Last night, I read a funny letter from a little kid.
I know all about where babies come from. I think. From inside mommies and daddies put them there. Where are they before that? Do you have them in heaven? How do they get down here? Do you have to take care of them all first?
Please answer all my questions. I always think of you.
Yours truly Susan
In Matt. 1:1-16, a male ancestor of Jesus is called, “the father of.” “Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ” (Matt. 1:16). But Matthew does not call Joseph, “the father of” Jesus. Rather, Matthew calls Joseph, “the husband of Mary.” He presents Joseph, not as the father of Jesus, but as the husband of Mary.
In v. 16, he writes, “Mary, of whom Jesus was born.” It is not through Joseph that Jesus was born. It is through Mary, of whom Jesus was born. The reason is that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Matthew wrote,
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’ (Matt. 1:20).
It is not Joseph who caused the conception of Jesus. Rather, the Holy Spirit caused the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb.
Matthew is careful to point out that Jesus did not come from Joseph in four ways. First in v. 16, Matthew does not say, “Joseph, the father of Jesus.” He says, “Mary, of whom Jesus was born.”
Second, in v. 18, he says that Mary is “his mother.” “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18). Let me emphasize that the Bible calls Mary the mother of Jesus, but not the mother of God. God has no mother.
Third, Matthew says in v. 18, that “before they came together,” Mary was already pregnant.
Fourth, he says that the child is from the Holy Spirit. In v. 20, the baby is conceived by the Holy Spirit. Thus, Matthew emphasizes the miraculous act of God in Jesus’ birth.
Many call this miracle, the virgin birth. But scholars say it is inaccurate to call it, the virgin birth. Mary did not remain a virgin by the birth of Jesus. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, she was no longer a virgin. Rather, I prefer to call it, the virgin conception. That is the miraculous act of God in the womb of Mary.
This Jesus, Matthew writes, is called the Christ, the Messiah. Thus, Jesus Christ is declared by Matthew to be the true Messiah by the miraculous act of God—the miraculous conception.