Sunday, December 24, 2017, I will be preaching from Matthew 1:18-25, which is a marvelous account of Christ's birth. Often we think of the fuller narrative in Luke 2, but Matthew has his own succinct story of the birth of Christ.

There were three miracles that occurred in the birth of Jesus and all are present in Matthew's account. Normally we only think of the virgin birth, but there are actually three astounding miracles.

Shielding Jesus from Sinfulness

Matthew 1:21 (NASB95) “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

This passage certainly implies and I think clearly indicates that Jesus was sinless. How can he be our Savior if he needs to save himself from his own sins? Our Savior must be sinless. That would normally be a problem because sinful parents have sinful children. Some claim that our sin only comes through the man and since Jesus didn't have a human father, he would be sinless. However, sin comes through both man and woman according to David.

Psalm 51:5 (NASB95) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

So Jesus would have had a sin nature just from his mother, Mary. However, the Holy Spirit shielded him from sinfulness (Lk 1:35). This is a miracle of Christ's birth. That he could be born to a human mother and yet be without sin. And it was necessary for him to be our perfect sacrifice, the Savior who would save us from our sins.

The Hypostatic Union

Matthew 1:23 (NASB95) “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

Theologians use this term to describe the fact that Jesus is both God and man. Jesus was God and became man. Of course he had to become man in order to be an acceptable sacrifice for our sins. Jesus needed to be of the same nature as the offenders he would save. Only a human can die for other humans and be an acceptable substitute that appeases God's righteous wrath.

And he would also have to be God. Jesus had to be free from all the demands of the law himself--he had to be sinless. Only God is sinless. Only God could have a death that was sufficient for all sinners and was efficacious for all believers for all eternity--the once-for-all sacrifice for sin. And only God could do that in three hours on one sad Friday.

Christ's birth is miraculous because Jesus became the God-man.

The Virgin Conception

Matthew 1:18 (NASB95) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:20 (NASB95) But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:23 (NASB95) “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

We think of it as a virgin birth, but it's more properly understood as a virgin conception. We know that Joseph and Marry didn't consummate their marriage until Jesus was born (Mt 1:25), but that seems to be a decision they made on their own to avoid any accusations that Joseph was actually the biological father of Jesus. Nowhere were they commanded to refrain until Jesus was born.

While this is the miracle that most of us think about when considering the birth of Christ, it's might be the least of the three. How hard is it for the God who created the world, who created biology, to overrule the creation he created? But it's still a great miracle and it's still significant. It was a fulfillment of prophecy given over 700 years before (Is 7:14).

So there are the three greatest miracles surrounding Christ's birth and all found in Matthew's account. How many did you know?