“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, 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 ESV)
We are here, at that blessed time of year wherein we find even the pagans singing about the lordship and majesty of our Christ. In the immortal words of Peanuts, “Christmastime is here.”
Amid all of the hooplah and carrying on of the people of America from now until the 25th, it is quite easy to lose track of what Christmas represents. However, this Advent, rather than explain the importance of the Incarnation on its own, I wish to explain how the Incarnation fits within the context of the rest of Scripture and what that means for our reliance upon our eternally faithful God.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 ESV)
This is the first prophecy of our Christ. It comes immediately on the heels of Adam’s plunge into sin and destruction. In the midst of the curses then handed out by the Lord, he gives us this little glimmer of hope in a Savior who would come to defeat the serpent, crushing its head.
But, that’s old news. Indeed, it is thousands of years old. It is so old in fact, that we may not consider that it is even worth talking about in the first place. However, we’ve not been left with only this prophecy. We see throughout the Old Testament prophecies, types, and shadows of the One who was to come.
In Isaac, we see a type of Christ’s sacrifice to come. In Joseph, we see parallels to Christ in his suffering and the purpose of it “to save a people.” These small parallels can be taken too far, but they do, in fact, point to Christ.
Then there are the outright Prophecies like the one above from Isaiah. How often do we say that we’ll do something and then never follow through with what we’ve said, and yet, God is not like this. God makes a promise in Genesis 3, and, far from backing away from it, he leans in, promising more and more and more until it becomes almost wholly unbelievable.
Our God makes a promise, makes that promise sound better and better and then, once the promise has been inflated to the point of disbelief, and nearly forgotten by time, an angel appears to a young, Jewish virgin named Mary.
Luke 1:26–38 (ESV)
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
And, as we all know, Mary did, in fact, conceive a child by the power of the Holy Spirit and that child is our Lord. He was the one to come and crush the serpent’s head. He was the one to come and assume the Throne of David in the True Israel. He was the one to come and defeat death. He was the one to come and forgive the transgressions of his people. He was the one to take upon his shoulder the government. He was the one to bring peace and justice. He was, and is, and forever shall be, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Christ was foretold, and came, because God said it.
Christ has also said that he should lose none of that which the Father has given him. Those who are given to Christ are going to be raised up on the last day. And when God makes a promise, we can rest in that promise. Indeed, when God makes a declaration, take heart Christian, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
This Advent, please reflect upon the faithfulness of God in Christ as we celebrate and give gifts in celebration of the gift given to us by God.
Soli Deo Gloria.