“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
The time had come. God had been preparing the people for the Messiah since the very first prophecy after sin had entered the world (Gen 3:15). The prophets had looked ahead to this very time: “And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days” (Acts 3:24).
However, the prophets did not understand exactly how it would all happen. Peter notes:
“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:10-12).
Even so, Jesus Christ is the clear fulfillment of all that God had promised. This promise He would fulfill through a young woman named Mary. Joseph, her betrothed, was told not to be afraid to take her as his wife: “for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:20-21).
This was not just anyone. This was God manifested in the flesh, the One through whom all had been made (John 1:1-5). “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
When Jesus was born, the announcement was made, appropriately enough, to shepherds. An angel brought “tidings of great joy” because “today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased’” (vv. 13-14). So great was the birth of Jesus that even kings from the east recognized it and worshiped Jesus: “After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him” (Matt 2:11).
At eight days, Jesus was presented at the temple. A righteous and devout man named Simon was “looking for the consolation of Israel,” and by the Holy Spirit he was told he would not die before seeing “the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 3:25-26). When he took Jesus into his arms, he praised God, saying, “my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (vv. 30-32). Likewise, a prophetess at the temple, Anna, gave “thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (v. 38).
Indeed, the birth of Jesus Christ meant that the salvation promised so long before was finally coming to fruition. His names was called “Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). Jesus came into this world set for the task of procuring salvation for all who, by faith, would come to Him. Jesus was not just a plan. He was the plan. He wasn’t just any way. He was the way. He is still the only way.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
By coming as a man into this world, He could then taste death for all, and thereby provide the means for forgiveness of sins through the shedding of His blood (Heb 2:14-18; 9:22). Praise God that He is always faithful to His word, and that He is merciful and desires the fellowship of those made in His image!
~From Doy Moyer