The humbling witness of the virgin birth is that God did consider us worth it. Worth saving, worth sending his Son for, worth giving up his Son to the sufferings and death of the cross for.
Picture life as a journey, a journey from birth to death. We are born, we live, and we die. That’s how it was for Jesus. Life was a journey for him too. When he made our nature his own, he made our journey his own as well. At both the beginning and the end of his journey, however, we find ourselves in the presence of the utterly unique. No-one has ever begun life’s journey quite as Jesus did. And no-one’s journey has ended quite as his did either.
Let’s start with the end. Jesus’ death was agonising, cruel, and unjust and in these respects no different from the deaths of countless others. But it was only for a time — that’s the difference. When God raised him to life again on the third day it was with a body so changed that it would never experience death again. Death, for Jesus, is forever a thing of the past. It’s the great point of contrast between himself and those whom he raised to life in the course of his earthly ministry. The son of the widow of Nain, Jairus’s daughter, and his friend Lazarus were each restored to life in a body that was still mortal. Each would afterwards die again — and did so. But not Jesus! The body he took with him to the Father’s right hand is now two thousand years old and as imperishable and immortal as on the day of his resurrection.
See what a difference this makes to the end of his journey! Death ceases to be an end at all and becomes instead a mere pause. In his glorified humanity, a complete man again, body and spirit together, Jesus is journeying on endlessly! And though his journey is one on which believers will ultimately join him, it is not until our own resurrection at the moment of his return.
From the end we now turn to the beginning. If no one’s life-journey has ended quite as Jesus’ did, no one’s has begun in quite the same way either. Here is the reason: Jesus was born of a virgin. The birth itself was entirely natural. The conception, by contrast, was supernatural. It is possible for a virgin to conceive today because of the advances in medical technology, but not two thousand years ago. When Mary asked the angel how she, a virgin, could give birth to a son, this was the angel’s reply: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you’ (Luke 1:35).