“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.” (Isa 7:14)
“Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” (40:9)
“Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35-36)
Even the most devout Jew knew that there would be a great prophet coming one day to lead Israel. They knew he would be of the line of David; ruling with David’s might, and would fight on the Lord’s behalf for Israel. He would be a prophet like Moses. And the power of the Lord would be with him.
But little did they know that this messiah would be none other than God Himself. The incarnation of Jesus Christ still remains one of the universe’s great mysteries, perhaps second only to the triune nature of God. How could God Himself fulfill all the prophecies concerning the messiah? How could He become flesh? And why would He choose to do that?
Isaiah 7:14 and 40:9 are among many glimpses of the incarnation in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 40, here is the great herald, later identified as John the Baptist, proclaiming that the consolation of Israel had arrived and He is standing right in front of them. He does not say, “Here is your messiah!” He said, “Here is your God!” God Himself would save Israel. He would come with power and grace and be both a shepherd AND a lamb.
This week we will briefly explore various aspects of the incarnation. There is more material in the Scriptures than we have time but perhaps the greatest treasures exploring the incarnation can be found in Hebrews 2:14-18, Philippians 2:1-9 and Colossians 1:15-22. God became just like us so He could fully redeem us and act as our intercessor and advocate. It is the marvelous mystery of the incarnation that we celebrate every Christmas.
We start with the Old Testament revelation that God would come in person today. Tomorrow we’ll explore the incarnation further.