“Do not speculate beyond the text. Do not require of it something more than what it simply says. Do not ask, ‘But precisely how was it that the Spirit accomplished this in a virgin?” For even when nature is a work, it is impossible fully to explain the manner of the formation of the person. How then, when the Spirit is accomplishing miracles, shall we be able to express their precise causes? ….’I know nothing more,’ he in effect says, ‘but that what was done was the work of the Holy Spirit.’”
I’ll be preaching on OT Characters with the title of “Profiles in Courage” and then from Advent to Summer I will be in the Gospel of Matthew. Those items will most likely show the focus of this blog this year.
I enjoy the ESV Literary Study Bible, which noted that Matthew includes two stories in the Birth Narrative. the first of which is a very simple Birth story. We usually read Luke 2 at Christmas events bc it feels more substantial. What I noticed is that the long debates over the virgin births slightly miss Matthew’s point, which is that Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit. This is stated twice in such a way that the birth is seen as remarkable. The theology of Paul or the later church were not inventing theology when they debated Christology. The “Virgin Birth” puts the emphasis on Mary – who is a willing servant. Matthew puts the emphasis on the Holy Spirit – that is God has done this unprecedented thing.
Matthew 1:18-25 – ESV
18 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. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 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. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. ESV