That is exactly what happened 2,000 years ago when a man named Joseph had a conversation with a woman named Mary.
They were legally married but the relationship had yet to be consummated. That’s how marriage worked back then. What we call “engaged,” they considered “married.” And during the engagement, or what the Bible calls “betrothal,” there was no physical intimacy.
If you were Joseph, what would you do?
The Bible tells us what Joseph wanted to do. “Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” (Matthew 1:19). That would have been the “right” thing to do because Joseph doesn’t yet know that this baby was supernaturally conceived. He only knows that Mary is pregnant. The only logical conclusion is that she was unfaithful to him.
Joseph must have been devastated. And he could have had Mary stoned to death, for that was the penalty for adultery in the Law of Moses. Instead, he decides to divorce her “quietly,” which would have been hard to do in a small town like Nazareth.
Fortunately, God had other plans, and He intervenes and sends an angel to tell him, “Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). Now Joseph knows what Mary knows, for God had already told Mary that she was carrying the Son of God in her womb.
As I reflect on this story, the way it plays out seems quite reasonable and believable – at least as far as the interaction between Joseph and Mary. But what about the words spoken to Joseph by the angel – “what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”. What are we to make of that?
Matthew tells this story in such an understated manner, it is easy to miss its mind-blowing significance. A woman got pregnant without sexual relations! That’s incredible. That’s unheard of. That’s impossible!
Yes, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is the most unbelievable story in the history of mankind – unless there is a God who can do the impossible. And that is the kind of God we find in the Bible. This God created the universe out of nothing. Since He created the natural world, doesn’t He have the power to circumvent the laws of nature whenever He wants?
So, yes, I believe in the virgin birth. And the reason I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin is because I believe in the God of the Bible, the God who can do anything. I believe in the virgin birth because the angel told Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
Questions to Ponder:
Has the story of the virgin birth become so familiar to you that it has lost its earth-shattering, world-changing significance? What can you do this Christmas season to renew your wonder and awe of the God who can do the impossible?
A Prayer to Make Your Own:
Father, thank you doing the impossible by sending your Son to be the Savior of the world. Please increase my gratitude for this amazing miracle, and please increase my faith in your ability to do what only You can do.