1. Virgins don’t have babies.
I mean, the whole idea is absurd. Remember the birds and the bees? Remember biology? Remember, the egg has to be fertilized by the seed, then grows until birth? How could a virgin have a baby without any seed to fertilize the egg?
2. Gods don’t humble themselves.
There has never been a humble God in history. From the beginnings of man in Mesopotamia, Gods aren’t humble. Gods can’t be humble. After all they’re gods. They are above men, they rule over men, they squash men at will, they fight with men, they dominate men.
To humble themselves would be to show weakness, to show that they’re really not gods. No god ever humbled himself and no god ever will.
3. Gods don’t make friends.
This goes along with number two. Gods don’t make friends because that would be to humble themselves. And they sure don’t make friends with man. What do they even have in common? Nothing. Gods are gods and men are men, and never the twain shall meet. The very idea of having a god as a friend is like a man having an amoeba for a friend. Not going to happen.
I didn’t actually see it, but I read about an episode of the TV show Thirtysomething. I never watched the show because by the time I even heard of it I was already Forty-something.
But this episode was about the character Hope, who was a Christian, arguing with her Jewish husband, Michael, about the holidays.
“Why do you even bother with Hanukkah?” she asks. “Do you really believe a handful of Jews held off a huge army by using a bunch of lamps that miraculously wouldn’t run out of oil?”
Michael shoots back, “Oh, and Christmas makes more sense? Do you really believe an angel appeared to some teenage girl who then got pregnant without ever having had sex and traveled on horseback to Bethlehem where she spent the night in a barn and had a baby who turned out to be the Savior of the world?”
Well, do you believe it, friend? I do.
Well, it wasn’t a horse that Mary rode to Bethlehem, it was a donkey. But the character Michael got it pretty accurate, otherwise, didn’t he?
And it’s got to be one of the most ridiculous-sounding stories ever to be written, that the writer actually expects you to believe. We’re not talking about some fiction writer telling of Hobbits or Jabba the Hutt, and hoping we’ll pretend to believe it just long enough to enjoy the story. We’re talking about serious theological guys who tell the story of the birth of Jesus without batting an eye, and expect us to believe it as true, down to the last bit.
Well, what about our three reasons to reject this baby Jesus?
Let’s take them one at a time.
1. Virgins don’t have babies.
It’s true they usually don’t. But think with me for a minute. Suppose God wanted to send a Savior to pay for the sins of men by sacrificing Himself on a cross, dying to take our sins on Him so that He could give us the free gift of His righteousness, so that we would be saved from Hell, and have eternal life, everlasting life eventually with God in heaven.
Well, there’s one little problem with that. After Adam sinned in the Garden, sin, or the sinful nature, was forever passed on to everyone who ever lived since, and that sin was passed on, the Bible says, through the seed of man.
But a Savior for man would have to be sinless. A sinner can’t pay the sacrifice for another sinner. To satisfy or appease God’s just wrath against sin, the sacrifice must be perfect, sinless, not only without having committed any sins, but without even a sinful nature. In other words, righteous.
And the sacrifice that God the Father sent, was God the Son. The perfect candidate for sacrifice. Pure, righteous, sinless, and with no sin nature.
But that brings up another problem. How does God the Son get to earth to get this done. After all, since it was by a man that we fell or inherited our sinful nature, it must be a man who sheds His blood in our place for our forgiveness and salvation.
But if Jesus were born as a man in the normal way, then sin would pass on from His earthly dad, through his earthly dad’s seed. Got that? The sinful nature always passes on through the seed of the man.
So God did a miracle, a small miracle for Him really, but one with a huge impact on history. He implanted, miraculously a seed into Mary, which the Bible then calls “the seed of the woman” (see, not the seed of a man). This miraculous seed joined with Mary’s egg, and you know the rest. A sinless baby boy was born. Not only sinless in not ever committing a sin, but sinless in not even having a sinful nature, like the rest of us.
So not only did this virgin have a baby, but it couldn’t have been any other way, or the baby could not have been sinless.
2. Gods don’t humble themselves.
It’s true in human history, that those called gods in verbal stories and written literature never humble themselves. But let me say a couple things about that.
First, they are not really gods, of course. The Bible clearly says there is only one God. There is only one true God who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and everything that is in the earth. The Bible says that this one God is in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That’s what theologians have named the Trinity. But there is only one God.
