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Summary: In every circumstance of life, God is with us.

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THE PROMISE FULFILLED

One of the best Christmas traditions is going home for Christmas. Naturally, one of our favorite Christmas songs is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

I’ll be home for Christmas

You can plan on me

Please have snow and mistletoe

And presents on the tree

But in reality the biblical Christmas story is about leaving home. Luke 2 tells how Mary and Joseph left their home town of Nazareth to travel to Bethlehem where, of course, Jesus was born. And, more significantly, Christmas is the story of how Jesus, God the Son, left his heavenly home to be born as a human baby and become Immanuel—God with us.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All 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) (Matt. 1:21-23).

• The promise of Immanuel was given through the prophet Isaiah in around 700 B.C. and was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus.

The prophecy may have been doubly fulfilled. There may have been a near fulfillment (the birth of a son named Immanuel in Isaiah’s day) and a far fulfillment (the birth of Jesus, who was literally God with us.).

• The promise of Immanuel was given during a time of FEAR.

This prophecy was given “in the days of Ahaz” (Isa. 7:1). King Ahaz and the people of Judah were afraid because of a threat from Syria and Ephraim (v. 2). The “sign” the Lord gave the people was meant to give them hope and to encourage them to trust him. The prophecy went on to say that when the child was old enough to choose between right and wrong, the threat from Syria and Ephraim would be gone (v. 16). Instead, Ahaz put his trust in Assyria, which eventually led to Judah’s loss of sovereignty.

BORN OF A VIRGIN

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And 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 1:34-35).

In Isaiah 7:14, the Hebrew word for “virgin” is ‘alma. In Matthew 1:23 and Luke 1:27, the Greek word for “virgin” is parthenos.

“Although some claim that the word translated ‘virgin’ (Hb. ‘almah) refers generally to a ‘young woman,’ it actually refers specifically to a ‘maiden’—that is, to a young woman who is unmarried and sexually chaste, and thus has virginity as one of her characteristics (see Gen. 24:16, 43; Ex. 2:8, ‘girl’). Thus when the Septuagint translators, 200 years before the birth of Christ, rendered ‘almah here with Greek parthenos (a specific term for ‘virgin’) they rightly perceived the meaning of the Hebrew term; and when Matthew applied this prophecy to the virgin birth of Christ (see Matt. 1:23), it was in accord with this well-established understanding of parthenos (‘virgin’) as used in the Septuagint and in other Greek writers” (ESV Study Bible, p. 1254).


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