by Pastor Louis Straker Jr.
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”
– Isaiah 7:14
Every time I hear this verse there is something that lights up on the inside of me. This text, loaded with theological significance, is one of the greatest demonstrations of love this world has ever seen. In probably the most well known scripture recited by mankind, John writes in His gospel chapter 3 and verse 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” This is the “Greatest Love Of All,” which manifested in the greatest gift of all, God giving His Son.
Each year millions of people unite in the spirit of unity and love to celebrate Christmas, the most historical birthday ever. On December, 25th people of all ages all around the world recognize the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Through scholarship we’ve learned that Jesus was not actually born on this day. In fact, most scholars believe that He was born in the spring as opposed to the winter months. We have also discovered the pagan origins of December 25th. Nevertheless, whether of pagan origin or not, December 25th symbolically represents the day God became man. We must always remember that whatever the enemy tries to use for evil, God can always use it for His good. As Christians we come together not to celebrate paganism, but to celebrate the birthday of a man that saved us all.
Our foundational scripture is filled with numerous opportunities to expound on the greatness of this prophecy. The first of three ideas I would like to point out is the virgin birth. This, by the way, can only make sense to those who have a relationship with Christ. There is no reasoning or logic presented anywhere that can intellectually deduce or comprehend the concept of a virgin conceiving and giving birth. This must be accepted by faith. Jesus could not be born of a man or else He Himself would be born in sin (Psalms 51:5) and in need of a savior. This does not negate the fact that He was tempted in all points (Hebrews 4:15) and had the ability to sin by His own free will. But, thanks be to God, He lived a sinless life and was an acceptable sacrifice and propitiation for our sin.
Secondly, the Son had to be born. As a result of “one man’s sin,” (Adam) we were all born disqualified to have a relationship with God (Romans 5:12-19). This is why Christ is referred to as the Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). As a result of one man’s (Adam) sin, many were placed under the wrath of God. However, because of one man’s obedience, His substitutionary death has now freed everyone that received this by faith from the wrath of God.
Lastly, His name will be called Immanuel. In Hebraic culture naming a child was extremely important. In fact, they would often take over a year before naming a child just so they can discern his/her personality and give he/she an appropriate name. Hence, in Matthew 1:21 it writes, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” It was the father’s responsibility to name his children, especially his sons. Here we find God the Father naming His Son, Jesus, which means savior. But what really get’s me excited is the original prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 which states, “and shall call His name Immanuel.”
Immanuel means God with us. No other major religion in the world can say that their God came to be with them. If this thought doesn’t do something to you then I don’t know what will. Think about it for a moment. Eternal God, the creator of the universe, created mankind and gave them specific rules, instructions and parameters for their relationship. Mankind has violated these parameters and instead of making them suffer for their disobedience; this same eternal God steps out of eternity into time and becomes fully Man while veiling His divinity as fully God and pays the penalty for all sins past, present and future. One may say He was fully Man, fully Amazing.
Family, this is what Christmas means to me. So often we focus so much on the Baby during this season. But let us never forget about the man, the mandate, and the mission. I thank God that the Word that was with Him and was Him and became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1,14). I am reminded everyday how great His love is. I am assured that if He went through all of this to save us; He would not be so quick to throw us away.
Happy Birthday Jesus!
Merry Christmas to you all!