“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
No doubt Isaiah was immediately mocked and scorned for such buffoonery. The nonsense of a virgin giving birth and then to top it off, the virgin would name her son “God with us.” Without a doubt atheists and doubters would look to this passage and “prove” the Bible to be a lie.
They still do.
And yet how do you explain the more than 2000 years of historical evidence of Immanuel? How do you explain people so radically changed by the impossibility of a virgin giving birth to “God in the flesh.”
It was for that purpose Jesus was born; to fool the foolish. The thought of God taking on human flesh was unthinkable in Isaiah’s time, and yet he wrote:
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
Does that not describe our Jesus? He did indeed come out from the line of Jesse. The Apostle Matthew clearly stated that:
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:1-17)
All those “begots” might cause you to begat a headache, but they are important. Matthew is proving that Jesus is the Messiah; it is why he describes Jesus as “the Son of David.”
More importantly is the fact that Jesus was born. Oswald Chambers explains in today’s “My Utmost For His Highest” (MUFHH):
He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being, He is a Being Who cannot be accounted for by the human race at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate, God coming into human flesh, coming into it from outside.
But had Jesus been miraculously born of a virgin and then left earth as did Elijah and Enoch, the Christmas Story would be incomplete and underwhelming. No, the importance of Christ’s birth was explained by Him to an earthly-wise Pharisee:
“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:1-7)
I do not recall in Scripture anywhere that Jesus dwells on His birth or His virgin mother. No, He focuses on His ministry, on the reason He became Immanuel.
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke 4:16-21)
Christmas would just be about Santa Claus and Reindeer were it not for the Redeeming Life of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us. Without the rebirth of Nicodemus and all of us who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, the Christmas Story would just be about Christmas trees and presents. But it is about redemption. Oswald Chambers explains more in today’s MUFHH:
Just as Our Lord came into human history from outside, so He must come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter into the realm of the Kingdom of God unless I am born from above by a birth totally unlike natural birth. “You must be born again.” This is not a command, it is a foundation fact. The characteristic of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me. Immediately Christ is formed in me, His nature begins to work through me.
We saw in the Christmas Story in Luke 2 that there was no room in the inn for Jesus’ birth. Neither was there room in any of the homes of Joseph’s kinfolk. Alas, it is true today that there is no room in the hearts of the lost for “a ‘Bethlehem’ for the Son of God.”
Oh, if this is you I pray today you make room for Jesus. What a story you’ll have to tell, of how you got saved on Christmas Day!
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers
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