God has often asked people to act on truths that are difficult to believe. For example, Noah was called to build an enormous boat on dry land. Gideon was to discharge 97 percent of his army right before a major battle. Joshua was to lead a charge against a fortified city using only trumpets and shouting. But in each case, God did something significant. All He asked of His followers was to trust His promises.
Joseph found himself in a similar situation. When he discovered that Mary was pregnant, the Lord appeared to him in a dream. Their child was miraculously conceived “from the Holy Spirit” (v. 20). His name was to be “Jesus,” which in Hebrew means “the Lord saves!” (v. 21).
The book of Matthew makes clear that Jesus was the promised Messiah (1:1, 17, 18). For Jewish people in the first century, the Messiah was expected to be a warrior, someone who would free them from Roman oppression. However, the angel clarifies that Jesus was coming to “save his people from their sins” (v. 21). In the Old Testament, God promised that “He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (Ps. 130:8). This promise would be kept by His Son.
The birth of Jesus fulfilled prophecy. This child would be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) and would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6–7). He would be a descendant of David who would be empowered by God’s Spirit and establish a righteous kingdom (Isa. 11:1–9). Jesus was Immanuel,
meaning “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).
>> The words spoken by the prophet Isaiah, about 700 years before the birth of Jesus, clearly predicted His arrival! God fulfilled this very important promise that offers life and hope to us today. You can accept no better gift than Jesus. God’s only Son was born so that you could live. Turn to Him for salvation today!
Lord God, we marvel at Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah, and we rejoice in their fulfillment in Christ. May we recognize the weight of sin that Jesus bore on the cross for us and pray for those who need to turn their hearts to Christ.