Luke 1:16-17 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
Before there was Jesus, there was John the Baptist. There had to be. If Jesus had come into the world apart from the way being prepared for Him, the mission would have been compromised. The people were not ready for the Messiah, they needed someone to prepare them. John was that someone.
Long before John’s birth, there was a prophesy of the one who would come in the power of Elijah to prepare the hearts of the people to turn back to God (Malachi 4:6). John’s one role was to make the way for the Promised One, and then it was his time to decrease so that the Savior could increase (John 3:30). Because of the prophesies, John’s parents would have understood what the angel’s revelation to them meant. Their son would be the last prophet before the coming of the Christ.
In God’s sovereignty it just so happens that John and Jesus were relatives. The man who would declare Jesus the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) was His own kin. The baptizer who would watch as the Father and the Holy Spirit gave testimony about Jesus (Matthew 3:16,17) had affection for Him as family. Before Jesus could come, John had to come and get things ready for Him.
Luke 1:26-27 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
Why Mary? This is a question that some think is important while others brush it off as not important at all. Regardless of where you stand on that, Mary was part of a grand story and it was for a reason.
God is sovereign over all things and He provides a way for His will to be carried out. Long before John the Baptist was preparing the way for the Messiah, God was getting things in order. Mary was chosen specifically by God. There is no coincidence in regards to her being the one who would carry the Christ child in her womb. Mary was descended from the right line of Jews to fulfill the prophesies of old. Not only her, but Joseph as well.
Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He was to be born unto a virgin mother (Isaiah 7:14). He was to live a life that could only have happened exactly as it did if Mary was His mother. Being engaged to Joseph meant that Mary had to make a journey to Bethlehem in Judea for a census at the time of Jesus’ birth. This was God’s provision for the prophesies to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. Mary was chosen for many reasons, but it had to be her. It had to be her that bore the Son of God into the world.
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.
Why is it so important that a virgin be the one to become pregnant with Jesus? Since the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned and introduced a corrupt nature into all of mankind, we’ve been tainted. We can’t be good no matter how hard we try because we have that sinful nature.
Some have tried to convince us that a virgin birth was necessary in order for Jesus to be without a sinful nature. The logic is that the sinful nature must be passed down from generation to generation from the father. This may be the case, but a mother is also a sinful human being and therefore capable of passing down her sinful nature to her offspring.
Mary was a real person with a real human body and within that body was the Christ child. No other person ever had such a physical connection with Jesus than did His birth mother. How she became pregnant with the Son of God is where the importance of her virginity becomes important. Mary conceived without the help of a man. She was impregnated supernaturally by the Holy Spirit. Because He did this work in her to bring about the Christ’s birth into the world, there was no earthly explanation for her pregnancy. The supernatural circumstances of her pregnancy make it the only time in the history of humankind for a baby to be born with no earthly father involved. This was the sign promised in Isaiah, hundreds of years before.