(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog)
People all over the world have heard the story of Jesus’ birth. But have you ever wondered whether there’s more to the familiar story? Since the Bible records the birth of Jesus in detail, is there a deeper meaning to that event?
In this post, we’ll use verses and notes from the New Testament Recovery Version to see something of the significance of Jesus’ birth. Catching even a glimpse of its real meaning will increase our love for Jesus and uplift our worship of Him.
Prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament
About seven hundred years before Christ, a prophecy concerning Jesus’ birth was recorded in the Old Testament. Isaiah 7:14 says:
“The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.”
The New Testament opens with the account of Jesus’ birth. In the first chapter of Matthew, verse 18 tells us how the virgin birth prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled:
“Now the origin of Jesus Christ was in this way: His mother, Mary, after she had been engaged to Joseph, before they came together, was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.”
Note 1 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version speaks of the profound meaning of Mary being with child of the Holy Spirit:
“Although Christ was born of Mary (v. 16), He was a child of the Holy Spirit. The birth of Christ was directly of the Holy Spirit (v. 20). His source was the Holy Spirit and His element was divine. Through the virgin Mary He put on flesh and blood, the human nature, taking the likeness of the flesh (Rom. 8:3), the likeness of men (Phil. 2:7).”
Though Jesus was born as a child with flesh and blood, His source was the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:20 tells us more about Jesus’ origin:
“But while he pondered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which has been begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
Note 1 on this verse explains:
“God was first born into Mary through His Spirit; after the conception was completed, He, with the human nature, was born to be a God-man, possessing both divinity and humanity. This is the origin of Christ.”
These two verses, Matthew 1:18 and 20, show us that the birth of Jesus Christ was by no means the ordinary birth of an ordinary man; it was the extraordinary incarnation of God Himself. The birth of Jesus was the birth of a God-man, a wonderful Person who was both divine and human.
Jesus and Emmanuel
Matthew 1:21-23 tells us two names of this precious, unique Person, Jesus and Emmanuel:
“And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins. Now all this has happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel’ (which is translated, God with us).”
Jesus and Emmanuel are two excellent names that are full of significance for us. Let’s explore these names with the help of the notes.
Note 1 on Jesus in verse 21 tells us:
“Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name Joshua (Num. 13:16), which means Jehovah the Savior, or the salvation of Jehovah. Hence, Jesus is not only a man but Jehovah, and not only Jehovah but Jehovah becoming our salvation. Thus, He is our Savior. He is also our Joshua, the One who brings us into rest (Heb. 4:8; Matt. 11:28-29), which is Himself as the good land to us.”
Because of the fall of man, all human beings need a Saviour. This Saviour is Jesus, who is Jehovah, the very God Himself. The God-man Jesus is the only one who saves us from our sins. We can enjoy His salvation whenever we call upon the name of Jesus. How precious the name of Jesus is!
Notes 2 and 3 on the name Emmanuel in verse 23 say this:
“Jesus was the name given by God, whereas Emmanuel, meaning God with us, was the name by which man called Him. Jesus the Savior is God with us. He is God, and He is also God incarnated to dwell among us (John 1:14). He is not only God but God with us.”
“Christ as the very Emmanuel not only was with us when He was on earth, but also is with us, since His ascension, whenever we are gathered into His name (18:20). Moreover, He will be with us all the days until the consummation of the age (28:20).”
Our Saviour Jesus is Emmanuel; He is God with us all the time. How comforting and encouraging this is! He’s always with us, everywhere and in every situation.
Saving us and being with us forever
To save us, God did an amazing thing. The eternal God became an approachable man and lived a perfect, sinless life on earth among fallen humanity. What a mysterious and yet wondrous fact! As the God-man, He reached mankind with His love, mercy, and kindness. He spoke words of righteousness and truth to bring people out of darkness and into light. Then in His body of flesh and blood, Jesus suffered death on the cross for our sins. He accomplished redemption for us, and by believing in Him, we’re cleansed from our sins and delivered from eternal judgment.
But that’s not all. When we believe in Him, we receive the resurrected Christ as the life-giving Spirit into us. He comes to live in us and be with us always, as part of His plan to fulfill His eternal purpose.
If you haven’t yet received the Saviour, you don’t have to wait any longer. Just pray this prayer with a sincere heart:
“Lord Jesus, I believe You are the true God and a perfect man. Thank You for being born and becoming a real man with both divinity and humanity. Thank You for saving me from my sins by dying for me. Lord, I receive You right now. Come into me and live in me. Thank you, Lord, for being with me all the time. Amen.”
If you prayed to receive the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, you can find resources to help you on this page.