We now take a closer look at the conception of Jesus in the womb of the virgin Mary. We noted that Jesus was “made of a woman” (Gal 4:4), and that this is expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith as “of her substance”. This means that Jesus was formed from an egg ( or ovum) from Mary’s ovary. Is this important? It is extremely important, because Jesus could not suffer and die in the place of human sinners, making them RightWithGod, without being of the human stock. Does this not drive us to the question, ‘How could He be of a sinner’s ‘substance’ without inheriting her sin? Is there an answer to this profound question? Yes.
However, but before we answer it, we must say a word of caution. We must not put the authority of science above the authority of the bible. If there was no other explanation than the teaching of the bible, we would still, I hope, believe it, because the bible is God’s infallible word.
Fundamental to this whole matter is the fact that only a person can be a sinner and carry sin; and a person does not come into being until a female egg is united with male sperm. God then miraculously brings a new person into being. That person is immediately a sinner the moment he or she is conceived because descended from the human stock. But until there is a person, there can be no sin. The egg from Mary’s ovary was not a person, therefore it could not sin, or be a sinner, or carry sin. It was not a morally responsible being, it was nothing more than a product of natural processes, which, if not fertilised, would be washed away as waste.
Now, when we come to look at the conception of Jesus, we read that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and the power of the Highest overshadowed her (Luke 1:35). Jesus, though made of the substance of Mary and hence of the human stock, did not inherit the sin which completely permeates the human race. But how did this egg become a person. The answer is the surpassingly wonderful fact given to us in the words of Galatians 4:4, “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman”. Yes, the miracle that took place in Mary’s womb was that the Holy Spirit united the Person of the Son of God to Mary’s egg, and so the God/man, Jesus Christ was conceived.
So, the birth of Jesus, which we make so much of at this time of year is a distorted emphasis. The birth itself was completely normal and natural. In itself the birth was not a miracle. It is an important fact for the modern church to note that the letters of Paul and the other apostles to the congregations of the early church paid little attention to the birth of Jesus, but much attention to the person of Jesus as the God/man.
I leave you with this thought: it would be a desperate pity if we grasped the ‘workings’ of the conception of Jesus, and were not filled with such amazement at it all that we did not bow the knee before God, and get RightWithGod, through the suffering of the God/man on the cross of Calvary.