The Gift of Hope to a Rebel King for a Rebel World
Robin Aylor 12/22/2017
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:23 points to a prophecy made by Isaiah to King Ahaz around 700 years before Jesus was born.
Ahaz was an evil king of Judah in the lineage of David. He became king at 20 years old. He made metal idols for people to worship. He made offerings to other gods and even burned his sons as an offering. He cut up the vessels of the Temple in Jerusalem and shut up its doors. He made altars in every corner of Jerusalem and in every city of Judah he make high places to make offerings to other gods. Thankfully, his son Hezekiah was one of the best kings Judah ever had who restored much of what his father done back to the Lord. King Ahaz was buried among the commoners rather than among the royal cemetery.
But during Ahaz’s reign Syria and Israel came up against Jerusalem in war. King Ahaz and the peoples heart shook with fear. God told Isaiah to go to King Ahaz and tell him to have faith and not to fear and then for him to ask for a sign. If Ahaz truly wanted… he could be assured that Gods word was true. It seems God is wanting to show this evil king how he is above every other so called god that is worshiped in the whole world. He is the one worth trusting and so now Ahaz can ask whatever he will for a sign and God will answer. There will be no doubt in his mind that God is God. He is the only one worthy to be worshiped.
This next text is what I believe Matthew 1:23 is referring to:
Isaiah 7:10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.” 13 And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
So this evil king does not seem to want to know the truth. He answers God with what appears to be a pious, self righteous flat out refusal.
But God answers Ahaz with hope for the world… the only hope for the sins of all mankind. As Matthew puts it: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
This one would pay the wages of our sins with his death on the Cross and give those who would believe in him the greatest Christmas present ever given guaranteed with his resurrection.
Romans 6:23 says: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thank You Lord for the most wonderful Christmas gift of all! This free gift that is not a reward for any works or goodness on our part. Thank You for doing all the work and simply inviting me this broken sinner to believe in Jesus!