Summary: Isaiah said the virgin birth was a "sign." Matthew picked up on that, as did the angels. But why was this "sign" so important to us?
OPEN: A Sunday School put on their own impromptu Christmas pageant. The teachers read the story and provided some props; then they stood back and let the kids dramatize the story on own.
One girl grabbed the doll and said, “I’ll be Mary.” A boy shouted, “I’ll be Joseph,” Some of them put on bathrobes and said, “We’ll be the shepherds” Everyone was either a lamb, or a wise man, or an angel… or something.
But one little girl had no part, so she said, “I’ll be the doctor who delivers the baby Jesus.”
So they all took their places. Mary had a pillow under her shirt as Joseph led her before the mean innkeeper who sent them away. And when the time came the “doctor” took the doll from Mary’s pillow she held it up. Joseph, wanting to act like a new papa said, “What is it, doc?”
The little doctor smiled and said “Why it’s a…God.”
APPLY: Now that’s cute. A little girl holds up a Baby Jesus doll and she makes a declaration that - this is God. And that’s apparently what the prophet Isaiah did. When Matthew wrote “this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)” Matthew was quoting Isaiah.
In Isaiah 7:14 we read (where this quote came from) “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
So about 700 years before Jesus was born Isaiah held up a SIGN, and that sign said there would be a baby born of a virgin and He would be Immauel – “God with us”
And Matthew wasn’t the only one who saw that sign that Isaiah talked about. Angels saw it too. “The angel said to (the shepherds), ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And THIS WILL BE A SIGN FOR YOU: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’” Luke 2:10-12
The angel basically held up a sign… and said: look at the baby. When you see that baby you’ll be looking at the Savior, Christ the Lord.
Of course, the question is what was it - about this virgin giving birth in a manger - that was the sign that we needed to see? This sign is obviously important. God said it was a sign. The angels said it was a sign. So, what was it that made this sign so important to us?
Well, first The Virgin was part of the sign. Just to drive this point home when the angel tells Mary she’d about to have a child, we’re told that “Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’” Luke 1:34
She’d never been intimate with a man… but now she’s going to be pregnant.
ILLUS: Now, I remember taking biology in school, and I’m pretty sure, that’s not supposed to happen!
But it did happen… this time. And it happened because God MADE it happen. And it happened because God SAID He was going to make it happen.
Way back in the book of Genesis, we find Satan has tempted Eve with the fruit. And God tells Satan: I will put enmity (or hatred) between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he (the son of the woman) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15
Note, God told Satan that the offspring of the woman was going to bruise his head - that is, this Child of a woman was going to give Satan a mortal wound from which he’d never recover.
Now, why would God say this was going to be “the offspring of a woman?” Usually it takes 2 (male and female) to have an offspring. But not this time. This time THIS birth is only going to be the offspring of a WOMAN.
When the angel appeared to Joseph he said: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20
God – the Father – was going to be the papa. It was hinted at wayyyy back in Genesis. It was hinted at wayyy back in the book of Isaiah. And now… it was boldly declared in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
This VIRGIN was going to give birth to a child conceived through the Holy Spirit. Mary was told by the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy — the Son of God.” Luke 1:35