People sometimes make the mistake of believing that the arrival of Jesus on planet earth was out of the blue. I’ve heard it said that He began His ministry without any kind of credentials. But in fact, He had the best credentials possible – God’s word. He fulfilled prophecies about the Messiah going back to the beginning of the Old Testament.
He did not arrive “out of the blue.” His birth, life, death, and resurrection were God’s plan from the foundation of the earth. And it was written down! God the Son would take on human flesh and, as a man, redeem humanity from sin and death. His name would be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Sometimes people make the bizarre and unbiblical claim that the Old Testament does not say the Messiah would be God. It actually says so over and over, and in a myriad of ways. But if you want to give someone a quick answer, point him to Isaiah 9:6. “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father” are clear and obvious.
That’s what makes the events in Bethlehem and at Golgotha so astounding. This was God the Son being laid in a manger. This was the Second Person of the Trinity being nailed to a cross.
The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He would come from the family of David (Psalm 89:3-4; 29-36). God promised Abraham that through his family all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). That came true in the person of Jesus (John 3:16). He would be God’s only “begotten” son (Psalm 89:27).
Most people think of “Christ” as Jesus’ last name. But it’s a title. It means “Messiah.” When we say Jesus Christ, we are calling Jesus the Messiah. Simon Peter said to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus answered, “Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
The scripture is clear that the Messiah would have to suffer, but not for His own wrongdoing. He would suffer for our sin.
Isaiah 53:3-6 says, “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.”
Those words might sound like something from the New Testament. But they were written over 700 years before the birth of Jesus.
In John 3:16-17, Jesus described His mission like this: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”
Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
2 Corinthians 5:15 says that Jesus died and rose again on our behalf! 1 John 3:1 sums up the wonder of it all. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”
It fits, then, that in the skies above Bethlehem on that night so long ago, angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest!”