Seeing the Nativity

How can we see the nativity here in Isaiah 53?  I was studying and the Lord showed me something I hadn’t really seen before.

The Jews had copies of the Old Testament and at times copies would end up in the hands of other nations.  Some would destroy it as we see in some stories in the Bible.  Others, such as the nation of the wise men, read and paid attention to it.  As astronomers they saw a heavenly light and knew something was about to happen.  We talk about faith.  Look at these men.  Look at the faith of the shepherds who left their flocks and searched for a baby in a manger.  They believed God could care for their sheep if they left them.  The wise men didn’t believe they’d go around in circles. Faith can be a hard thing.  We tend to lean on our own resources.  When that is gone what do we do?  Give up?  No!  Faith reminds us of a divine something keeping us in the right direction.

In Isaiah we see the Savior would be born of a virgin.  Isaiah 9 gives us his names:  Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  When Gabriel visited Joseph after God’s son was incarnated in the womb of Mary, he planned to annul the engagement.  It is correct to call Old Testament believers “Old Testament Christians.”  Joseph couldn’t see how this could happen if Mary was a virgin.  God straightened him out with an angel visit and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.  He was told that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Now where do we find it in Isaiah 53?

Isaiah 53: Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

When we read this we see two questions asked right off the bat.  If we frame all our wondering and uncertainty it would all boil down to these two questions.   Even as we ask we already have the answers.  The wise men asked where is he born king of the Jews?  They had seen the star in the east.  When they asked where, so did Herod.  Herod thought he was the king of the Jews.  He had all the pomp and crowns.  We’d be nothing without Jesus.  Everyone wants to be somebody but we see the King of the world born in poverty.  Joseph and Mary were away from home.  Imagine if you were expecting and had to have the baby away from home.  Would you trust the doctor or the hospital you didn’t know?  Jesus was born while they were away from home and the only refuge they found was in a stable.  Over in that area it gets cold enough at night for a sweater.  Jesus was wrapped and placed in a manger.

He was the most unlikely to be king.  Isaiah said he was uncomely.  There was nothing special about his looks.  We get hung up on our looks.  Many try to look like Hollywood.  All this stuff will go to hell.  Be satisfied with how you look.  Jesus allowed himself to need protection.  He loved us enough to go down to our most vulnerable level and bear our sorrow and hardship.  He got cold.  He sweated.  He got tired and thirsty.  When he went to the well at Samaria he could have gotten his own water but he asked a woman to give him water.  He told her that if she knew who he was she’d ask him for a drink.  He didn’t have a big physique.  There was nothing to desire him.  Artists always paint him as a good looking man but the man of sorrows was not that way.  When he spoke and his spirit reached out, there was something irresistible.  If you feel a tug, it’s Jesus.  The Lord drew me and aren’t you glad he did the same for you!

This is the message of Christmas.  All the pretty colors are nice.  We enjoy them because Jesus came. Yet this passage tells us He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Emmanuel—virgin-born Son of God.  Yes, he’s called these names.  But he’s also called the branch.  Look at these verses.  Verse 2 tells us he’s ordinary.  Verses 3-4 tell us he’s a man of sorrows; this is so he could be our Savior.  The somebody of somebodies became a nobody.  We’re nobody without Jesus, but with him we are the people of God.  Verses 5-6 tell us he was tortured.  That’s what we deserve, but Jesus came and bore it for us.  We’re a fallen race that deserves torture and eternity in hell but Jesus took it all so we could be remedied of our condition.  Verse 7 shows us the silent lamb.  Silent night.  Holy night.  All is calm.  All is bright.  If you go outside on Christmas Eve after all the hustle and bustle you’ll find it to be silent.  Jesus was not like a hog that attacks if you try to hurt him.  A lamb will go right to the knife.  He won’t resist.  We’ve gone astray and the Shepherd of the ages became a lamb and took our waywardness to be slaughtered in our place.

How can the two questions asked in verse one be answered?  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?  Who has believed the report?  I do!  You can’t trust the news today.  But there is one piece of news you can believe.  The report of the angels said Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  We have a report to pass on!  We have Jesus in our heart because the news was passed down to us.  Don’t fail to pass it on to others.  To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?  My hand couldn’t hold this water without my arm to help.  God knew we needed a Savior.  He loved us so much he gave us his Son, the arm of the Lord.  By faith we trust him.  I want to stay in his hand so the arm of the Lord can take us home.

Trust him.  Glorify the God of heaven and earth.  Let earth receive her king!

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