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The Prophesied Birth of Jesus




A few Christmases ago, we decided to forgo traditional gifts and instead do one big family gift in the form of a trip to Yellowstone National Park the following summer.

In the coming months, we sat in the tension between the promise of the upcoming trip and the angst of knowing it was still several LONG months away.

One dilemma I faced related to this time gap was whether or not to go ahead and show our daughters the many websites and pictures that capture the amazingness of Yellowstone or to hold off so that they would experience the wonders of Yellowstone firsthand with fresh eyes. I landed somewhere in between these two extremes. 

Over those long months, when I sensed they were having a hard day, I would open my laptop, pull them in tight on the couch, and give them insight into what was ahead for us at Yellowstone. These occasional glimpses of what was to come would lift their minds and hearts off their difficulties and redirect them toward a place of delight, helping them see the promise of better days ahead.

Throughout the Old Testament, God acts similarly when giving prophetic promises of Good News to his chosen people of Israel. 

Prophecy is understood to be the gift of communicating God’s revealed truth, with prophets being those human vessels appointed to both possess the gift and communicate the revealed truth to the people (Jeremiah 23:18-22). 

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:21

Theologian Matthew Henry (1662-1714) noted that God’s timing in prophetic instruction to his people always came during times of despair and loss, highlighting the reality that “divine comforts most delight the soul when under the pressure of perplexed thoughts.” 

We see throughout Scripture that God desires to reveal his love to his people, and he often accomplished this aim through prophecy. There are more than 300 prophecies found in the Old Testament, each serving to communicate God-ordained good news to a people in desperate need of good news.

The prophecies that contained the best news were those concerning the promise of a coming Messiah. These prophecies acted as megaphones for God’s loving voice, revealing His plans and promises for their deliverance. 

Not only did these Messianic prophecies foretell a coming Savior, but they also foretold that:

The Messiah would be in the ancestral line of Abraham and the tribe of Judah. (Genesis 12:3; 17:19; Numbers 24:17; Genesis 49:10; Matthew 1:1-16)

The place of his birth would be Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4-7)

He would be miraculously born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:27)

His name would be Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

Every detail of these remarkable Messianic prophecies was fulfilled in the person of Jesus at his birth. We need to hear the Good News and God’s promises for our lives like the Israelites.

Almost everyone reading this article is likely navigating strife. Perhaps it’s a financial challenge, relationship struggle, battle with depression, anxiety, or sickness. Just like the Israelites, our daily experiences demonstrate the brokenness of this world and reveal our desperate need to hear the voice of God. Thanks be to God that he has given us his Holy Word full of prophetic promises of what’s to come that far surpass our temporary suffering. 

One that I’m clinging to this Christmas season is God’s prophetic promise to one day wipe every tear from every eye and put to death, death. (Revelation 21:4) Another is God’s promise that, through his divine power and mystery, he will “work all things for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

My prayer for you and me is that we will allow the prophetic promises of God to wash over our souls and redirect our minds and hearts this Christmas. Just as the hearts and minds of my daughters were shifted toward delight by those small glimpses of Yellowstone, let’s allow the prophetic promises of God to redirect our hearts to delight as we glimpse the majesty of Jesus.

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Scripture References

  • Jeremiah 23:18-22
  • 2 Peter 1:21
  • Genesis 12:3
  • Genesis 17:19
  • Numbers 24:17
  • Genesis 49:10
  • Matthew 1:1-16
  • Micah 5:2
  • Luke 2:4-7
  • Isaiah 7:14
  • Luke 1:27
  • Isaiah 7:14
  • Matthew 1:23
  • Revelation 21:4
  • Romans 8:28
Jake Gross Dr. Gross joined the DTS family in 2016 to lead the Passion Global Institute. In 2020 he was appointed Dean of DTS-Atlanta. Prior to DTS, Dr. Gross spent 15 years serving in a variety of postsecondary leadership roles, including stops at Auburn University (War Eagle), Pepperdine University, and Kennesaw State University. Dr. Gross has a deep desire to see Jesus glorified in and through the educational process and takes great joy in serving students as they journey toward graduation and beyond. He delights in being married to his best friend, Emily, and they are blessed with three amazing daughters— Abby Jane, Blythe, and Joy. Dr. Gross loves fly fishing with Emily, coaching his daughters’ soccer teams, and is a firm believer that Christmas should not be celebrated until after Thanksgiving.