(Luke 1:27) Mary is a virgin engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. They both live in Nazareth, a city in the province of Galilee. (Luke 3:1) Israel is under Roman subjection when the angel Gabriel brings the long awaited message to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-35) that the Holy Spirit of God will come upon her, the power of God will overshadow her, she will conceive and bring forth a son, she will name him Jesus, and He will be called the Son of God.
This definition and its sequence of numbers are THREE supernatural events which are very significant as will be shown: OVERSHADOW means (#1) to envelop in a haze of brilliancy in a manner beyond the normal course of nature that is beyond human knowledge or experience; (#2) to endow with authority; and (#3) to install in office by a supernatural influence. (Luke 3:23) As you will see it will take "about" thirty years (Luke 1:24-35) for Gabriel's message "from God" to the virgin Mary concerning the "overshadow" to be fulfilled!
(See Note #4 on this commentary Introduction) At the beginning of the Virgin Mary’s menstrual cycle the inside lining of her womb is very thin but, as her cycle progresses, the lining grows thicker each day with an increasing content of blood; and the glands in the lining become more active in their secretion of rich nutrients. The follicle within the Virgin’s ovary releases the egg and it starts its journey down her fallopian tube. The egg is a single cell and contains twenty three pairs of chromosomes. The genes that carry genetic information from the mother are distributed along these chromosomes.
(Ps. 126:1-6) The Holy Spirit of God goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed, (Gal. 3:16) one seed, which is Christ, a male, as was prophesied, to turn the captivity of Zion. The Holy Spirit is weeping because only God understands the terrible purpose His beloved Son, the promised seed, will serve. The Virgin Mary is overshadowed and the (1st supernatural event) Holy Seed is planted in her in a way that is beyond the normal course of nature in a manner that is beyond human knowledge or experience because Mary is left a virgin.
(Note #4) The seed is a single cell that has entered the other end of the fallopian tube and it also contains twenty three pairs of chromosomes with the genes which carry genetic information from the father distributed along these chromosomes. Prior to fertilization the chemistry within the fallopian tube causes each of the two cells to divide its chromosome pairs and expel twenty three chromosomes out of both the egg and seed cells and these expelled chromosomes are absorbed by the fluid in the fallopian tube.
Now each cell contains twenty three single chromosomes. The two cells meet in the fallopian tube, the seed penetrates the egg and the two merge to form one complete cell that once again contains twenty three pairs of chromosomes containing one half of each pair from the mother (Matt. 8:20 keywords: Son of man) and the other half of each pair from the father (Matt. 3:17 & Mark 1:1-11 keywords: Son of God) and (Matt. 1:20) He is conceived (union).
(Note 4) Mary’s egg is now fertilized and is identified as male because in any fertilized cell one pair of chromosomes is strictly dedicated to the growth of sexual organs and the sex is always determined by the father’s one half of the sex chromosome pair. This scientific medical information makes it apparent that gender confusion is a state of mind (soul) and not an ordinary physical product of birth. Even though He is only one tiny cell; the Son of God, who is the promised seed, is complete because nutrients and oxygen for development are all He needs.
NOTHING MORE IS EVER ADDED. He is all He can ever be. Growth is initiated while He is in the fallopian tube, the chromosomes duplicate themselves, and the cell divides into a replica of itself. The genes distributed along the chromosomes tell the cells how to divide and grow. At the end of three days He departs the fallopian tube and enters the womb.
It is significant this complete person emerges in three days. (1Thess. 5:23) Mankind is a product of three; body, soul, and spirit. (1John 5:7-8) Three is God’s number of completeness. It is a normal conception in every way except for the supernatural implantation of the promised seed.
(Note #4) At this time the inside lining of Mary’s womb has reached the thickness of soft, heavy velvet and has become tender and succulent with blood and nutrient rich glandular secretions. The time of perfect readiness is almost at hand. Baby Jesus floats free in the womb four days while He continues to grow by utilizing cell division.
During this time He draws nourishment from the uterine fluid in which He floats. He is in control of His environment because His presence initiates a chemical reaction which induces the lining of the womb to finish preparing itself to receive the Baby. While the womb is preparing its nutrient rich lining; the surface of the ever growing Baby develops hair like projections called chorionic villi.
(Note 4) When the time of readiness is precisely correct the Baby attaches Himself to the blood engorged womb wall. His chorionic villi produce an enzyme that digests a microscopic spot in the womb wall, the microscopic blood vessels in that spot are opened, blood forms microscopic pools from which He draws oxygen and nutrition such as glucose, salt, calcium, phosphorus, iron, amino acids and fatty acids through His chorionic villi by a process called osmosis which is the absorption of food and oxygen through several layers of surface cells into His system.
