Today, we continue our message series “Jesus the Messiah.” The title Messiah means the anointed one, the one anointed as King of Kings. As we learn more about Jesus this Christmas season, God wants to move our hearts to worshiping Jesus the Messiah.
Today’s message is entitled Jesus’ Birth Foretold. Of course Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth and it’s less than two weeks away this year. Christmas can be a crazy time of year with a lot of busyness that does not have a lot to do with Jesus. This year, 2020, really has been an unusual year in many respects and so Christmas will be unique this year.
To put this Christmas 2020 in perspective, I’d like us to watch a short video called Adore Him. Let’s use this Christmas season, unusual as it is, to take time to reflect, to worship and to adore Jesus the Messiah. Truly Jesus is the reason for the season. Even though the Christmas story is very familiar to most of us, it is truly an amazing, miraculous story. My prayer is that as we go through this series, God will speak to us and cause our hearts to be moved toward Jesus in a fresh way.
That baby boy born two thousand years ago was the Messiah, born to be King. Let’s read from Psalm 2, the importance of the Messiah.
Psalm 2:2-3 (ESV) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”
In these verses, the LORD is God the Father and his Anointed is Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Many, we can safely say, most earthly leaders of nations are not believers. They do not wish to submit their governments or authorities to the rule of Jesus. In fact, they conspire together to resist God’s authority and God’s people. We see this today in America and around the world. Laws being made and edicts being pronounced that are contrary to God’s Word and God’s rule.
We may be tempted to become anxious or worried about the state of our nation and our world. But how should we respond? How does God respond?
Psalm 2:5-6 (ESV) Then he (the Lord) will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”
God’s King is Jesus Christ and He is the one who truly reigns today. Those that oppose His reign will eventually face His judgement. No matter, who is the leader of our country or our state, Jesus is still the King to whom we owe our allegiance. So this Christmas, let’s take time this morning and throughout the season to worship Jesus the King. As we do that, it will bring peace and rest to our souls.
Christmas is also a time when we can speak to others about the birth of the Messiah that changed history forever. This morning, we are going to look at some amazing Old Testament prophecies that foretold the birth of Jesus the Messiah in amazing detail. We’re going to see how they apply to our lives today. So, let’s begin with …
Isaiah 7:13-14 (ESV) And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This prophecy by Isaiah was given 700 years before Christ’s birth. It was given to the wicked King Ahaz of Judah who had led the people into idolatry. King Ahaz have even sacrificed his own sons to pagan gods. Isaiah was instructed by God to give King Ahaz a warning and a promise. The warning was that if he and Judah did not turn from their sin and obey God, they would be taken into captivity. But if they repented and trusted God, their enemies would fail.
The Lord offered King Ahaz to name any supernatural sign and God would give it to verify His word. But King Ahaz refused to name a sign. The King had already made up his mind to seek his help from Assyria, rather than from the Lord. Knowing that King Ahaz would soon suffer defeat and judgement, the Lord Himself gave a supernatural sign as described in the verses we read.
This prophecy had two amazing and supernatural features. First of all, a virgin would conceive. In the natural sense, this is and has always been impossible. Conception requires a human father and mother. Secondly, the name of the son, born of the virgin would be called Immanuel, which means God with us. The son would be the divine Son of God. So, this sign, prophesied to King Ahaz would not come to pass for 700 years.
Matthew 1:22-23 (ESV) 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).
The Gospel of Matthew describes how Mary, a virgin, conceived through the Holy Spirit. In these verses, Matthew writes that the supernatural conception of Jesus was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14.
Matthew 1:24-25 (ESV) When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Joseph, enlightened to the supernatural virgin conception by an angel, proceeded to marry his betrothed, Mary. But these verses make it clear that Mary remained a virgin until Jesus was born. The details of the birth of Jesus the Messiah were prophesied by Isaiah as being a supernatural birth, one of a kind, never seen before or again. Not only did a virgin conceive, but the child was fully human and fully divine. God Himself had taken on human flesh. A supernatural birth, unable to be explained by science, as science can not explain miracles.
Each year, fewer Americans believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. Why? Because it’s not scientifically possible. The Bible is full of supernatural miracles that do not follow the scientific laws of nature. In fact, God Himself cannot be explained by scientific laws and theories. Faith believes in what God has revealed of Himself in God’s Word, even though we cannot prove it scientifically or see it with our eyes.
The supernatural virgin birth of Jesus is absolutely essential in understanding how Jesus came into the world and His nature as the one and only God-Man. If Jesus was born naturally, of a human mother and father, than he would be just human. He would have been a sinner and unable to save anyone, including himself.
There are so many questions to ponder about this supernatural birth. None of which have any full answers. But as we ponder, we can choose to believe in this wonderful mystery. What must it have been like for Jesus to come from heaven into the womb of a human mother? How did Jesus grow and develop as a God-Man. What was it like to grow up as the Son of God with two human flawed parents? How does Jesus’ great love for us fit in with His decision to come to earth as a baby? And we could go on and on with these unanswerable questions. Yet as we meditate, we can choose to believe and worship God whose plan is beyond our understanding.
Numbers 24:15 (ESV) And he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
Our next prophecy that we’re going to study is by the prophet Balaam. The most famous story about Balaam is about his talking donkey who saved the prophet’s life. In fact, that story was about Balaam’s journey to prophesy for a King named Balak. King Balak gave Balaam money to pronounce curses on Israel, but all Balaam could speak were blessings. In Balaam’s final oracle or prophecy about Israel was the following verse.
Numbers 24:17 (ESV) I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.
