Summary: Isaiah prophesied of the coming of Christ some seven hundred years prior to His birth in Bethlehem, God kept His promise and the Redeemer came. God came to dwell among men.
Immanuel: God with Us
As we gather this morning for worship, an excitement is in the air that is reserved for this time of year. I can remember the excitement I felt as a child, looking forward to Christmas. As we grow older the excitement changes, but there is always something very special about the Christmas season. Most continue to look forward to Christmas day with great anticipation.
For the believer, Christmas stands as the reminder of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The gracious gift of God was sent to this earth, robed in a body of flesh, to redeem mankind from sin and provide for our salvation. Of all the gifts we have received, none compare to the gift of salvation by grace.
Our text today comes from the prophet Isaiah. These words were spoken some 700 years prior to the birth of Christ, and yet they were fulfilled according to the divine plan of God. As Joseph contemplated the unexpected pregnancy of his espoused wife Mary, the angel of the Lord spoke to him in a dream, relieving the fear he had regarding the unborn child. The Bible declares all of this was done so that the words of Isaiah might be fulfilled. Matt.1:23 – Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
As we examine the prophecy of Isaiah, I want to discuss the details of his prophetic promise. As we do, I trust you will be encouraged and drawn closer to the Lord. I want to preach on the thought – Immanuel: God with Us.
I. The Communication of the Promise – Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah reminded king Ahaz that God would fulfill His promise to send the Messiah. King Uzziah had died and the nation stood at a crossroads. Ahaz did not follow the righteous path of Uzziah, but lived a life of wicked rebellion before the Lord. Isaiah declared that God’s promise to send the Redeemer through the line of David would be fulfilled just as He had ordained. The people of God, or the royal bloodline would not be destroyed.
When the time had come for God’s promise to be fulfilled, Israel again stood in a moment of national calamity. They were suffering under Roman rule; the majority had grown complacent, and were not looking for Messiah. Like God had given the word 700 years before, He came to Joseph revealing the time had come for Christ to be born. Many were not looking for Christ, and the world did not expect Him, but He would soon be born, Savior of the world.
I think about the condition of our world today and I see many similarities. Christmas will be celebrated by millions, but few will take the time to genuinely consider the reason for our celebration. Like generations before, people are wondering about their future and the state of affairs around the world. Humanity is gripped with fear due to hatred, violence, and the threat of war. In the midst of all this calamity, there is hope. The prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled. Christ came to earth in the form of a man. God kept the promise He made in the Garden of Eden. Gen.3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Christ came, just as the Word promised.
II. The Stipulation in the Promise – Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah offered a significant detail regarding the birth of Christ. A virgin would conceive a child, none other than the Son of the living God. No doubt many in Isaiah’s day wondered how such a thing could happen, but God’s promise would be fulfilled.
As we move forward some 700 years, we discover a couple espoused to be married. A man named Joseph had proposed to a young virgin. Plans for the wedding ceremony were being made; and in the midst of the preparations, a startling discovery was made – Mary was with child. Joseph was perplexed and wondered what to do. Being a just man, he decided to annul the engagement and put Mary away privately. Matt.1:18 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. Luke 1:34-35 – Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.