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Isaiah 9:6


"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." (NASB) 

Over the past few years, we've lit the Advent candle in keeping with traditions established in this church before I came. In the past, we lit the candle and I preached an unrelated message, but this year I will follow the Advent calendar with my sermons. Today's message will be abbreviated because we have other things planned for the service that will take more time than normal, but I do believe that in the few moments that we've budgeted for this sermon we can gain some helpful background to make our Christmas season more meaningful. 

Just a moment ago, we lit the Prophesy candle. Just as we have to wait for Christmas morning, those who first heard Isaiah's prophesy had to wait for its fulfillment. Their wait, of course, was much longer and more painful than ours. The purpose of this candle in the Advent calendar is more than drawing attention to the wait, it is to remind us that the Incarnation was not a divine afterthought-God intended to become man and redeem the world with His precious blood from before time. Rev. 13:8 refers to Jesus as "the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." (NIV)

Isaiah says that the child "will be born to us." With that phrase, he affirms the humanity of Jesus. But he says more than just that-he also writes, "a son will be given to us." The addition of the second phrase clarifies the first. Jesus was born of a woman-He was born to us, but His birth was of divine origin-He was given to us.

Long before a baby cried in a manger in Bethlehem, the prophet said that this would be a unique child. A human child, yes, but a divine child also.

Paul explained it this way in Philip. 2:6-8. "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. [8] And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Before Jesus "emptied Himself" at the Incarnation, Isaiah said he would do it. 

Isaiah was more explicit about the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14 when he wrote, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."

Luke, the physician, affirmed Isaiah's prophesy in Acts 13:23, when he wrote, "From the offspring of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus," Dr. Luke told the story of the immaculate conception this way: Luke 1:26-31 NASB "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28] And coming in, he said to her, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.' [29] But she was greatly troubled at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation 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 name Him Jesus.'"

Today as we behold the Prophecy candle, we remember that Isaiah told us that Jesus birth would be unique. Tonight we will explore other Old Testament prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus when we meet together to worship, but for now, shall we spend the morning reflecting upon the amazing circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth. It was no ordinary birth-He was born of a virgin. A fact that was foretold by the Prophet Isaiah and later confirmed by Dr. Luke. And as we marvel in these facts, shall we remember why He was born. He was born to die, to bring salvation into the world. 

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