The coming of the Messiah was greatly anticipated in the Old Testament. For centuries, those who were faithful to the scriptures looked forward to a Messiah who would set men free from their sin and establish a new covenant with God’s people. The prophet Jeremiah said it this way:
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.
33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
The Old Testament saints watched and waited and called out for the Lord to send the Messiah, the One who would be called Emmanuel, meaning “God with Us.” Just as it was foretold, God did send the Messiah, whom we know as Jesus. Let’s fast-forward to the beginning of the New Testament.
When Joseph found out that his fiancé was pregnant, he was confused and resolved to divorce her quietly. As he was considering how to handle this difficult situation, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Matthew 1:20-21 recall the words of that angel. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Then the New Testament scripture points back to the Old Testament. Matthew 1:22-23 says,
“22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
This time of year, the Christian church focuses on the meaning of the coming of the Son of God.
- We celebrate that God sent the promised Messiah.
- We celebrate that God has been with us. The spirit of our celebration should be the same spirit by which He came.
· Luke 19:10 says that, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
The Christmas season is a time to reflect upon the mission that God has in mind when He sent His Son Jesus. God sent Jesus to seek out lost people and to save them from the consequences of their sins. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 describes Jesus as the one who “delivers us from the wrath to come.”
Christmas is a time for worshiping our God because He is a God who searches out His people and saves them from their sins. He is a God on a rescue mission. He is intentional in all His actions. He sends and pursues so that His people might be saved.
Jesus came into the world at the very first Christmas and every Christmas season is another reminder of His continual work to seek out and save those who are lost.
- What a gift Jesus gave to me that day when he sought me out and offered me a gift on His grace beyond measure.
- What a gift we have in Jesus who is Emmanuel, “God with us.”