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Introduced by Prophets
Terry R. Baughman
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Prophets through the ages predicted the advent of a messiah that would come to bring deliverance and hope to the nation of Israel. From David’s Psalms to the lesser known prophets like Micah and Zechariah, there was an anticipation of a coming event of epic proportion. What they could not know was how accurate their predictions were and yet how few people would be aware of their fulfillment. It was as though the Lord of Glory stepped through the backdoor of His creation and into an obscure stable of Bethlehem where the newborn was laid in a manger. John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).
The prophets declared the place of His birth, the time of the advent, and the circumstances of His arrival. Micah revealed that He would come to Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Daniel spoke of the arrival of the Prince in Jerusalem and predicted that He would be suddenly cut off (Daniel 9:25–26). Isaiah prophesied that He would be born of a virgin. His coming would be a sign and He would be called Immanuel, literally, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14). Zechariah foretold that Messiah would ride triumphantly into the city on the back of a humble donkey (Zechariah 9:9). These and many other prophecies gave a grand introduction to the Savior King that would be born into this world and live to show us the way of salvation. He came to save, and the prophets declared, “God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation’” (Isaiah 12:2).
By the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem scholars of Scripture had many clues as to the Messiah’s purpose and the miracles that they should expect when He came. When John the Baptist send messengers to Jesus asking, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3). Jesus simply instructed them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:4–5). The signs were enough to satisfy John that Jesus was the fulfillment of the multitude of witnesses that came before Him.
Many who read from the prophets anticipated the coming of a conquering king rather than a humble servant. What they did not realize was there are two separate advents of the Messiah. His first coming was as a servant, humbly giving Himself to provide salvation for all humanity. (See Philippians 2:5–11.) His second coming is yet ahead when He will return triumphant on the clouds of heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Prophets predicted that the coming One would be worthy of worship. Isaiah said His coming would bring joy, “And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things” (Isaiah 23:4–5). As we look back on the words of prophecy they all point to the birth of Christ and His wonderful plan of redemption. It’s all made clear now, but the star lit path to Bethlehem was not so clearly revealed. We have the benefit of reading the prophets’ introduction and it all becomes clear.
“I am covered by your covenant of mercy and love. So I come to your sanctuary with deepest awe to bow in worship and adore you” (Psalm 5:7 The Passion Translation).
12/8 Missions Sunday (New)