Since we are in the season of Advent, perhaps we should take a brief look at the prophecies about Jesus’s birth and the scriptures where those prophecies were fulfilled.
In Isaiah 7:14 (NIV), the prophet said: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” In Matthew 1:22-23 after an angel had appeared to Joseph to tell him that Mary would give birth to Jesus, we read: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel.'”
Of course, he was called Jesus, not Immanuel, but we are told that Immanuel means “God with us.” And Jesus was God with us while he lived on earth. In Isaiah 9:6 we read a passage of scripture often quoted during Advent: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” He was called none of those things, but the prophecy in Isaiah 7 and 9 was surely designed to call a high level of attention to what would happen in the miracle of Jesus’s birth.
Moreover, Jesus had many names: Christ, Messiah, Savior, Rabbi, Son of God, Son of Man, Lord, Master, the Word, Son of David, Lamb of God, and King of the Jews–and I’m sure those aren’t the only names Jesus was called in Holy Scripture. For such an extraordinary event, all of these names seem appropriate for the one through whom salvation came to the world.
Without trying to cover every prophecy, a few more are worth noting. In Micah 5:2, Bethlehem was identified as Jesus birthplace, a prophecy fulfilled in Matthew 2:1-6. In Isaiah 11:1-10, we’re told that a shoot would come from the stump of Jesse; in Jeremiah 23:5, the Messiah is said to be a righteous branch of David. Elsewhere, we’re told that Jesus would come from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:19), be in the line of Abraham (Genesis 22:18), the line of Isaac (Genesis 17:19), the line of Jacob (Numbers 24:17). All of these prophecies were fulfilled in Matthew 1 where the genealogy of Jesus is set forth.
In Jeremiah 31:15, we read that there will be a massacre of children when Jesus is born, and we read about that happening in Matthew 2:16-18. In Hosea 11:1, we read that the Messiah would spend a season in Egypt, which is fulfilled in Matthew 2:14-15.
As we observe Advent this year, let us remember and reflect on these prophecies and the scriptures that fulfill them.