Yesterday I preached from Matthew 1:18-25 and pointed to how Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. Not only is he the fulfillment—as we see in this text he is the Savior of sinners who brings joy to the world.
Isaiah’s hope was for a day in which the king would not die. He longed for the strong deliverer of the people to come and to make all things new. He looked forward to a day when the people’s victorious King would appear and lead them to freedom. Isaiah and his people longed for that day.
In Isaiah 6, he saw that majestic vision of the enthroned Lord of hosts sitting upon the throne. He was high and lifted up and worshipped in by a host of angelic host. In Isaiah 7, he foretold of a virgin who would conceive and have a son and once again in Isaiah 9, he foretold of this strong sovereign King who is also the Mighty God!
When Isaiah foretold of the baby to be born and the son to be given (Is. 7:14; Is. 9:6), it was none other than the Lord of hosts from Isaiah 6. The enthroned Christ pictured in Isiah 6 in his pre-incarnate state is the hope of Isaiah—who is really the hope of the entire world.
When the time came for Mary and Joseph to marry, they were in the betrothal period (Jewish legal engagement) and it was made known to Joseph that Mary was with child. He was stunned. This shocked him and he considered all of his options, and thought he would provide her a legal bill of divorcement in order to break off the marriage without too much controversy.
While he considered these things, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream explaining that the little baby in her womb was not from an unsure relationship with another man. The baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The angel told Joseph not to be afraid to take her as his wife and that when the baby boy was born, he was to be named Jesus—for he will save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).
This was the great announcement of the fulfilled hope of Isaiah! The Savior of sinners had come. When the announcement was made by the angel to Joseph it was the fulfillment of what Isaiah stated in Isaiah 9:6 and specifically in Isaiah 53.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we have a reason to celebrate and it transcends beyond his birth. His birth was the initial descent into the world of his own creation in order to walk the path of the cross. Without the cross, Matthew 1:21 would not happen. That’s why the incarnation was part of the whole that would lead to the cross and fulfill holy justice and set his people free.
Joy to the world—the Lord is come.