Tuesday, December 18

Isaiah 7:14 (NRSV)

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

We read this passage during Advent, and it really has no revelatory meaning for us. Of course, this is speaking of Jesus, of course Immanuel, “God with us,” is Jesus Christ.

For the earliest Christians, this verse was indeed very special. Most of the earliest Christians had been Jewish. This prophetic text was read for centuries in anticipation of the unknown Messiah. The story of Jesus’ birth aligned him with the prophesy.

For Messianic Jewish people, this passage holds much of the same awe and wonder as it did for the earliest believers. You see, this group of faithful Jewish people believe that Jesus is indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Attend their Saturday Shabbat service, and you will discover a beautiful blend of Hebrew liturgy and Christian hymns or praise songs.

For them, the words of Isaiah bring proof that the long-awaited Messiah has indeed come. The words we glance over each year serve as a profound statement of faith for the Messianic Jewish people. Maybe we too should read the text with awe and gratitude.

Pray: Help us to rediscover the wonder of your coming. Amen.