That way His circulatory system is uncontaminated by and is completely separate from His Mothers. He burrows into the nutrient rich wall and begins to absorb nourishment and grow rapidly.
(Note 4) He has selected the location where the placenta will form. The chorionic villi will grow and become the umbilical cord that is the Baby’s lifeline to His mother through which He will draw sustenance. His days of existence are now seven, three in the fallopian tube and four in the womb.
The number seven also has a biblical significance because (Gen. 2:2-3 to Rev. 1:4) it is the number of perfection. He is all He can ever be; a perfect little person, in control of His perfect little environment, dining at the perfect source of nutrition and oxygen, in the perfect place to grow; which is all He needs to do at this time and the Mother doesn’t really know for sure if she is pregnant because there has been no physical indication of her impregnation.
(Note #4) The Virgin Mary does not have her period, her menstrual flow, at its scheduled time and with that physical phenomenon she is sure she is pregnant. She is engaged to Joseph and is supposed to be a virgin. (Deut. 22:13-21) Women are closely supervised by their family according to Jewish Law and Custom.
Mary’s missed period is immediately noticed and, though no males will dare come near her (Ezek. 18:6 & Lev. 15:19) due to the possibility she might suddenly become menstruous and they will become unclean; her alarmed female family members examine her and (Matt. 1:18) she is found with child.
The hymen, the tissue membrane that covers the external vaginal orifice and signifies her virginity, is still intact but she is definitely pregnant and Joseph, her betrothed, is notified. Joseph has a choice to make because, according to Jewish Law, (Deut. 22:21) he can have her stoned to death or (Deut. 24:1) he can marry her and immediately write her a bill of divorcement and put her out of his house.
(Matt. 1:19-25) Joseph is considering what step to take when the angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream and explains what has happened then the angel instructs Joseph to marry her but to refrain from sexual relations with his wife until after the birth of Jesus, the promised seed. That is exactly what Joseph does. It has become fashionable during the 20th and 21st centuries to murder helpless babies in their mother’s womb but this Baby is left alone.
(Note #4) One morning a little over eight months after her menstrual cycles stopped the Virgin Mary awakens and her abdominal tightness has almost disappeared but now pains are shooting down her legs. The child’s head has settled into her pelvis and is pressing the sciatic nerves and that causes the shooting pains down her legs.
The midwives tell her the baby has “dropped” and the birth will be in about two weeks. The scant scriptural information given (Matt. 1:18-25 & Luke 2:5-7) shows the pregnancy of Mary and the birth of Jesus are no different than that of any other mother and child except Mary is still a virgin.
(Gen. 35:17, 38:28; & Ex. 1:15-21) It is Jewish custom and tradition to use midwives to deliver babies. Compared to other nations Israel is a very small nation with a very small population comprised of extended families with numerous relatives and acquaintances. By Jewish law (Ex., Lev., Num., & Deut.) the Jews practice religious commemorative celebrations together as a nation and many people are well acquainted with each other, especially those in their own tribe.
(Luke 2:1-7) It is time to pay taxes; Joseph and Mary leave Nazareth in the province of Galilee and travel to Bethlehem in the province of Judaea to be taxed because Joseph is from the tribe of Judah of the house and lineage of David. THINK ABOUT THAT TRIP:
It is near the end of Mary's pregnancy. The easiest and best road to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem at that time was probably along the Jordan River via Jericho and the trip was more than likely between 103 and 120 miles long. Joseph was considered rather poor so he probably walked while Mary rode a donkey as was the custom of the time. Don't forget that Mary is stiff, awkward and clumsy with her burden of pregnancy.
What a miserable trip it must have been for Mary; "How much further is it Joseph?"; swollen with child, back aching, swollen feet and ankles, sweat, flies, dust; all the strain and tussle of mounting and dismounting from the donkey; "Joseph, help me!"; and the difficulty maintaining her precarious balance on the donkey's shifting, swaying, jostling back; the nights with their biting insects and night noises; "What was that Joseph?"; trying to get comfortable while camping out, there is always that one uncomfortable, gouging rock; "Joseph, reach over here under my right shoulder and see if you can move this little sharp rock!".
What about cooking, drinking and bathing; "Joseph, would you bring another jug of water from the river?" One wonders how many carts, chariots and etc. passed them but Mary is made of stern stuff and she bears her misery with the stoic patience of her people; she is true to her race.
