‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us’
Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23
“Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21)
Over the past sixty lessons, we have been studying the Scriptures of the Old Testament, that is, the Pentateuch of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Writings of the other prophets. In the last lesson we began to study the Scriptures of the New Testament. Truly, the message of the Gospel is very good news for all who believe it, because it tells us that God has sent a mighty Savior to earth,
just as He promised
through His prophets of long ago.
Before we begin our study in the Gospel, it would be good for us to remember why God planned to send a Savior to the descendants of Adam. Can you remember what happened the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed God? In the Pentateuch, we saw how Adam’s disobedience led the whole human race away from the kingdom of God and into the kingdom of Satan. Adam’s sin is the reason every one of us is born in sin. As we have already seen, “Like father, like son”, in the same way Adam and his offspring can only beget children that sin!
Our sin condemns us so that we have no possible way of making ourselves right before the One who must judge us!
However, we praise God that the Scriptures of the Prophets do not conclude with the story of Adam’s transgression! As we have already seen,
on the very day that Adam and Eve sinned,
God began to make known His wonderful plan to send a Redeemer into the world who could deliver the descendants of Adam from the dominion of Satan and sin. On that dark day
when sin entered world,
God announced that this holy Redeemer would be born of “a virgin woman.” (Genesis 3:15; Gal. 4:4) The Messiah, who was to shed His blood as the Perfect Sacrifice for sinners, could not come from an earthly father tainted with sin.
He had to be perfect and holy
even as God is perfect and holy. That is why the prophet Isaiah (who lived seven hundred years before the Messiah’s coming) wrote: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name
which being interpreted is ‘God with us’!” (Isa. 7:14; Matt 1:23)
Let us now return to the book of the Gospel so that we might see how God fulfilled what He promised concerning this perfect and holy Redeemer who was to be born of a virgin–a young woman who had never been intimate with a man. In our last lesson, we saw how God’s angel,
appeared to a Jew by the name of Zechariah. Gabriel told Zechariah that he and his wife would have a son by the name of John, who was to prepare the way before the Redeemer.
Now let us continue in the Gospel of Luke, chapter one, and see how God sent His angel to a virgin by the name of
The Scripture says: (Luke 1:26-38). ‘And in the sixth month the angel, Gabriel, was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was
of the house of David; and the virgin’s name wa Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou who art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered in her mind what kind of greeting this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God. Andm behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord shall give to him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel,
How shall this be,
seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her,
The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee,
and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin, Elisabeth, hath also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For
with God nothing shall be impossible.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
Let’s stop here and think a little about what happened when God’s angel, Gabriel, appeared to Mary. Mary was a young woman who esteemed the Word of God. She was promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, but
they were not yet living together.
Both Joseph and Mary were descendants of King David. You will remember that God’s prophets not only prophesied that the Messiah would be
born of a virgin,
but also that He would belong to the family line of King David.
So that no one misunderstands, there is something else which you should know about Mary. It is this:
As all of us, she was born with a sinful nature. It is necessary that we say this, because many elevate Mary to the place of God and worship her and pray to her. To do so is
Certainly, Mary is worthy of honor since she was the woman through whom God chose to bring the Messiah into the world. But this favor that God bestowed upon her does not make her worthy of worship, because the Scripture says:
“Thou shalt worship the Lord, thy God, and him only shalt thou serve!” (Matthew 4:10)
Now then, in the verses we have just read, we see how Gabriel visited Mary to inform her that she was the virgin through whom God intended to bring the Savior of sinners into the world. Gabriel also told Mary the name of the Child that she was to bear. He said to her, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus.” The name Jesus means
the LORD saves.
However, there was another name by which Gabriel referred to the Messiah. Did you hear it? He called Him “the Son of the Most High.” Like it or not, that is what Gabriel said. We have already read in the Psalms of David that God called the Messiah His Son. Now we hear how God’s angel Gabriel also calls the Messiah
“the Son of God.”
