Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.Isaiah 7:14-16 NIV
The nation of Judah was being threatened by a pair of kingdoms to their north and King Ahaz was looking into establishing an alliance with Assyria. God sent Isaiah to Ahaz to encourage him to trust instead in God and gave him a sign to prove that God could take care of him and the nation. And this verse is a part of that sign given to Ahaz. The word translated here as virgin can just as easily mean girl or young woman. God tells Ahaz that before the child born to this woman reaches an age where he can reject the wrong and choose the right, that the kings he feared would be destroyed. A sign that was fulfilled in just a few short years.
Jesus Is Immanuel
While the original intent of this sign was to reassure Ahaz, Matthew applies it to the birth of Jesus. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matt. 1:23). The virgin birth of Jesus was a sign to Mary and Joseph. And it is a sign to the rest of the world. This was no ordinary child conceived in the normal way. Rather, Jesus was God, clothed in human flesh. He was Immanuel, God with us.
So as you celebrate Christmas this year take this sign to heart. That baby you see represented in the manger was not just an ordinary baby born into humble circumstances. Instead, he was the creator of the universe wrapped in human flesh. Celebrate the incarnation of Jesus and the beginning of his work of redemption among us.
The baby born in Isaiah was a sign to Ahaz that God was with him. So the baby born to Mary over 2000 years ago is a sign to us that God is with us. We need not fear anything that this world may do to us. And we can rejoice in that.
Download this article as a PDF file.