Judaea (Judea) is the place where the tribe of Judah, Israel’s fourth son (Josh. 15:1-12), had settled so when they get there Joseph is among relatives, friends, and acquaintances, BUT: every place is full and because (Luke 2:7) Bethlehem is so crowded they are obviously forced to stay in a stable. (Luke 2:5) It is near the end of Mary’s pregnancy because she is great with child.
(Note #4) (Lev. 12:2-4) No Jewish man, including a husband, can assist with the birth because a pregnant woman is unclean according to Jewish Law. Mary is in pain and frightened because she has never given birth to a baby.
About two weeks after the midwives in Nazareth told the Virgin Mary approximately when her child would be born Mary discharges the column of mucous that has plugged her cervical canal and the midwives in Bethlehem know labor is imminent. The midwives do not know what triggers the perfect timing of the beautifully synchronized chain of events that accompanies every birth; they simply believe that once again they are privileged to witness the miracle of human birth.
(Note 4) Part of the perfect timing is the Baby is mature enough to live outside the Mother’s body but not so large He will cause unnecessary difficulties in the delivery process. The rhythmic, involuntary contractions start in the Virgin Mary’s abdominal muscles and ripple downward to include the muscles in her womb. They start gently at first and gain in frequency and intensity as they work to expel the baby.
(Note 4) The midwives look at each other, nod and smile knowingly; everything is right on schedule. It is Mary’s first birth, about twelve hours have passed and the midwives know the first stage of labor is complete because the cervix is completely dilated. The contractions intensify and a sudden gush of amniotic fluid signifies the Virgin Mary’s “water has broken.” The midwives expect the second stage of labor to take about one and one-half hours. They wait expectantly while the Virgin Mary suffers stoically as is the custom of her people.
(Note 4) The contractions are intense and rapid and the midwives urge the Virgin Mary to bear down and push. It is an ordinary delivery and as the mother strains to expel the baby her face is contorted, sweat pours profusely and the blood vessels in her neck are alarmingly distended. Now there is scarcely an interval between the contractions and the oldest midwife prepares her hands to “catch” the baby.
Suddenly the baby’s head tears open the hymen that has been such a source of wonder to the midwives because they cannot comprehend how a virgin could have been impregnated while her hymen remained intact. When that veil of flesh is rent in twain the promised seed, the Son of God, slides out into the old midwife’s waiting hands in a gush of blood and water and (Matt. 1:16) He is born which means (to be delivered of). Another midwife ties off and cuts the umbilical cord and the old midwife quickly moves away and starts cleaning the squalling baby.
(Note 4) Expelling the placenta, the afterbirth, is the third stage of labor and takes about ten minutes. Mary, the Mother of the Son of God, is cleaned of the blood and water of birth while she relaxes from her labors. Her Son is given to her, she holds Him, her heart swells to bursting with love as she gazes admiringly at her baby and then she dresses him in swaddling clothes. Their work is finished and the midwives depart. Impulsively and tenderly she hugs her baby to her breast and presently He begins to nurse on warm rich milk.
She is filled with an all pervasive, smothering, tender love and a Mother's primitive, fierce protectiveness. He finishes nursing, she tenderly and softly burps Baby Jesus, the Baby expels a tiny belch, He squirms, stretches and snuggles with His Mother a few tender, precious moments and sleeps; then Mary places Him tenderly in the manger on a bed of fresh hay. To eat and grow is all He needs to do right now. (Matt. 2:1-12) The wise men and (Luke 2:8-18) the shepherds have come and gone and the Mother is content and filled with peace.
(Luke 2:34-35) Mary has no way of knowing the chain of events this birth has set into motion and it is better that way because it is more merciful for her to not know the soul shattering heartbreak that was coming at her in just a few short years. The mid-wives are unaware of the significance of what transpired when the Son of God rent the veil of flesh that was His Mother’s virginity so He could be physically born into the family of man.
The vast majority of the Jews don’t know, don’t understand, or simply don’t care (Gen. 3:15 keywords: seed= one & his= man= one man & Psa. 22:1-31 esp. V.1, 16 & 18 & Isa. 42:1-6, 52:14 thru 53:12 then (Zech. 13:6) that the Virgin Mary has given birth to the Son of God, their promised Seed, (Luke 2:15-19) in Bethlehem, the city of David; has wrapped the Saviour in swaddling clothes and laid Christ the Lord in a manger.