Friends, we know that many who hear the name “Son of God,” reply, “That’s impossible! But as the old proverb says: “Before you slap the shepherd on the mouth, you should find out what he is whistling about.” Similarly, before you despise the name “Son of God,” you should make an effort to find out what the term Son of God means! In the Holy Scriptures, the Messiah is called
more than one hundred and twenty times. Thus, we who believe the Writings of the Prophets do not dare deny that God calls the Messiah His Son. What we want to know is why God calls Jesus His Son.
First, we need to know what the name Son of God does not mean. It does not mean that God took a wife and had a son! Anyone who thinks such thoughts is blaspheming God! God is the Highest One and does not produce children as a man produces them.
That must be perfectly clear in our minds. We do not have time today to explain all that the name Son of God means, but what you must understand is that the name does not mean that God took a wife and bore a son by her! This should not be difficult to understand, because here in Botswana we often call anyone who has lived a long time in the country “a son of Botswana,” although Botswana obviously cannot have a wife and bear a son. Also, if you travel outside the country, people may call you “a son of Africa,” but that does not mean that Africa is your father! It simply means that you come from Africa, your place of origin.
That is how it is with Jesus the Messiah. God calls Him His Son because
The Messiah came from heaven. Before He was born He was with God. The Messiah is also the the Word which was with God in the beginning. That is what the Scriptures declare when they say: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-3,14) Amen!
Yes, the Messiah is the Word of God which came from heaven, and was born as a man. We all know that the Messiah had no earthly father. Well now, if He did not have an earthly father, then where did He come from?
Read again what Gabriel told Mary. He said to her,
“The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
Perhaps you have heard some say, “Oh yes, we know that Jesus had no earthly father, but Jesus’ birth of a virgin isn’t so important. God merely wanted to show His power. God created Adam without father or mother. Next, He created Eve with only a father, that is, He formed her from the rib He took from Adam. Then to display His power further, God created a man using only a woman. That is the only reason Jesus was born without an earthly father.”
Dear friends, it is true that God is the Almighty One and nothing is impossible for Him! But concerning Jesus’ birth of a virgin, you must know that the reason for it was infinitely more important than merely to display God’s power!
There is a very, very important reason Jesus was born of a virgin thousands of years after God created Adam and Eve! Do you know the reason? The Holy Scripture tell us the reason, when it says: “[Jesus the Messiah] came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Tim. 1:15) Jesus was born into the world to redeem the lost, sinful, condemned descendants of Adam — therefore He could not originate from a man tainted with sin! As we have already seen, according to God’s plan, the Messiah had to shed His blood as a sacrifice to pay for sin. To be the Perfect Sacrifice, the Redeemer had to be without a single sin or fault, like the healthy, innocent sheep sacrificed every year at the Feast of Sacrifice.
Think about it!
Can a person with a great debt pay the debts of others? No! Only the one who has no debt is qualified to pay the debts of others. Similarly, the Messiah had to be a man who had no debt of sin, so that He might pay the debt of sin for the children of Adam. God wants us to know that the Messiah and the children of Adam are very different. We are sons of Adam, but Jesus is the Son of God! We, as children of Adam, are like the dirty earth because of our sin. However, Jesus is like the rain that comes from heaven.
He is pure and holy,
just as God is pure and holy. That is why God is not ashamed to call Him His Son! And so friends, we hope that as you leave here today, your minds are clearer and that you better understand why Jesus the Messiah had to be born of a virgin and what the name “Son of God” means and does not mean.
We conclude today’s broadcast by reading in the Gospel of Matthew about the birth of the Messiah. Several months after Mary became pregnant by the power of the Spirit of God, God sent His angel to Joseph, who was to become her husband. The Scripture says: (Matt. 1:18-25) “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this way: When, as his mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife; for that which is conceived in her
is of the Holy Spirit.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was one, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name
which, being interpreted, is
God with us.
The Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife, and knew her not till she had brought forth her forsi-born son; and
he called his name Jesus.”
In the next lesson we will continue in the Gospel to read the amazing story about the birth of Jesus, the Messiah.
God bless you as you remember what the angel told Joseph concerning the Messiah:
“Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins!” (Matthew. 1:21).
We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have