Monday, December 2, 2019
The Book of Isaiah in the Bible is filled with prophecies about the coming of Jesus the Messiah. As I study them it helps me prepare my heart for Christmas. I hope the next few weeks of devotionals will do the same for you.
The first prophecy given to the people by the prophet Isaiah is this:
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Many of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament are in the context of the current circumstances of that day’s culture. If the people had spiritual perception, they could understand the prophecy in the context of God’s eternal purpose. But if they were spiritually dull, living according to the mind of the flesh, they would see only the immediate application. In this way, God protected the integrity of the prophet, for his words were always able to be proven true, either short-term, or, as we now see from the other side, long-term.
The immediate context of today’s prophecy about Jesus is this: the Lord God is trying to convince Ahaz, the king of Judah, to trust Him with the outcome of a war. God offers Ahaz the chance to ask for a sign that proves how God is in control. Ahaz refuses, so the Lord, through Isaiah, says that He will give Ahaz a sign anyway. In that current cultural context, the prophecy would be fulfilled through the prophet Isaiah, who would marry a young woman (see Isaiah chapter 8) and they would have a son. But according to Matthew 1:23, the angel that appeared to Joseph to announce that Mary would have a baby states that this would be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
There are several points of application to our lives.
- When we read Scripture, we will benefit from always looking for references to Jesus. The Bible is the inerrant written revelation of God to us, but it always points to the living revelation of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1 states, In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The written Word always leads us to the Living Word.
- Isaiah married a young woman and they had a child according to natural procreation. Joseph was engaged to be married to a virgin who was found to be with Child by the Holy Spirit of God. The virgin birth of Jesus is absolutely essential to the Gospel because it eliminates the nature of sin from the humanity of Jesus, therefore making Him the sinless sacrifice for our sin.
- His name will be Immanuel, which means, God with us. While being born into human existence, Jesus maintained His eternal deity. I cannot comprehend this mystery, but I praise God for the faith to believe what Jesus said – I and the Father are one. I praise God for the testimony of the Apostle John who wrote under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit of God and said, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
For me, this is the perfect way to start this Christmas season. The truth that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, came to earth to be one of us so He could save me, is overwhelming. I am grieved in my heart by the words of the atheist’s billboard I saw in the paper which says, “You know it’s a myth. This is the season for reason.” How sad. How pathetic. To deny the historical record is one thing, but to deny the spiritual truth is devastating. It has eternal consequences.
Jesus is the Reason for the season. True reason can come to no other conclusion. God came down from glory and dwelt with us to redeem us from our sin. I praise God He has redeemed me!