WEEP FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for …your children (Luke 23:28).
Did Jesus Christ fulfill these ancient prophecies?
We want to look at the first four of these this week, then the remaining ones in the weeks to come.
Roots And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots (Isaiah 11:1).
Dr. Luke, who was chosen to give the most complete account of the birth of Christ, records that Jesus was born of the family of David. The third chapter of his Gospel gives a complete genealogy of Mary, the mother of Jesus, tracing her ancestry through David (Luke 3:23-38).
The angel Gabriel was sent to announce the birth of Jesus.
Luke says the heavenly messenger was sent to “a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27).
The ancestry of Jesus was known so well to His contemporaries that some who came to seek help and healing referred to Him as the “son of David.” “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us” (Matt. 9:27). After one of His miracles of healing, many were ready to accept Jesus as the Promised One.
They made an unmistakable reference to Him as the “son of David” of whom the prophets had written, asking, “Is not this the son of David?” (Matt. 12:23). But the religious leaders rebuked them, saying He had performed the miracle in the power of Satan.
The Voice in the Wilderness The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40:3).
Sometimes we forget there were two miraculous births connected with the Incarnation.
Although John the Baptist was not born of a virgin, his birth was miraculous in that it was a fulfillment of prophecy and an answer to prayer.
John was sent to prepare the way of the Lord.
John is called a “voice.” And what a voice he was! Multitudes came to hear him. Even the king stood in his audience. He was an unusual man, fearless and faithful. His boldness cost him his head, but not until his work was done.
We know him as the “forerunner of Christ.”
It is important to notice that in Isaiah’s prophecy of John the Baptist’s mission, he is said to have come preparing the way of the LORD (40:3).
Here all the letters in “Lord,” have been capitalized, showing that John came to prepare the way of Jehovah, an inescapable declaration of the deity of Christ.
Bethlehem But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2).
Micah the prophet had revealed that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth. How would this problem be solved?
The Roman government enacted a law that called for every man to return to the city of his family to pay his taxes, providing a census as well as taxation. It was therefore necessary for Joseph and Mary to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem, because he was of the family of David. The mighty Roman Empire unwittingly became a partner in fulfilling the prophecy concerning both the time and place of the birth of the Messiah. And Christ was born in Bethlehem.
The Virgin Birth–God Incarnate 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 7:14). For centuries the Jews had awaited the coming of the Messiah. Longing to be free from foreign domination, they especially anticipated the fulfillment of messianic promises that concerned lasting peace and the restoration of David’s kingdom. When prophetic voices ceased for four hundred years, some doubted.
Suddenly the silence was broken. Angels went on missions of earthshaking importance.
John the Baptist was to come (Luke 1:5-25). Christ would be born (Luke 1:26 — 38). The angel Gabriel brought the announcement of the coming birth of Jesus to Mary, who was engaged to Joseph. She would conceive as a result of a miracle of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the “Son of the Highest,” who would sit upon “the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32).
When it became evident that Mary was with child, Joseph was beside himself. The emotional trauma might have destroyed him had not an angel been sent to give him guidance. Explaining the miracle that was happening in Mary, the heavenly agent advised Joseph to proceed with the planned marriage, assuring him that the child conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit.
Here human understanding falters. Even Mary asked, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).
Nevertheless, students of the Old Testament know this miracle had been prophesied.
Its fulfillment should have been another reason for accepting the Messiah when He came.
Bible students who doubt the virgin birth of Christ are themselves a contradiction. They wrestle with the sign, yet often claim to accept the Savior.
There is no question but that the virgin birth required God’s intervention.
The name “Immanuel,” given by Isaiah, shows that the child would be God robed in flesh. Immanuel means “God with us.”
By pinpointing Bethlehem as the Messiah’s birthplace, Micah makes certain that his readers will understand just who is being born in David’s city.
He is identified as the One whose “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE