I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary last night on behalf of a friend, and was gifted with several interesting tidbits. I'll write about them in separate posts.
The first of the mysteries (and my favorite of all the mysteries) is the annunciation, the moment of Christ's conception. In previous meditations about the annunciation I focused on what must have been an ecstatic experience for Mary. It is beautiful to imagine what it must have been like to have the Holy Spirit fall on you in such a profound way.
But last night God asked me to wonder about what it had been like for Him.
And so I wonder; what must it have been like for our great and glorious God to become begotten? What was it like for Him to say a second time "Let there be light" and have the light of the world come in to existence?
Was this the second big bang?
Did He and the entire universe shudder in a great paroxysm of exultation and pleasure and wonder?
How much does our procreative process mimic His, and vice versa?
What must the ecstasy of God be like?
What is the significance of the virgin birth? To begin with, it highlights the supernatural. On one end of Jesus’ life lies his supernatural conception and birth; on the other, his supernatural resurrection and his ascension to God’s right hand. Jesus’ authenticity was attested to by the supernatural working of his Father.
Secondly, the virgin birth shows that humanity needs redeeming that it can’t bring about for itself. The fact that the human race couldn’t produce its own redeemer implies that its sin and guilt are profound and that its savior must come from outside.
Thirdly, in the virgin birth, God’s initiative is on display. The angel didn’t ask Mary about her willingness. He announced, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). God didn’t ask Mary for permission. He acted—gently but decisively—to save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Finally, this virgin birth hints at the fully human and fully divine natures united in Jesus’ one person. The entry of the eternal Word into the world didn’t have to happen this way. But it did. Wayne Grudem writes,
God, in his wisdom, ordained a combination of human and divine influence in the birth of Christ, so that his full humanity would be evident to us from the fact of his ordinary human birth from a human mother, and his full deity would be evident from the fact of his conception in Mary’s womb by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. (Systematic Theology, 530)
God chose to mark the coming of his eternal Son, his anointed one, with this extraordinary birth.
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