How Shall This Be?
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, how shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
One of the greatest controversies of the ages has been the birth of Jesus Christ. No century since that first one in which he was born has gone by without debates flourishing over this subject. In the later, more recent years, many books have been written expressing opinions both pro and con concerning the virgin birth of Jesus.
Learned men have arisen to expound in eloquent terms their opinion concerning the birth of Jesus. From their lips we hear arguments both for and against the virgin birth of Jesus. While the virgin birth has been both defended as well as denied by men of intellect, still the issue remains unresolved in the minds of many.
And the mere words from some editorial, or some book, or the words uttered from the lips of an orator shall not convince man of this awesome fact. This wondrous truth must be realized through the mind and heart of faith. If by faith one accepts the birth of Jesus as recorded for us in the Word of God, then no words shall shake them loose from the foundation of your heart.
The Son Given
If we were studying some great war strategist such as Alexander the Great, or some great philosopher such as Socrates, or a statesman such as Benjamin Franklin, then we might consider his birth a natural one, unaccompanied by any supernatural means, even though the men grew into men of great renown.
This Son, however, is not the common mortal that grows into a successful manhood and makes his mark in society. He is more than a mere mortal, and because of this fact his birth is more than that of a mere mortal’s birth.
If He Were A Mere Mortal
Could a mere mortal, born by the natural means of progeny, hush the turbulent waters at the sound of his voice? Could he, if he were born by natural means, rub mud made of spittle and dirt into the eyes of the blind and cause him to see again?
Could he — with a voice that rings of another world — call forth the dead from the tomb where he had lain for four days, if he were a mere mortal?
If he were a mere mortal, born as all mortals, make five loaves and two small fish a sufficient meal for thousands?
If he were nothing more than a mere mortal, then why did the kingdom of Satan tremble at his presence? Why did the emissaries of Satan’s domain beg to be left alone if this one called Jesus was no more than a mere mortal born as all mortals?
Why is it that even until this day the forces of darkness yield to the name of Jesus when it is invoked against them, if he were no more than mortal?
His Birth Proclaimed Beforehand
The greatest event the world has ever known was spoken of for many years through the mouth and the pens of the prophets of God. For centuries the prophets had been speaking of the time when Jehovah would visit man. With longing hearts, they awaited the day of which they spoke and wrote. Hebrew virgins longed for the privilege of bearing into the world this promised Messiah.
The great lawgiver, Moses, spoke of His coming, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.”
With stirring feeling the Sweet Psalmist of Israel, David, wrote of the visit of God among the sons of men, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visitest him?”
The fire-purged prophet Isaiah again and again spoke of his coming. He described the one coming as “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
To these men of God there was no misunderstanding as to who was coming. They were not looking for a mere mortal born of common mortal means. They would accept none less than Jehovah God Himself.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of how he would come forth “as a root out of a dry ground” thus signifying his birth of a virgin.
Who Was Born?
If we accept the record left us by the writers of gospel concerning the ministry of Jesus, if we accept the miracles which were recorded that he performed for those among whom he ministered, if we accept the fact that he walked upon the waters’ troubled surface, that he caused the blind to see and the crippled to walk and if we accept the miracle of transformation which changes our life from that of a sinner to that of a saint of God; then it is little effort on our part to accept as well the wonderful fact that our Savior was born of a virgin.
Why think it strange that the one to whom we ascribe such miracles as raising the dead, turning water into wine, multiplying loaves and fishes, changing the course of nature by calming the troubled waters of the wild sea is the SAME one who was born of a virgin; that the one who spoke the world into existence could also place a seed in the womb of a virgin and thus bring forth a body in which he could dwell among men. He had for centuries visited man through the medium of his prophets.
He even permitted the man Moses to see his glory as it passed by him in the cleft of the rock. On different occasions he is found appearing to men such as Abraham in a theophany.
But the distance he had to maintain prevented him from being the Redeemer that he wanted to be for his creation that were bound by the flesh unto servitude. The role that he desired to fulfill — that of redeemer-kinsman — was accomplished only through his coming as a mortal and dwelling among his creation. But being God, he could not enter this world in fleshly form through the natural process of birth. In order for God to have a son, he would have to have a wife.
Who would be the wife of Jehovah? God wanted a body that would be called the Son of God because of the manner of birth in which he could dwell among men as a mortal.
Jesus was not a separate, distinct entity, apart from God. Jesus was God coming down to woo man back to himself again. Jesus was God walking in flesh among his creation of mortals. Thus, we hear him state, I am in the Father, and the Father is in me. When you have seen me, you have seen the Father.
“How shall this be?” Mary queried. While at the statements of the angelic visitor Mary had reason to question such profound things, yet, in later years when she would watch her son who would be born of her, she would remember the words of Gabriel. What she saw and experienced would remove all doubts as to how it could all be possible.
If we could somehow look beyond the problem to the glory that God so wondrously manifests to his creation, we could then more easily accept his solution to the problem.
How can such things be? The same way there can be a great planet called earth upon which each of us exist, which is right now hurtling through space in its orbit around the sun to its destiny with its creator. The same way in which no two snowflakes among the billions that fall each winter are to be found that are exactly alike in structure. The same way in which somehow, mysteriously, while each of us were being formed in the womb something suddenly happened to the embryo and a little heart started to beat surging life through that yet incomplete form.
We shall not attempt to explain how or why because our finite mind is too limited. We shall not spend our days and nights trying to figure out the mysteries that exist all around us which could only exist because God willed them to exist. We shall only look into the face of a newborn baby and see the works of God. We shall look at the flight of the sparrow and say: “God lives.” We shall feel the warmth of His Divine presence in our own heart and say: “Thank you, God, because it is so.”