written by Dr. Jay Padgett
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet. . . Matthew 1:22
Herein lies the hope that the children of Israel long sought after: “fulfillment of what the Lord had spoken by the prophets.” Matthew references four prophets in an effort to convince his readers that the birth of Jesus had fulfilled their prophetic words. First, he quotes Isaiah 7:14 (1:23): a virgin will conceive, bear a Son, and will call him Immanuel. Second, he cites Micah 5:2 (2:6): the Christ would be born in Bethlehem. Third, he references Hosea 11:1 (2:15): the Christ would be called out of Egypt. And finally, he quotes Jeremiah 31:15 (2:18): Rachel weeping for her children.
Matthew writes to a predominately Jewish audience and takes his readers back to the Bible to make his argument that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. He bases his defense not on his words but on God’s word. Surely this will have a profound impact on us as we read, study, teach and preach about the birth of Jesus. There is no better way to begin this Advent and Christmas season than with the knowledge and belief of the truth of the word of God. As we consider verse 22 we discover two reasons why all of this is important.
First, all this took place. It is a simple point but an important one. For many people today, similar to those in Matthew’s audience, doubt the historical authenticity, humanity or divinity of Jesus. But the Bible is clear and Matthew is unambiguous concerning what the prophets of yesteryear prophesied: the Messiah has come! His advent took place. Second, all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken – through Isaiah and other prophets. The birth of Jesus took place to fulfill the word of the Lord. God’s word will not return empty; it accomplishes his purposes and succeeds in the very thing for which it was sent it (Is 55:11). Messiah is here!
Through the encouragement of the Scriptures we have hope (Rom 15:4). There we find hope in a loving of God who lives among us. In the Word of God we find hope in a compassionate Savior who saves us. In the Bible we find hope in the Holy Spirit who fills us. The hope we find in the Word of God never fails us. “The hopes and fears of all the years,” as Philips Brooks penned, were met in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who was the Word and dwelt among us (Jn 1:14).