Many people get hung up on the virgin birth of Jesus. It seems utterly impossible, because we observe no predictable pattern in nature that comes close to it. Yet is this not the point? If God wanted to get our attention, what better to grab it than through a virgin giving birth?
The word for “miracle” in the Bible literally means sign. God designed these events to grab our attention and point us to him. Like a road sign points to a destination, these miracles point us to the grandeur, power, and majesty of God. They come unexpectedly, because if they occurred with any greater frequency, they would cease to be what they are. They would become normals instead of miracles. God uses these to wow us to him.
Beyond the wow-factor of the virgin birth, there remains even more. Deep theology resides in the virgin’s womb. For while Jesus needed to become fully human, he could never share in our fallen human nature. On one level, Jesus was Joseph’s legal son. However, on another level, Jesus could not receive everything a parent passes on to his or her child. Legally, Jesus needed to be a descendent of David through his legal father Joseph. He also needed to be fully human. However, Jesus did not share in Joseph’s – or for that matter Mary’s – sinful nature.
The Holy Spirit did something awesomely mysterious in Mary’s womb. The Holy Spirit created a brand-new person, one who was fully human but did not inherit Adam’s sin. This was necessary so that Jesus could become a new representative for humanity and save his people from their sin. (see also 1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
For many people once they accept the virgin birth, everything else falls into place. If I believe God created everything, what could stop him from creating something entirely new in the virgin’s womb? What could stop this child from saving me from my sin? The mystery of the virgin birth becomes for many the gateway of faith.