The Importance of Jesus’ Supernatural Conception

2016-10-06-opened-bibleGabriel announced to Mary, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son” (Luke 1:31). Being a virgin, Mary questioned how this conception would take place (Luke 1:34). Gabriel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). An angel likewise told Joseph in a dream, “Joseph…that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matt 1:20).

We can summarize the supernatural nature of Jesus’ conception by using the terms above. The Spirit overshadowed and came upon Mary so that what was conceived was from the Holy Spirit. Why is it important that Jesus was conceived in this way?

This conception would have never happened otherwise.

One answer is obvious―Jesus had to be conceived by the Spirit because virgin women do not ordinarily have divine babies. In other words, a miracle needed to happen, and the Spirit makes miracles happen. The miraculous work of the Spirit was to bring about the conception of Jesus in Mary. Without this miraculous work, Mary would not have conceived Jesus in her womb.

This conception was necessary because God’s Word is true.

Another answer is that God said that a child would be born of a virgin. Centuries earlier, God promised through the mouth of Isaiah, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa 7:14). God speaks only truth, and thus this promise was bound to be fulfilled. And so it was (Matt 1:23). Along these lines, just as God’s Word through Isaiah was true and verified as such through this miracle, so also God’s Word from Matthew and Luke is true in recording the miracle after the fact.

This conception guaranteed the sinlessness of Jesus.

Jesus’ conception had to be by the Spirit for Him to “be called holy” (Luke 1:35), meaning, yes, that He was set apart unto God, but also that He was sinless. Supposing a son could have been born to Mary apart from a biological father and without the work of the Spirit, Mary would have passed on a sinful nature to Jesus. By virtue of the Spirit’s active, holy presence and work in the conception, anything of Mary’s sinfulness was mitigated, enabling Jesus to be born without sin. Without this sinlessness, we would have no sinless Substitute who died on the cross for us, and we are of all men most miserable.

This conception explains how God and man are one in Jesus.

We will always fall short of words to adequately describe how God and man can be one in the person of Jesus. What we can at least say, however, is that the divine nature and human nature were united together in the person of Jesus through this conception in Mary.


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