This Wednesday we are looking into a prophecy in the Old Testament concerning the birth of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, our Savior. Here is the Old Testament passage coming from Isaiah,
10Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11“Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.” 13And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. Isaiah 7.10-16
Listen to what Augustine wrote concerning the birth of the Son of God,
“Christ was born a visible man of a human virgin mother, but he was a hidden God because God was his Father. So the prophet had foretold: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son; and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is interpreted, God with us.’ To prove that he was God, Christ worked many miracles, some of which–as many as seemed necessary to establish his claim–are recorded in the Gospels. Of these miracles the very first was the marvelous manner of his birth; the very last, his ascension into heaven in his body risen from the dead.”
There is no doubt that Jesus was born of a virgin and that this came to pass as a fulfillment of prophecy and also as a sign of the Christ and his work. But why else would Jesus have to be born from a virgin? One obvious answer is to show that his conception was through the work of the Holy Spirit, thus allowing for the God-man to be a reality. Another reason is that Mary was in the line of Judah, the line which the Messiah was prophesied to come through. Both of these reasons are rather profound, but there is another reason, one that is necessary for our salvation.
In the Old Testament Levitical Laws the way to remove the stain of sin was the through the blood of innocent sacrificial animal, thus lifting the wrath of God. This was a continual practice because the nation continued to sin and there was not a sacrifice suited to atone for an indefinite amount of time because all the animals of slaughter were themselves mortal and finite.
The God-man, Jesus Christ was, and is, man and God. The importance of the virgin birth, to show that he was born of the Spirit and of Mary, is to show that he is the only suitable sacrifice, the once-for-all sacrifice, because he alone can atone for sin without limit because, as the second Person of the Trinity, he is infinite. Therefore, in this new covenant, we need not sacrifice unblemished lambs, turtledoves, or any such creatures because the infinite God was sacrificed on our behalf. Thus, grace and mercy abound for all repentant hearts.
Augustine was right that Christ worked many miracles, and the most profound, in my opinion, is that God chose to be with us, Emmanuel.