“For unto us a child is born…” (Isaiah 9:6a). We all know about children. We love them, raise them, and want the best for them. Many centuries ago, a special Child was born. He was laid in a manger, and angels announced His birth to the shepherds watching flocks that night. Who do you think that Child was? That Child was Jesus, the Messiah. I’m sure you know the story. It was a time in history when the Jewish people struggled against persecution. That’s a recurring theme throughout history, but this time their misfortune could have been changed had they recognized their Messiah. If their leaders studied prophecy and believed it, they would have known their long-desired Messiah had come.
We face a similar problem today. God has given us prophecy, but either we don’t study it or we try to make it say what we want to believe. We would understand the times in which we live if we all studied prophecy. All that aside, let’s start this study with the Child who was born so long ago, but changed the world forever.
God had given many prophecies regarding the coming Messiah, and Jesus fulfilled them all. The hardest to believe or understand is found in Isaiah. “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).
When we look at this verse, we notice it says a “virgin” will bear a son. Human understanding says that’s impossible, but all things are possible with God. The word used for “virgin” is ‘almah,’ but is sometimes twisted to mean a young woman. Would that be any kind of a sign? How many young women throughout history have had children? It would only be a sign if a virgin gave birth. Fast forward many years to Nazareth, and the time that prophecy was about to be fulfilled.
A young woman named Mary, a virgin, had been betrothed to a man named Joseph. Today, it would be difficult to find a virgin of any age, but in the days of Mary and Joseph, men respected women, women respected themselves, and mostly, God’s law was respected. Premarital relations were not acceptable and a very serious violation of the Law. So, when Mary was visited by Gabriel, his news was hard to fathom: Mary would have a child.
Mary was young, but her future had been secure. She was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter. He wasn’t rich but would be able to provide for her and their future children. Then, Mary’s faith was challenged and tested. The angel Gabriel was sent from God to pay her a visit.
“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28).
Mary was only human and young. The appearance of the angel frightened her. Gabriel calmed her fears but gave her some startling news.
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:31-33).
Mary was the virgin prophesied by Isaiah. Mary didn’t ask “What’s in it for me,” but only asked how this could happen because she had never had any sexual encounters with a man and wouldn’t until after she and Joseph were legally married. What a sweet person she must have been and so willing to obey God’s will. She knew what the consequences of her actions could be (Joseph could have shunned her, and she could have been stoned), but she trusted God to protect her. We need to understand how important it was for Jesus to have a human mother. Without her humanity, Jesus wouldn’t have qualified as our kinsman.
“…unto us a son is given…” (Isaiah 9:6b). We’ve seen that Jesus was born of a virgin, but why is that so important? The son who was given was given by God. When Gabriel told Mary she would become pregnant, she only asked “How.” Gabriel explained that it was God who would be the father.
“And the angel answered 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 which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
There’s so much that we cannot fully understand about how sin tainted all of humanity, but because science has made some discoveries regarding chromosomes, we know that the father passes traits to his son that are unique. When God created the heavens and the earth, He filled it with everything needed for survival. Then, He created Adam. There was one rule, and that was to not eat fruit from the tree of knowledge. Eating that particular fruit would bring death into creation. Eve was taken out of Adam, and he loved her. Sadly, she made the horrendous mistake of speaking to Satan and was beguiled by his lies.
It always causes a problem when God is specific about not doing something, but a person listens to Satan instead. Adam knew that Eve had brought death upon herself by eating the fruit, because God had specifically told him of the consequences.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
Adam knew that Eve had defied God’s law, but he loved her enough to join in her sin in order to not lose her forever. It was that action that brought the fall of all creation. It was that action that caused sin to corrupt the perfect creation of God.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12).
That is the very reason that a human could not be the father of the Messiah. In order to redeem humanity from the curse of sin, the redeemer’s blood had to be untainted by the sin which began with Adam. Had any human been the father, the blood of Jesus would have been tainted by sin.
Humanity could never rise to the perfection required by God in order to be pure enough to spend eternity with Him. Adam’s sin brought much sorrow, and it separated us from God, but that wasn’t God’s desire. His love for His creation made a way for redemption. First the Jewish Law was given through Moses, and it was a schoolmaster to teach us to draw close to God.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).
Then, from the lineage of King David, the Messiah was given as a gift to the entire world. He fulfilled the Law and provided the only way of salvation for the entire world, including Gentiles, by shedding His own blood as the final sacrifice for our sin. An important lesson taught by the law is that only shed blood could take sin away, or at least cover it.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).
God never required human sacrifice, but the law provided for the blood of animals to be shed as a sin offering. The Law was very specific about the sacrifices, but it also made it clear that those sacrifices were temporary and had to be repeated regularly. The blood of an animal was not human blood and therefore unable to take the sin away permanently.
“But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:3-4).
Shedding blood for sacrifice is ugly, but so is sin. The offerings under the Law were a temporary remedy, but the blood of our Kinsman Redeemer was the once for all Sacrifice to take our sin away.
The role of kinsman redeemer was established in Jewish Law, and it is a way that property and/or people can be redeemed. Adam lost both for us by choosing to sin.
“If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold” (Leviticus 25:25).
The one who redeems the property must be a relative of the one who lost it. The same is true for people.
“After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself” (Leviticus 25:48-49).
The one who redeems a person must be a relative of the one being redeemed. In order to redeem mankind, it was necessary for the redeemer to be human. Because Mary was Jesus’ mother, He was human. On the other hand, if His father had been human, sin-tainted blood would have been passed from father to Son, and He couldn’t have been a once-for-all sacrifice. Had the Messiah taken any form except human, His sacrifice on the cross wouldn’t have paid our debt.
“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:16-17).
After Jesus gave His life on the cross and shed His blood for our sin, He put His own blood on the Heavenly altar.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:11-14).
Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, is our Kinsman Redeemer. You must believe this with your whole heart in order to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus. If you believe, then give yourself as a living sacrifice to Him who sacrificed everything for you.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He hath visited and redeemed His people” (Luke 1:68).
This Christmas season as we sing hymns of praise for the Child born in a manger, let’s remember the Son that was given by God the Father, in order that sinful people can be redeemed and find eternal life through Jesus Christ.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.
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