And so all those so-called gods who never humbled themselves, are just made-up stories and superstitions of fictional gods, or in some cases, may be actual beings which we call fallen angels or demons. And anybody knows, no demon is going to humble himself.
But the true God of the Bible did humble Himself.
George Herbert, the poet and Anglican priest of the 1600’s put it poetically like this:
“The God of power, as he did ride
In his majestick robes of glorie
Resolv’d to light; and so one day
He did descend, undressing all the way.”
This “undressing all the way” is nothing more than the humbling of the mighty Creator of the universe. This Creator God who spread trillions of galaxies into space, and made the atoms and neutrons and electrons and quasars and army ants and the aardvarks who would eat them; this almighty, all-knowing, all-wise Jehovah God, because He so loved us, humbled Himself.
And came to earth, Emmanuel, God with us. Came to earth as the most helpless creature there is, a baby.
A real baby, by the way. Don’t believe the Christmas carol that says “no crying he makes”. I’m sure He cried alright. And he kicked and cooed, and drooled, and He couldn’t have lived more than a few hours if He wasn’t cared for.
But He grew, and because He was a real baby, He grew to be a real man. He was really God, too. But He set aside the glory and rights that He had as God. Could we dare say, “like a man becoming an amoeba”? Probably not. But it was the most astounding humbling that the world has ever seen.
And it had to be that way, but He didn’t have to do it. The Bible says He did it because He loves us. And He loves us because He chose to love us, before the creation of the world. How’s that for a mystery? He didn’t love us because we’re so lovable, He loved us because He is love, and He chose to love us.
The Bible says He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.
An explosion of glorious love as big as God, resulting in a baby away in a manger, no crib for his bed.
3. Gods don’t make friends.
Have you seen the bumper sticker, “The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog.”
It’s a sad point, really, but one that we can understand. People are fearfully and wonderfully made, the Bible says, but the same Bible says “Cursed is he who trusts in man.”
Or how about the cynical little verse, “To dwell above with saints we love, O that will be glory. But to dwell below with saints we know, well that’s a different story.”
What God in His right mind would want to be friends with us?
I would contend that the Bible teaches that God not only loved us when we weren’t lovable, but he chose to befriend us when we were his enemies.
Thankfully, Mary didn’t say to the angel, “Are you crazy?” O.K., she did say, “But I’ve never been with a man.” So she wasn’t gullible. But you know what she was? She was godly. And so she said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
She wasn’t gullible and she wasn’t stupid. She had to have known instinctively what she was in for. The humiliation, the doubts even from loved ones, the shame for her betrothed, Joseph, the jeers and stares and tsk tsk’s. But she did what a godly girl should do. She said in effect, “Thy will be done.”
When we read what’s called the “Magnificat”, Mary’s beautiful words in Luke Chapter 1 which begin with, “My soul magnifies the Lord”, we see that her language is filled with the Psalms. This tells us that she was probably raised in a Bible-believing home. And this too was part of God’s wonderful plan.
Malcolm Muggeridge, commenting on our modern Roe v. Wade society wrote,
“It is, in point of fact, extremely improbable, under existing conditions, that Jesus would have been permitted to be born at all. Mary’s pregnancy, in poor circumstances, and with the father unknown, would have been an obvious case for an abortion; and her talk of having conceived as a result of the intervention of the Holy Ghost would have pointed to the need for psychiatric treatment, and made the case for terminating her pregnancy even stronger. Thus our generation, needing a Savior more, perhaps, than any that has ever existed, would be too humane to allow one to be born.”
But God worked it out, didn’t He?
With a baby in a manger, who was Himself God, yet man.
And the man grew in wisdom and stature, and He suffered beyond imagination as He shed His blood and died. And by shedding His blood and dying, and rising again from the dead, this man who is also God, became a friend to those who had been His enemies.
This is His Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of friends of God.
Friends of God are those who have been born again. They are those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And they are those who have given up working and striving to earn God’s love and favor, but accepted the free gift of His love and forgiveness and salvation, by grace.
Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
As of this message, it’s close to Christmas. The day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. And once again, we are reminded of three wonderful things.
A virgin did have a baby.
And our God did humble Himself.
And the one true almighty God has made us His friends.