When the angels appeared, delivering an important announcement, they were fulfilling a Messianic prophecy: “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel,” meaning “God with us” (Isa. 7:14). As the gospels repeatedly point out, many aspects of the Christmas story fulfill Old Testament prophecies. How is this possible? Because we serve a God who plans and determines all of history.
This is yet another reason for us to trust Him! That’s what Mary did when confronted with the incredible message from Gabriel: She would be the mother of the Messiah, who would also be the Son of God. She was “greatly troubled” because she was a virgin, betrothed but not yet married to Joseph (vv. 29, 34). Gabriel answered by reassuring her that God would be with her (v. 35). For Mary, that was all she needed to know, but he also graciously communicated to her another sign: her relative Elizabeth’s pregnancy (v. 36).
More than one prophecy was being fulfilled in Gabriel’s words. Mary’s child, the long-awaited Messiah (see Luke 3:15), would sit on the throne of David (both Mary and Joseph were descendants) (vv. 31–33, 35). “His kingdom will never end” fulfills 2 Samuel 7:16 from God’s covenant with David. Perhaps unexpectedly, the child would also be the “Son of the Most High” and the “Son of God,” that is, the Second Person of the Trinity (v. 35). Jesus, conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, would be fully man and fully God! Mary responded in faith, understanding that “no word from God will ever fail,” or as another translation says, “nothing will be impossible with God” (vv. 37–38).
>> If you are interested in learning more about biblical prophecy, Moody professor and Q&A columnist Michael Rydelnik co-edited the Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy. Add it to your Bible study reference collection.