This morning I sat down to begin reading the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke so I could begin outlining our journey through the Christmas story and the quoted prophecies in Matthew chapters one and two caught my attention, so I started outlining the prophecies. As I turned to Luke I found that the work was already done for me. There is a chart of Prophecies of Jesus’s Birth in my He Reads Truth Bible, which I highly recommend and for the ladies, there is a She Reads Truth edition.Yesterday we looked at how the whole Bible is about Jesus. Today we are going to take a closer look at that truth through the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus birth.
While there are thirteen prophecies on the chart in the Bible, we will only be looking at the three directly mentioned in Matthew. The first prophecy comes as Joseph is considering leaving Mary. Matthew 1:20-24 “But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him. He married her but did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to a son. And he named him Jesus.”
The prophecy quoted in verse twenty-three is from Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See the virgin shall conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.” I love this. God with us! Jesus came to redeem us, to atone for our sins, and to bring us back into right relationship with God. God’s plan from the beginning was to redeem us and He had it prophesied in advance so that they would know it was coming and the New Testament quotes the Old Testament so we would know that redemption is true!
In Matthew 2:6 the wise men sought Jesus because of a prophecy found in Micah 5:2 “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity from ancient times”.
There are a few interesting things we learn from this prophecy. One major thing is that the teachers in Israel didn’t see Him as Messiah because Jesus is from Nazareth. Look at the providence of God at work, the king calls for a counting of the people requiring everyone to return to their hometowns. It just so happens that Mary was pregnant at the time and delivered Jesus while she was in Bethlehem! God watches over His Word and performs every last detail.
Even though the wise men are in the nativity, they were not present at the birth of Jesus. The star stayed in the sky as a sign of where the Savior was. God does not hide himself from us, on the contrary, He searches us out. He calls us to himself. The Christmas story is filled with the grace and love of God at every turn. You may have noticed the prophecy ended with the words, “His origin is from antiquity from ancient times”. John tells us that in the beginning was the word and that the word became flesh. The birth, life, death and resurrection was the point of history from before time began. What an awesome God we serve.
After the wise men didn’t return Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt fulfilling another prophecy found in Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I have called my son.” As they made it safely to Egypt King Herod ordered the murder of boys two years old and younger. Does this remind you of Pharaoh murdering Jewish boys? The devil tried to kill Moses, the deliverer of Israel and he tried to kill Jesus, the Savior of us all but the enemy cannot upend the plan of God.
I pray that just looking at a few of these prophecies you have been encouraged. Encouraged in the love of God, in your trust in God’s Word and encouraged as you celebrate Jesus all month long. Read Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 several times this month. Reflect on the birth of Jesus and all it means for you. The son of God stepped out of Heaven and entered this sin filled world to redeem you and I! It truly is a season of joy.