In our first series of Monday Morning Prophecies we started rather abruptly with the betrayal of Jesus. I did this, in part, because I find the level of detail amazing when it comes to prophecies about Jesus from the Old Testament down to the level of the price paid for the betrayal. For the next few weeks, we are going to go back to the beginning and look at prophecies related to the birth and early years of our Lord Jesus Christ. As with the prophecies related to the betrayal of Jesus, I think you will see clearly that the prophecies related to his birth were also obviously beyond his control.
To begin our look at the prophecies related to his birth, let’s look first at the prophecy that the Messiah would be called from the womb. Many people in our society can’t figure out what they should do with their lives well into their 30’s or even later. Jesus was called by God for a purpose before he was ever born. This is no surprise really given that God had the plan for our salvation before he ever created the world. Let’s have a look at Isaiah 49:1:
Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.” And now the LORD says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him– for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength– he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” [Isaiah 49:1-6]
The words spoken by Isaiah reflect the calling of the Messiah – the one who would become “a light for the nations.” The verses are clear that the Messiah would be “called…from the womb” and that he would be “formed…from the womb to be his servant.”
Let’s turn now to the New Testament fulfillment of this prophecy. When the angel came to Mary to tell her she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit, Luke records:
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” [Luke 1:30-33]
When Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant and plans to divorce her quietly, Matthew tells us what happened next:
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” [Matthew 1:19-21]
Jesus’ mission, to be called the Son of God and to save his people from their sins was announced to both Mary and Joseph prior to his birth. He was set apart and called by God from the womb. More amazing than that however was that it had been prophesied by Isaiah nearly 700 years earlier.
Image courtesy of Abby Reed