Hear the full audio of Conceived by the Holy Spirit

A sermon on Matthew 1:18-25
Nativity of our Lord, 24 December 2017

Philippe de Champaigne's The Dream of Saint Joseph painted around 1636


Early Christians codified a handful of details central to the faith in the Apostles’ Creed. Among those lines, Christians confess the Apostolic faith saying:

“And [I believe] in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary…”

These words recall the Gospel accounts of the Nativity in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1 & 2. There an angel of the Lord proclaims the word of God regarding this Virgin’s miraculous conception to Joseph and Mary. Apart from this Word, none can know or believe what God has done. By that word, a life is saved, a marriage is saved–and the salvation of the entire world is begun in Mary’s womb.

Why is this detail about our Lord, that Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit,” so central to the Christian faith? Because when the Lord comes to save us, he takes on our humanity to address our problem with sin from its very beginning. Every microscopic part of your past is redeemed by this Jesus Christ, our Lord, “who was conceived by the Holy Spirit” for you!


Matthew 1:18-25 (ESV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] 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.

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