Know What You Believe – A series based on The Apostles’ Creed – Part 4
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
A few minutes ago we, both individually and corporately, declared, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary . . . “
Having already addressed the earlier statements of The Apostles’ Creed, we now come to two very important phrases describing the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Creed declares two specific statements about God becoming human. Statement one: He “. . . was conceived by the Holy Ghost . . . ” Statement two: He was ” . . . born of the Virgin Mary . . . “
Our theme today is the virgin birth. We will address three questions. Question one: Why believe it? Question two: Why so much controversy about it? Question three: So what, in practical terms for you and me?
I. Question one: Why believe in the virgin birth?
Answer: Because the Bible teaches it! And, it has been a core affirmation of the church throughout the centuries.
Our first hint of the virgin birth goes back to Genesis 3, where we meet what theologians refer to as the proto evangelion. It is the first hint of the evangel, the Good News, the Gospel.
You remember the story. God created the universe. He created humankind, male and female. He put them in charge of His creation. He gave specific instructions as to what they were to do and not do as stewards of the Garden. You remember how they were tempted, yielded to the temptation and rebelled against God’s sovereignty. Sin, then as now, had its consequences, and they became alienated from God. But even at the earliest moment of human history, God addressed the tempter – Satan in the form of a serpent – declaring, “‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel'” (Genesis 3:14-15).
Although this is not a full-blown articulation of the future virgin birth, it does refer to the “offspring” of the woman, who would challenge the evil one and crush the serpent’s head. However, in doing this, the serpent would strike the heel of her offspring, who would suffer terribly in the process.