I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t, and die to find out there is!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Christmas Message

English: Christmas postcard picture with Santa...
English: Christmas postcard picture with Santa Claus and holly, with message, "I bring you a Merry Xmas from" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because we are celebrating the birthday of our Lord. I thought it would be meaningful to look at Isaiah's prophecy, made more than 700 years  before the birth of Jesus, and then the fulfillment of that prophecy in the New Testament. Enjoy.

A Child Is Born
Isaiah 9:6,7

6 For to us a child is born,  to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne  and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness  from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Isaiah includes many direct predictions of the coming Messiah, including this passage, which established  that the Messiah will come from Galilee (read
verse 1). The lands Isaiah mentions as "humbled" in verse 1 are the very regions devastated by Assyria's armies (2 Kings 15:29). Thus Isaiah offers a
word of distant hope for those parts of his nation most  affected by war.

Matthew 1:18-25
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to  Joseph, but before they came together, she was
found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the
Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from
the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you  are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save  his people from their sins."  22 All this took place to
fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a  son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us."  24 When Joseph woke up, he  did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he  gave him the name Jesus.

1:18   pledged to be married. There were no sexual relations during a Jewish betrothal period, but it was a much more binding relationship than a modern
engagement and could be broken only by divorce (see v. 19). In Dt. 22:24 a betrothed woman is called  a "wife," though the preceding verse speaks of her as
being "pledged to be married." Matthew uses the terms "husband" (v. 19) and "wife" (v. 24) of Joseph and Mary before they were married.  1:19   righteous. To Jews this meant being zealous in keeping the law. Divorce her quietly. He would sign  the necessary legal papers but not have her judged  publicly and stoned (see Dt. 22:23-24). 1:20   in a dream. The phrase occurs five times in the  first two chapters of Matthew (here; 2:12-13,19,22) and indicates the means the Lord used for speaking to Joseph. son of David. Perhaps a hint that  the message of the angel related to the expected  Messiah. take Mary home as your wife. They were legally bound to each other, but not yet living together as husband and wife. What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. This agrees perfectly with the
announcement to Mary (Lk 1:35), except that the latter is more specific.

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