Certainly Jesus’ life is like no other human’s who has ever walked the face of the earth. Christianity, therefore, is a unique religion, especially because of the resurrection of Jesus. No other major religion can make and substantiate the claim that it’s founder rose from the dead after having lived an exemplary life. But the birth of Jesus is no less unique. Over 700 years prior to his advent the prophet Isaiah predicted:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
(Isaiah 7:14 ESV)
The term “Immanuel” means “God with us” which is a wonderfully apt description of Jesus who was both the Son of God and the Son of Man. His mother Mary, a virgin, was “found to be with child” having known no relations with a man. The angel Gabriel appeared to her and explained her predicament like this:
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.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
(Luke 1:31-35 ESV)
Later in Jesus life, he had the opportunity to confound the Pharisees who continually questioned the claims Jesus made, the miracles he performed, and his right to speak on behalf of God. In one confrontation Jesus asked them:
“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
(Matthew 22:42-46 ESV)
Because Jesus was a descendent of King David, he could be called “the son of David.” Because of the immaculate conception, he could be called “the son of God.” The Pharisees didn’t get it, but we have the advantage of hindsight and the authority of scripture. We can “get it.” God became a man and walked among us. He proved his divinity by conquering death. We can trust his teachings, and we can trust him to deliver us from our predicament as sinful human beings. The same power that overshadowed Mary and brought forth life in her womb is the same power that overshadowed Jesus’ dead body in the tomb and brought forth a resurrected life. We can worshipfully proclaim in the last line of the Christmas hymn, Silent Night;
Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiance beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.