The Wonders of God’s Word: Prophecies of Christ’s Birth Part II

Cross in BethlehemNicodemus is one of my favorite characters in the Bible.  I feel his inner struggle as he seeks Jesus in the garden, desperately longing to wrap his head around kingdom principles.  After his encounter with Jesus, he would discover his need to be born again; kingdom ways compel our spirits, not our intellect.

Scripture does not mention Nicodemus beyond his collaboration with Joseph of Arimathea in burying Jesus; but again, my favorite portrayal of Jesus’ life and ministry, Jesus of Nazareth (1977), beautifully portrays Nicodemus’ “aha” moment, when his heart overruled his mind; he stood afar off and beheld the Lamb of God, Isaiah 53 dripping like honey off his tongue:

“He was despised and rejected of men; man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth and is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before his sheerer is dumb.  Surely he has born our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we would esteem him stricken and smitten of God and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was abused for our iniquities, and through his wounds we are healed… and born again.”[1]

I cannot remember how many times I have watched that scene, but it moves me every time.  Nicodemus has his eyes on the Messiah, the fulfillment Israel has been awaiting, since the first prophecy spoken in the Garden of Eden; his first encounter with that promise, came too, in a garden.  From garden to garden.  The Word of God is beautiful and witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy is awe-inspiring.

I pray, as we continue to see the prophecies of Christ’s birth and their fulfillment, the wonder of God and His Word pierce your heart.

Place of Birth

Prophecy:

But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.  The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.  Isaiah 9: 1-2 NASB.

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,  And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.  Isaiah 11:1 NASB.

Note: {When Isaiah spoke of Jesus being the branch (shoot), he used the word neh-tzer, meaning the separated One, or the Nazarene.[2]}

When Israel was a youth I loved him,  And out of Egypt I called My son.  Hosea 11:1 NASB

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.  Micah 5:2 NASB

Fulfillment:

… and came and lived in a city called Nazareth.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.  Matthew 2:23

So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.  He remained there until the death of Herod.  This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: Out of Egypt I called my son.  Matthew 2:14, 15. NASB

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. (Matt. 2:1; c.f. 2:5-6; John 7:42). [3]

The Forerunner to His Birth

Prophecy:

A voice is calling, Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness;  Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.  Isaiah 40:3 NASB

“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me.  And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.  Malachi 3:1

Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.  Malachi 4:5

Fulfillment:

Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the lord, make his paths straight!”  Matthew 3:1,3 NASB

I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.  John 1:23 NASB

This is the one about whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.  Luke 7:27

One more important subject is yet to be uncovered: the names given at birth.   His names are too important to ignore; we’ll see those in the next part.

I pray the Word is penetrating your soul, and that Jesus is being revealed to you in these ancient truths.  I also pray you see prophecy in a new light, and the weaving together of the Old Covenant and the New.

[1]A paraphrase of Isaiah 53 by Nicodemus, in the 1977 miniseries, Jesus of Nazareth.
[2]Lockyer, Herbert, All The Messianic Prophecies (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), 64.
[3]Ibid.

1 comment for “The Wonders of God’s Word: Prophecies of Christ’s Birth Part II

  1. May 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I sometimes wonder what happened to those people who had such great faith or faith awakenings and are only mentioned once or twice in the Bible. It is amazing that someone who was so afraid to be seen with Jesus that he came at night changed to the point that he had the courage to participate in laying Him in the tomb.

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