Advent Series Day 9: Immanuel

If you didn’t know the story already, how would you think the Messiah would arrive on the earth? From what I have read in the prophecies of Genesis through Psalms, I might assume that God would send His Messiah onto the scene as a grown man. But, hundreds of years after David, a prophet named Isaiah appears in Israel, and says this is not how He will arrive.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

Pregnancy is a mysterious thing. Some women get morning sickness, others do not. Some get cravings, others do not.  Some have babies so full of kicks that they can’t sleep at night, others look forward to the reassurance of the heart rate monitor because their babies are so still. Some gain tons of weight, others gain so little that they end up on a show called “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant.”

There is one thing, though, that all pregnancies have in common. In every pregnancy, the baby in the womb is dependent on his or her mother for survival. What she eats, how much sleep she gets, how stressed she is- all of these affect her unborn child.

Yet, it was God’s redemption plan that His Son would be conceived within a virgin. It is astonishing that the God who created humanity would put on human skin. And then, to not only become a human, but to become a fetus.

The incarnation baffles my mind.

The fact that the woman in whose womb the Messiah would reside is a virgin is not very surprising to me. If God is going to take such a drastic step as to become a fetus, I would expect the process to be different from a normal pregnancy.

In Matthew, it is confirmed that this is just the type of pregnancy Mary has.

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” (which means “God with us”). – Matthew 1:22-23

How the virgin birth takes place is a mystery. God never gives us the answer to that question. Because, that is not the right question to ask.

The question is not how- the question is why. Why would God’s Son confine himself to a womb for nine months?

God does give us the answer to that question: Immanuel.

The Messiah comes to save us. But it is not salvation from a distance. The Messiah is God with us. The Messiah is God going through every human experience personally. Knowing what it is like to be born, to scrape a knee, to have tears stream down His cheeks. And through it all, remaining sinless, trusting His Father, and staying on the mission to take the penalty of sin upon His shoulders.

The Messiah is humble. He

… being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. – Philippians 2:6-7

The Messiah is Immanuel.