Note: I apologize for any misspellings – this website or its spell checker is acting up.
It seems only logical to think about the birth of Christ during the Christmas season. It also seems only logical to consider the virgin birth. Something that slides under the banner of “assumed” and seldom gets called into question during this time, especially in most evangelical circles. Now I don’t have the academic, nor perhaps the spiritual insight, necessary to do a full dissertation on the subject, however I do have enough courage to look at it objectively, not so much spiritually.
The primary question in my mind is simply this, “Could Jesus have fulfilled his role as Messiah without having been virginally conceived?” Is the narrative that only Matthew and Luke provide, adequate to say without question that the miracle birth is what prompts a miracle life when it comes to Christ? As noted in the ISBE, ” Mark omits reference to the virgin-birth. Matthew and Luke narrate it and forthwith drop it. These facts are exactly on a paragraph. It is no more remarkable that Mark omits the story than that Matthew and Luke make so little of it. (ISBE, “Virgin Birth”)Certainly it seems unusual that only Matthew and Luke have a birth narrative. Mark does not, nor does John for that matter. Not only that, it gets almost no press in the Epistles. And it seems to me that someone would want to ask, “why is that?” Certainly, the sinless nature of Christ is accounted for and there is no little reference to his resurrection, so why is there not more substantial ink to his birth? Which again leads me to inquire, “Was the birth of Christ significant to his ministry?”
Matthew is sure to emphasize his Davidic lineage. Luke, not so much, with more emphasis on Mary. Nevertheless, should not being of the line of David be sufficient to see the Messiah as sent from God? Now mind you, we are not talking about the incarnation so much as Immanuel, God with us and there is a difference. Still, it seems that Christ could have very well filled his role simply as the Davidic Messiah (if you’ll pardon the phrase.)
A good deal of this question is more about Christ as man, not Christ as God. In order for him to be fully man, it seems that a miraculous birth is unwarrented – even unnecessary. From a purely human perspective, it is easier for me to identify with a man, born as I was born, who lives a sinless life by faith than a Holy Spirit conceived man who may really has no problem with temtation as I do. Yes, I know he was lead to the wilderness to be tempted, but even that event is surreal and hard to blend into most people’s experience of faith, or attempt to walk by faith.
None of this is a declaration that I don’t believe in the virgin birth, it simply means I find its inclusion in scripture as somewhat odd. Especially since there is no real fleshing out of that experience as it relates to Jesus’ role as Messiah or his role as God’s only son.
When it comes to the Christmas season, it should cause us to ponder God’s gift in his son. Not how he got here.