Listen to Nancy as she answers the question on Moody Radio with Kelly and Steve
The birth of Jesus should have been a time of both extreme joy as well as overwhelming relief to the Jews who were living at the time of His birth. It should not have been a surprise to faithful Jews. God announced the coming Messiah thousands of years before His birth through many of the prophecies that were recorded by the prophets through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In all, there are more than 300 prophecies specifically about Jesus being the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
The first promise of a Savior came in Genesis 3, after Satan, the Serpent, tempted Adam and Eve to not believe in God but rather trust in Satan’s promise that they would become “as gods.” Their unbelief was sin in the eyes of God. Their sin resulted in an eternal broken relationship with God. As a result, all humanity was born as sinners in need of a Savior.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Because God loves all sinners, He prophesied that a woman will give birth to the One (Jesus) who will defeat Satan making it possible for people to be saved from our sins.
“So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).
God’s prophet Micah prophesied in 750 BC that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
“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” (Micah 5:2).
Isaiah’s prophesies detailed Jesus’ coming around 700 BC.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
When we look at the history of the people of Israel, with all their disbelief and disobedience, they would seem to be the least likely choice for God to make them His people, but He did! In Genesis 12 and 15, God told Abraham that He would make Abraham, the first Jew, a great nation of people, through whom would come the promised “Seed” (Savior). He also gave the him the land of Canaan. God then made a blood covenant with Abraham from the blood of cut animals to show Abraham what would happen to God’s Son if man sinned. It was 2000 years later, when Jesus fulfilled the covenant promise by allowing himself to be cut and bleed to death on a cross to pay the price for all sins of humankind.
From that time on, the Old Testament tells us that Israel continued to sin against God. History tells us that eventually, the Jewish nation, Israel, went into captivity. There were no more kings or prophets. The Old Testament was complete with Malachi as the last book written in the Old Testament. For the following 400 years, nothing more was written. It felt like God had gone away from them for their affinity to disobey the God of the scriptures and turn to worship other gods.The Jews in Israel were now under Roman control. They prayed and begged God to free them and give them a new king to rule them.
Did God abandon His people? No one would blame Him if He did. Did God rescind all the promises of sending a Savior, the King of Kings? No one deserved God’s grace. No one.
In the dark of night of God’s choosing, a 13-year-old virgin girl was awakened by God’s Heavenly angels.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:30-33)
Nine months later: “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:4-14)
God’s Word is unchanging. When He promises something, He will always follow through. God’s Word tells us that God loves us, and when we trust in Jesus as our Savior with all of our heart, mind, and soul, we become His child. We will never again be alone because God sends His Holy Spirit to live in us, to teach and encourage us to love God and to love and forgive others. Through the Holy Spirit, He gives us His love, joy, and peace. He gives us hope when we feel hopeless, courage when we want to give up, and love when we don’t deserve it!
The Jews, with their rebellious nature, did not loose the God’s love or HIs grace. He knew that in this world we struggle with illness, broken relationships, stress in providing for family and our unbelief and discouragement when things do not go our way. God was telling the Jews and us today that when He makes a promise, He will keep it. God promised to send His Son to pay the penalty of our sins. Therefore, we can be assured that when we, as believers, die, we will live with Him forever in Heaven.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them; they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).