“…The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14b).
This prophecy, spoken by Isaiah to an unworthy Judean King named Ahaz, was offered 700 years before its fulfillment in our Savior’s birth. It’s not important that we know the date of Jesus’ birth, but it’s vital that we understand the fact of His birth. It was the pivotal event up to which all of history had been leading. The “seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) Whose bloodline was carefully traced throughout the narrative of the Old Testament arrived in anticipation of the defeat of the Devil, his seed and his evil purposes. The time came for the child to be born (Luke 2:6)…the fullness of the time which had been chosen and accomplished by God (Galatians 4:4). God’s eternal purpose to redeem mankind had flesh put on it (John 1:1,14). Shepherds looked into the tiny face of God’s loving salvation and glorified Him. Romans 5:6 explains that the timing of Jesus’ arrival was just “at the moment of our need” (New Century Version), when we were helpless to do anything useful about our condition. We were groping about in spiritual darkness, until God lit up the world with that great Light which was Jesus (Matthew 4:16).
The birth of Jesus meant His absence in the land of the trinity while His presence continued among men. It meant that He Who was rich beyond anything this world ever had to offer in terms of possessions, position or condition, divested Himself of all of it and became poor in order to bless us. (He did not however divest Himself of His Godhood.) It meant, amazingly, that God in the flesh would have to learn to eat, to talk, to crawl and walk, to listen and learn, to obey, to suffer physical pain, to sweat and to work. It meant that His Father loved people to the extent that He gave His wonderful, one and only, Son to fill our otherwise absolutely un-fillable need for forgiveness and redemption. It meant that God came not only to visit us, but to be with us. The angel told Joseph that the baby’s name would be called “Immanuel” the interpretation of which is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). And what would God do among us? Keenly aware of our weaknesses and our sins, we might have expected Him to, at the very least, revile or ridicule us…to stare at us in unbelief at our hard-heartedness and slow-wittedness…and then, finally, to damn us and cast us from His presence. But He didn’t do that at all! God “with” us was also God “for” us! All through His earthly life He moved among us in kindness with patience and amazing love. He listened to us, served us, fed us, taught us the truth about His Father Who has always wanted to be our Father as well. He held out living hope for us. He lived and wept and died for love of us. The hymn says, “no one ever cared for me like Jesus.” Truer words have never been written. No love…not the highest of human loves…can compare with the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. It brought Him from heaven to a manger. It moved Him in everything He did and said and thought. It led Him to the Cross, but didn’t end there. He rose from death never to die again. He secured our spiritual welfare. And still His love for us continues as He represents us before our Father God right now and forever and as He continues to seek and to save lost people. Praise to our Immanuel!