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The fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy rises to the forefront this time of the year. Specifically, Isaiah comes to mind concerning key prophetic verses pertaining to Jesus’ birth.
It is amazing to consider how God’s Spirit spoke through Old Testament prophets hundreds of years prior to Jesus’ arrival here. All of those words regarding Jesus’ birth came to pass.
Furthermore, it is interesting to see how faith in God’s Word played a role in carrying out prophecy. Obviously, God knew beforehand how He would work the plan of salvation and how people involved in that plan would respond.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
A primary element with faith in God is believing that He can do what seems impossible to us.
There were several birth announcements made in scripture that point to the miraculous.
The first is found in Genesis – the first book of the Bible. It comes during judgment after man’s fall when God is speaking to the serpent that beguiled the woman.
Genesis 3:15 states, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
This verse refers to Jesus, who was born of a woman, inflicting a mortal head wound to the devil. Bruising his heel references Jesus’ suffering on the cross that eventually led to His death, burial and resurrection.
With that prophecy in mind, God chose a lineage from which to fulfill it. Abraham is referenced as the father of faith.
After all, it took a great amount of faith from Abraham to believe he and his wife would have a child when they both were very old. Abraham was 99.
They had faith in God’s promises, as recorded in Romans 4:18-22: “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be, And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about 100 years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”
That was the bloodline the promised Messiah was to come through.
Fast forward hundreds of years to the time that promise was about to be fulfilled. God already had the plan in motion, along with the people who would respond.
Mary, who God chose to carry and deliver Jesus into the world, exhibited great faith, as well. She was visited by the angel Gabriel with the birth announcement.
Gabriel told Mary in Luke 1:31 that she would conceive in her womb and deliver a son, “and shall call his name JESUS.”
This was no doubt puzzling to Mary since she was a virgin. Even so, Isaiah had already proclaimed it hundreds of years prior when he wrote, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Mary had likely read Isaiah’s words, but had no inkling at the moment of the angel’s visit that the prophecy pointed to her. After being told she would give birth, this is how she responded in Luke 1:34: “Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’”
Verse 34 reads, “And the angel answered her and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’”
Mary then exercised faith in God, as evidenced when she said in verse 38, “And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word.’”
What a great example of faith! It allowed the hand of God to move in her life.
Mary’s cousin Elizabeth spoke by the Holy Ghost of that faith.
Luke 1:45 reads, “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
Sam Kaufman pastors The Church of God at 405 13th Ave. N in Alex City. Contact him at 432 266-0154.