Jesus: How did God come into human history?
The incarnation of Jesus Christ is recorded in detail in the first two chapters of both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels. There we read that the angel Gabriel was sent as a messenger from God to the town of Nazareth to a young virgin named Mary who was betrothed to a man named Joseph. The angel announced:
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “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. . . . For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.1
Further, the Bible reveals the birth of Jesus as the pattern for our new birth—both are miracles of God the Holy Spirit to be received by faith. Belief in Jesus’ incarnation is an essential truth that Christians have always held. One scholar says, “Apart from the Ebionites . . . and a few Gnostic sects, no body of Christians in early times is known to have existed who did not accept as part of their faith the birth of Jesus from the Virgin Mary.”2 Another writes, “Everything that we know of the dogmatics of the early part of the second century agrees with the belief that at that period the virginity of Mary was a part of the formulated Christian belief.”3 Furthermore, the church father Ignatius, who was trained by the disciple John, testified to this fact, speaking of the “virginity of Mary.”4 Lastly, J. Gresham Machen summarized the evidence for that fact, saying, “There is good ground, we think, to hold that the reason why the Christian Church came to believe in the birth of Jesus without a human father was simply that He was a matter of fact so born.”5
Have you ever considered that in a very real sense Jesus was adopted by Joseph since they were not biologically related? How does this encourage Christians to be involved in such things as foster care and adoption?