will be no end.
Verses 31 and 32a obviously refer to Christ’s First Advent, whereas verses 32b and 33 describe His Second Coming as King of kings and Lord of lords.
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
Mary’s question, “How can this be?” was one of wonder but not of doubt. How could she bear a child when she had never had relations with a man? Although the angel did not say so in so many words, the answer was virgin birth. It would be a miracle of the Holy Spirit. He would come upon her, and the power of God would overshadow her. To Mary’s problem of “How?”—it seemed impossible to human reckoning—God’s answer is “the Holy Spirit”:
This was a legitimate question, given Mary’s present marital status. Unlike Zechariah’s question in verse 18, Mary expresses no doubt, but rather a humble submission to the will of God.
Note that the angel did not rebuke Mary, as he had rebuked Zachariah (v. 20). This indicates that Mary did not doubt the angel’s words, but wanted to know how such an event would be accomplished. How could a virgin give birth to a child?
Mary was the first one to question the virgin birth, but the angel Gabriel has the answer.
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
Mary is told that her baby would be a “Holy One.” The union of a man and a woman can only produce another sinner, because both parents are sinners. But through the virgin birth, God will bring a “Holy One,” His Son, into the world. How will He do it? The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. These words express the completely miraculous nature of Mary’s conception. It was accomplished by God alone in a unique, never-to-be-repeated way. But one might ask, could not Mary transmit her sinful nature to the one conceived in her womb? Ordinarily, this would be the case, but the phrase that holy thing which shall be born of thee declares that God supernaturally prevented this from occurring. No man had anything to do with the birth of Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s creative act in the body of Mary provided the physical means for the incarnation. We are told in the book of Leviticus that the birth of a baby made a woman unclean, because she brought a sinner into the world. That was not the case with Mary.
Do you know why the baby will be called the “Son of God?” It is because He is the Son of God. The scriptures are clear on this point and they are very simple words; Jesus was the Son of God and His mother was a virgin. If you are not a believer, I do not expect you to believe this, but no one can deny that the Bible teaches the virgin birth and that Jesus was the Son of God. “Therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” Here then we have a sublime statement of the incarnation. Mary’s Son would be God manifest in the flesh. Language cannot exhaust the mystery that is shrouded here.
36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
The angel then broke the news to Mary that 7Elizabeth her relative, was in her sixth month of pregnancy—she had been barren. This miracle should reassure Mary that with God nothing would be impossible.
The birth of John the Baptist was also miraculous, but it was not a virgin birth. The statement, “For nothing is impossible with God,” is one that we need to hold on to. It is true that nothing is impossible for God, if He decides to do it. However, I know of many people today who misuse and twist this verse to fit their own selfish desires. This verse does not mean that the believer can do anything or that God will do whatever you ask. What you ask must fit His plan and purpose and then it will happen, but even then, you may need to wait until it is the proper time according to God’s timetable. Nothing is impossible for God, but there are a great many things that are impossible for you and me. When a man says, “Nothing is impossible with God.” and fails at a task that he says that God gave him to do; it causes unbelievers to ridicule God. Keep everything in perspective and do not do a lot of talking that will hurt the cause of Christ.
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
This verse shows Mary’s submission to God’s will. Her unhesitating acceptance showed her devote and obedient character. She was willing to risk disgrace and divorce to comply with God’s command. She told the angel, “Let it be to me according to your word.” At this very moment, a cloud came over Mary’s life, and that cloud would remain until Jesus returned from the dead. Jesus would be her Son, but she would not receive Him as Savior until after the Resurrection. She would not fully understand all that happened to her until then. The Resurrection of Christ proved His virgin birth. You cannot deny the virgin birth and believe in the Resurrection and vise versa. The two go together and will stand together forever.