A Child Is Born
More than seven centuries before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah spoke to the inhabitants of Judah. It was a time of political turmoil. The Kingdom of Judah needed hope. Isaiah’s message to the beleaguered nation pierced the darkness of despair like a pinpoint of light at the end of a long and dreary tunnel.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined (Isa. 9:1-2).
In spite of God’s chastening and the associated adversity, Isaiah prophesied that Israel would ultimately enjoy restoration and unprecedented blessing during the still future Messianic Kingdom.
Turning his attention to Israel’s future glory, Isaiah reminded the people of Judah of the coming Messiah.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).
Using verbs in what is commonly referred to as the prophetic perfect tense, Isaiah described future events as being so certain, it was as though they had already happened.
It is worth noting that “a Child is born” and “a Son is given,” are not simply two ways of saying the same thing. These two phrases are significant descriptors of the unique nature of the Messiah.
- The first emphasizes His virgin birth as a human baby and descendant of the Davidic Dynasty (Isa. 7:14).
- The second, coupled with the context in the remainder of the verse, communicates deity as the One who has always existed as the second person of the Godhead.
The apostle Paul connects the dots for us.
But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4).
Paul’s words are staggering in that he confirms that the birth of the Savior was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy 700 years earlier.
Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isa. 7:14).
The New Testament and history corroborate the fact that this Child was indeed born!
When the unnamed angel appeared to Joseph announcing that his betrothed wife would be the mother of Messiah, the apostle Matthew linked the event to Isaiah’s prophecy:
All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated ‘God with us.'” (Mt. 1:23 cf. Isa. 7:14).
On the night of Jesus’ nativity, angels appeared to shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem. Heralding the fulfillment of prophecy, an angel announced,
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Lk. 2:11).
Some 400 years earlier, the prophet Micah had foretold that Messiah would be born in the environs of Bethlehem, the ancestral home of King David (Mic. 4:8; 5:2). And, it was indeed in Bethlehem that the Child was born.
Forty-one days later, Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple where a righteous old man named Simeon met them. He is described as, “just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel” (Lk. 2:25 cf. Lev. 12). Taking the infant, Jesus, in his arms, he declared,
Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace . . . for my eyes have seen Your salvation (Lk. 2:29).
For Christians, Simeon’s words are a compelling confirmation that Old Testament prophecy concerning the birth of the Messiah has been fulfilled. Simeon’s words also reflect praise along with a definitive message of hope extended to the whole world. The world needs hope now more than ever.
A Child is born, unto us a Son is given! Set your heart and mind on the hope that is celebrated at Christmas. Then, communicate the reality of hope with those you encounter during Christmas season.
1) The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (La Présentation de Jésus au Temple). (Image used for illustrative purposes) (Image and details used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credit: By Jacques Joseph Tissot/[No restrictions/Public domain]/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
Copyright © 2016 Charles E. McCracken, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.