Advent: Day Thirteen
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. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”—Matthew 1:18-23
The scandal of Jesus’ birth isn’t isolated to His family tree. There’s a backstory to Christmas. You see, during the 400 years between the books of Malachi and Matthew, God wasn’t sitting there feeling worried about what He was going to do. Throughout all those silent years, God was working to bring about the fulfillment of His promise, and He would do it in the most unexpected of ways.
God’s people hung suspended between promise and fulfillment, when into the silence stepped Gabriel, saying the time was now.
Two thousand years ago, when women were given no voice and no hope for a future outside of her husband or father, the angel appeared to a girl named Mary. Mary was the very definition of marginalized—a teenage peasant of an oppressed nation, an uneducated girl who would have no hope of a future outside of a husband. Yet, here, the God of the universe has picked Mary to carry the second person of the Trinity in her womb. This poor, illiterate, unmarried girl would nurse our Savior at her breast.
Martin Lloyd-Jones called Christmas the “supreme example of fulfilled prophecy, the supreme example of God’s faithfulness to his promises…. What God did when he sent his Son into the world is an absolute guarantee that he will do everything he has ever promised to do.”
The birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises God has been making since the beginning of history. It is a beautiful vindication of God’s word. A stunning moment where God says, “You may think I don’t keep my promises, you may think I forget, but I cannot forget. I’m not a man that I should lie.”
Let Mary’s experience function as a telescope for you today. Let her capture something big and draw it near enough that you can better understand it: God doesn’t lie. His promises are amazing, and Jesus came to fulfill them.
Meditation: In this scandalous moment when God has done the unexpected and chosen young Mary as the vessel through which our Savior would be delivered, we are given a beautiful picture of our God as a promise-keeping God. But what does that mean for us? It means that you don’t have to hope in blind silence that God will fulfill His promises. It means that everything God has promised through the gospel is true, whether you feel it or not. No matter who you are, whatever your station in life, He keeps His promises.
Prayer: Lord, you have promised salvation, and You cannot lie. You promise that all of the judgement and wrath I deserve as a sinner have been absorbed by Jesus. You promise that You who began a good work in me will complete that work until the day when I am finished, lacking nothing, seeing Christ eye-to-eye. Thank you for being a promise-keeping God! I believe Your promises.