Balaam prophesies that in the distant future, a ruler would come from Israel. He says that a star will come out of Jacob. This future ruler would not just rule Israel, but will destroy the enemies of God’s people. The second part of the prophecy will only occur at the Messiah’s second coming. Yet, as we’ll see in the New Testament, a star did announce the Messiah’s birth.
Micah 5:2 (ESV) But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
The prophet Micah also prophesied about 700 years before the birth of Jesus. Micah pinpoints the exact town that the Messiah would be born in, Bethlehem. Bethlehem was a small village, but from it would come a ruler of Israel. Yet this ruler would be from old, ancient days, In other words, the Messiah would come into existence in Bethlehem, he would have existed from ancient days or eternity. Jesus, the Messiah has always existed as the Son of God, as part of the Trinity with the Father and the Spirit.
Matthew 2:1-2 (ESV) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Here we have the familiar story of the wise men, who followed the star to the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem. They had undoubtedly read the prophecies of Balaam and Micah and were led by the Spirit to come and worship the Messiah. When Herod the King heard that wise men from the East had come to Jerusalem looking for a new born King, he was very upset. Herod was not interested in having another King around. So he inquired of the Jewish scribes where this king would be born. They quickly found the prophecy in Micah.
Matthew 2:5-6 (ESV) They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
God’s plan for the birth of Jesus had been set in motion hundreds of years before it happened. I believe God’s plan for Jesus’ birth had been devised before the creation of the world. Every aspect of God’s plan had been carefully executed and fitted completely with the prophecies of the Old Testament. Jesus, the Messiah was born by God’s plan.
Just as God had a plan for Jesus’ birth, so He has a plan for Jesus’ return to the earth. We live today in what the Bible calls the last days, the time between Jesus’ first coming and His second coming. Even though God’s plans for our lives are not recorded in the Bible, I believe that God has the complete plans for our lives laid out in heaven. We do know that God has a book called the book of life, that contains the names of every true believer in Jesus the Messiah.
Just as God had planned every aspect of Jesus’ life from birth, through ministry, death and resurrection, so God has His plan for your life. Even if you’ve got off track on God’s plan, He’s got a way for you to get back on track. This Christmas, God wants you to worship Him for the wonderful plan He had to bring Jesus into the world. Jesus came into the world for you and for me. Not just so that we could be saved, but that we could carry out God’s plan for our lives as believers. Seek to live every day of your life according to God’s plan and He will bless you.
2 Samuel 7:16 (ESV) And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’”
After David became King of Israel, the prophet Nathan gave this prophetic promise to him. The promise has two aspects. The first is that the kingdom of God’s people that David ruled over would last forever. Secondly, a descendant of David will rule over this kingdom forever. We see these prophecies fulfilled in the birth of Jesus.
Matthew 1:1 (ESV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy back to David and ultimately to Abraham. This speaks of Jesus’ human aspect. Luke does the same thing with his genealogy tracing Mary back to David’s line as well.
Romans 1:3-4 (ESV) concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
In these verses, Paul clearly shows us the human and divine nature of Jesus. According to his human nature, Jesus was a descendant of David. He was declared to be the divine Son of God when the Spirit raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now, Jesus was always the Son of God from birth, but His resurrection proved to the world that He was not merely human, but was eternal. Let’s look to the prophet Isaiah again to see some of the characteristics of the Messiah, born to be king.
Isaiah 9:6 (ESV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Messiah will be born, he will be human. And He will be a ruler or king, as the government will be upon his shoulder. Four wonderful names of the Messiah are listed here. Counselor is also the name of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. The Messiah will be divine, as His name is Mighty God. The next name of the Messiah is Everlasting Father, the first person of the Trinity. Finally, He is the prince of peace, destined to bring everlasting peace to each person saved and to our entire world.
Isaiah 11:1-2 (ESV) There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
Finally, Isaiah again makes clear that the Messiah shall come from the stump of Jesse, who was David’s father. Then Isaiah gives seven names representing the seven-fold Holy Spirit that will anoint the Messiah. The seven names represent the complete anointing that Jesus had as He was baptized with the Holy Spirit at His water baptism. Jesus was born to be the eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
As we meditate on these names of Jesus the Messiah, we are inspired to worship. But these names are more than just the names of the Messiah. These names are what Jesus represents to each believer. Let’s just look at the four names in Isaiah 9:6. Jesus is a wonderful counselor to you. He wants to give you wisdom, direction and guidance in His plan for your life. Jesus wants you to know His plan for you and He desires to guide you in that path. Jesus is Mighty God to you. That means He has all the strength and might to give to you to meet the challenges in your life.
Being a follower of Jesus is not an easy path. It wasn’t for Jesus and it’s not for us either. But with a mighty God, we can overcome. Jesus is the Everlasting Father. He is our father and we are His children. He gently cares for and guides His children. He will never leave you, He is everlasting. Finally, Jesus is the prince of peace. Where there is chaos and turmoil in your life, Jesus can speak Peace be still. His peace can be your peace as you put your trust in Him. We could go through the same exercise with the names of the Spirit anointing Jesus in Isaiah 11:1-2. The same Spirit that anointed Jesus, the Holy Spirit, is available to baptize and fill every believer. Jesus was born to be king, king of the world and king of each our lives.
This Christmas, let’s take some time to reflect back on the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus the Messiah had a supernatural birth, born fully human and fully divine. Jesus Christ was born according to God’s plan, planned from the beginning of time. Jesus was born to be king, king of our lives and king of the universe. This same Jesus is there for each one of us this Christmas. No matter, what you’re going through in life, Jesus has a plan for you going forward. You’re not on your own, as you put your trust in Him, He will take you through. With Jesus the Messiah, you can be an overcomer in life.