Vintage Jesus, Part 11: Why Did Jesus’s Mom Need to Be a Virgin?

This twelve-part series outlines the “Vintage Jesus” sermons of Mark Driscoll. See part 1 here.

For a more succinct answer to this question, I refer you to the article “The Glory of His Virgin Birth” by David Mathis.


“I would like to ask him [Jesus] if he was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.”—Larry King, in response to what one question he would ask Jesus

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”—Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams

0:55: Interview with Rabbi Mark Glickman

10:00: The virgin birth of Jesus is the second most controversial and debated miracle in all of human history.

12:09: What Scripture says

12:19: Genesis 3:15: The Lord God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

This verse is known as the Protoevangelium (“first gospel”), because it is the first promise of redemption in the Bible. It alludes only vaguely to the virgin birth, in that it speaks of the woman’s offspring rather than the man’s, which is unusual in a patriarchal society, where genealogies are traced through the male line. Paul follows suit in Galatians 4:4, where he mentions that Jesus was “born of a woman” rather than giving the name of the father.

15:30: Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” 

16:46: Objection 1: This was not a future prophecy but an immediate one. –> Answer: The prophecy had a dual fulfillment to both King Ahaz and the Jewish people.

20:40: Objection 2: Virgin is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word almah (young woman). –> Answer: (1) There’s nothing noteworthy about a woman having a baby. (2) In that day, most young women were virgins. They’re synonyms, not antonyms, and the Scripture uses them as such (Genesis 24:16, 43).

26:32: Matthew 1:18-25: An angel tells Mary that she will conceive a son, and when she asks, “How can this be, seeing as I am a virgin?” he tells her that it will be by the Holy Spirit.

31:24: Luke 1:26-38

36:01: What Scripture doesn’t say

37:45: Scripture doesn’t say that Mary had an anormal birthing experience. The Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches teach that Mary did not experience any pain in childbirth—no contractions, no pushing, no ripping; that Jesus just quickly and easily slid out of her birth canal without even tearing her hymen, or else he was somehow miraculously transported from her womb into the world without even going through the canal.

39:03: Scripture doesn’t say that Mary remained a virgin (semper virgo) for the rest of her life. This doctrine incorrectly assumes that married sex is dirty and shameful.

Matthew 1:25 says that Mary and Joseph consummated their marriage after she gave birth to Jesus.

Luke 2:7 says that Jesus was Mary’s “firstborn,” which implies that she had other children.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5 says that if you’re married and won’t have sexual relations with your spouse, you’re sinning.

44:27: The scriptural accounts of the virgin birth are not adapted from pagan mythology. First, the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 predates most pagan myths. And second, Jesus’s conception did not involve a physical relationship in which God came down from heaven to have sex with a mortal.

47:10: Scripture doesn’t say that the virgin birth proves that Jesus is God. Rather, the virgin birth is only one piece of evidence for the deity of Jesus, to be taken into account with his his life, death, and resurrection.

48:11: Scripture doesn’t say that our sin nature is passed to us through our father’s semen. In an attempt to defend Jesus’s sinlessness, several church fathers (Augustine, Ambrose, Aquinas, Luther) propagated this belief.

51:15: Scripture doesn’t say that Mary was immaculately conceived or that she was sinless.

In Luke 1:47, Mary calls God her “Savior,” thereby acknowledging her sinful state. (Only sinners need a savior.)

In Luke 2:22-24, Mary presents a sin offering at the temple.

In Romans 3:23, Paul writes that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”


52:30: Summary

53:30: We shouldn’t make too much or too little of Mary. She’s not the object of our faith, but she’s a tremendous example of faith.

55:00: The virgin birth is important. (1) Scripture says that Jesus was born of a virgin, so God determined that it’s something we need to know. (2) It’s a sign, an arrow pointing to Jesus so that we didn’t miss him when he entered human history.

57:57: The real virgin-birth story

59:33: What do we lose if we lose the virgin birth? Mary’s testimony, Mary’s credibility: if she was not a virgin, then she was a tramp and a liar and not to be trusted.

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