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MATTHEW 1:18-25; LUKE 2:1-21 – JESUS’ BIRTH

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). “Fulfillment” is the word to describe how His birth was announced.

TO ZECHARIAH: “Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John…. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1:13, 15-17; cf. Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6).

TO MARY: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus…. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30, 32-33; cf. 2 Sam 7:12-13; Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14)

TO JOSEPH: “’Do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 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)’” (Matthew 1:20-23; cf. Isaiah 7:14).

When Mary went to Elizabeth, she was greeted: “Why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43). Mary responded by recognizing that 400 years after Malachi, God was at last moving to fulfill His promises to Israel, “He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever” (Luke 1:54-55).

At the birth of John, Zachariah prophesied to praise God for at last fulfilling His promise to send a Savior from the House of David to save Israel from their enemies. His own son, John, would go before Him to prepare His way (Luke 1:57-79).

When Jesus was born, the angel announced His birth to the shepherds. He told them he was “a Savior who is Christ, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). By calling Him “Christ,” the angel identified Him as Messiah, the long awaited King from the house of David. When Joseph and Mary went to the Temple for her purification 40 days after His birth, Simeon, a “righteous and devout” man who was “waiting for the consolation of Israel” (cf. Isaiah 40:1-3), met them and told them God had promised he would not die “before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” or Messiah. He went on to say that he could now die in peace for he had seen Him.

There is more, but this is enough to see that those who welcomed Jesus into the world were alerted that God was on the move! The time had come. The virgin had conceived. Her son was Messiah, the King of the Jews, and Immanuel, or “God with us.” God had not forgotten: the STORY of Israel was not yet complete – until Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.


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