HOPE IS BORN
WALKING THROUGH THE 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
More than seven centuries before Jesus’ birth in Nazareth, Isaiah spoke to the inhabitants of Judah. It was a time of political turmoil and subsequent adversity.
The prophet’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).
Against the backdrop of a disheartening milieu, Judah needed a message of hope.
Isaiah was the messenger communicating that in spite of the adversity associated with God’s chastening, Israel would ultimately enjoy unprecedented restoration and observable blessing during the 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 describes future events as being so certain it is as though they had already happened!
It is worth noting that the phrases, “a Child is born” and “a Son is given,” are not simply two ways of saying the same thing. These two phrases are significant in describing 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 His deity as the One who has always existed as the second person of the Godhead.
The apostle Paul elucidates,
“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).
Both the New Testament and documented 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 links the event to Isaiah’s prophecy saying,
“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. Acting as herald for 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).
Taking the infant, Jesus, in his arms, he rejoiced,
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace . . . for my eyes have seen Your salvation” (Lk. 2:29).
For people of faith, Simeon’s words are a compelling confirmation that Old Testament prophecy has been fulfilled concerning the birth of the Messiah.
Simeon’s words also reflect praise along with a definitive message of hope extended to the whole world! The world needs that message of hope now more than ever.
Set your heart and mind on the focal point of the message of Christmas. Then, take the initiative to demonstrate the reality of hope to those you encounter during this Christmas season with an attitude of good cheer and benevolence!!
1) Walking to Church (c. 1853). By George Henry Durrie (1820–1863) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) La Présentation de Jésus au Temple, (circa. 1886-1894). By Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902) [No known copyright restrictions; PD-US, PD-Art], via Brooklyn Museum – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. With 40 plus years of ministry experience, Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, 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.
Categories: Walking Through the Days of Christmas