Miraculous Birth

By Pastor Teck Uy

Reading the account of Jesus’ birth in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, it was clearly presented that it was a miraculous one. Neither Mary nor Joseph had anything to do with it. This was the work of God, for we are told that “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18). In fact, Joseph was so troubled by this that he did not want to have anything to do with it and wanted to divorce her. It is worth noting that though they were only engaged to be married, their relationship was already considered as inviolable as marriage before the eyes of God. But while it was a sacred relationship, Joseph could not be faulted for deciding to divorce Mary for he assumed that she was engaged in sexual immorality. This kind of immorality, sex before marriage, is the only valid grounds for divorce.

Since Mary’s pregnancy was the working of God and it was beyond her to explain fully to Joseph, the Lord himself dealt with Joseph on this matter. In a dream the Lord said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:20-21). These words gave Joseph enough encouragement and strength to fulfill God’s salvation plan for mankind. As for Mary, the Lord gave her the same assurance when he said, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:31-33).

While Jesus was revealed to be the Son of the Most High and will reign as king, he was not born in a palace. In fact, he was not accorded a proper birthing place. In their own hometown, no room was made available to Mary and Joseph where Jesus could be born. It is inconceivable that men and women then were so heartless or hardhearted that they did not care that Mary was pregnant and was about to give birth. Eventually, they settled for the night in a stable and Jesus, the newborn baby, was placed in a manger and not in the comfort of a crib or bed. But though Jesus’ birth happened in an obscure area, it was celebrated by host of angels declaring, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

The miraculous birth of the Lord Jesus Christ has served as the pattern for our spiritual birth. According to John’s gospel, our new birth in the spirit is also miraculous in that “to all who did receive him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13). Our being born again is the work of the Holy Spirit just as Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. We do not have to do anything to receive the new birth but to yield our lives to God in the same manner that Mary yielded her body so that Jesus can be conceived in her. It is not necessary that we clean our lives first or elevate ourselves to a stature of honour before we receive this new birth. When Jesus was born, it happened not in a clean place but in a barn where there were all kinds of filth and mess. However, filthy and messy as it was, the barn was the only one made available to him. Similarly, even if we have messy and filthy lives, for as long as we open it up to the Lord, Jesus can also be birthed in us and thus, we can be born again.

Sadly, many people today continue to shut their doors to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are not responding to his invitation: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20). They are unwilling to experience the miraculous birth in their spirit and welcome the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives. They are like the Pharisees that would rather work on their own to keep their lives outwardly clean and tidy but are inwardly full of filth. They are unwilling to let the Lord come into their lives and be changed. Meantime, there are those whose lives are like the barn where Jesus was born – filthy and messy – but are willing to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour. These are the ones that are experiencing the new birth and are being saved. They are blessed just as Mary was considered blessed and highly favoured. Since this offer of a new birth still stands, may we all respond by receiving Jesus as Saviour and Lord and be born again. Yes, this is the work of God and it is miraculous. Praise the Lord!