In Matthew, Jesus is seen as the anointed messiah, the Christ who came to save his people from their sins. According to chapter one, Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” The prophesied Messiah came as a great light to a dark world. Jesus fulfilled several messianic prophecies in his birth alone. (See Micah 5:2, Is 7:14) People (especially the religious rulers) should have easily seen that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah that was coming to save them. The Messiah spoke with authority, unlike the religious rulers. He was able to forgive the sins of people. As the Messiah, He came this time to die on the cross for the sins of the world, later he will return as a ruler that will set up his everlasting kingdom.
Micah 5:2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
It is amazing to think that the one man who lived the perfect life on this earth was rejected by everyone. He was least worthy of the abuse that he received but suffered more than any of us. He was whipped to the point of massive bleeding and experienced the ripping of the flesh. It was done to the point that internals, like muscles and maybe even organs could have been seen. The scourging alone would have been bad enough, but there was also ridicule and taunting from the crowds and soldiers. He was spit upon, punched, and stripped of his clothing. Placed upon his head was a thorny crown and a robe was placed on his flesh torn back, then soldiers bowed before him mockingly yelling, “Hail, King of the Jews!” By this point, Jesus would have been totally without enough strength to yet alone walk but they made him carry his own cross to Calvary. He was betrayed and abandoned by his friends on this earth. Through all of this, he did not defend himself or send for help, even though he had he had the authority to and the power to get help or to stop them. He did not stop them because he was willing to do the will of His Father.
Once he made it to the cross, this is where the long-term torture started. He had nails drove through his hands and feet into the cross, and then the cross was lifted up and dropped into a hole. As his arms were spread out on the cross, it would make it hard to breathe. To breathe, he would have to stand up which would put extreme pain through the nails in his feet and all of the torn muscles in the back would have to be used. The average person on the cross would slowly and painfully die from exhaustion and suffocation.
The sad thing is the fact that these “religious people” seen with their own eyes God in the flesh, but instead of worshiping him they wanted to torture and kill him. As we approach the Christmas season, let us not forget the reason for our celebration. Our Immanuel (with us is God) came to redeem lost man-kind. He experienced the cruelest and most humiliating death. He was buried (proof of the death), and he was raised from the grave on the third day. This is a historical fact with multiple witnesses that cannot be denied. Today, Jesus is no longer the “little babe in the straw”, but is now sitting on the right hand of God. He is there with glory interceding for the saints and performing his role as the Head of the Church, until his soon return. (Romans 8:34, Colossians 1:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:15)
“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He (Jesus), having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.”(Hebrews 10:11-13 nasb)
The virgin birth is foundational to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. This is what makes it possible for him to be 100% God and 100 % man. Genesis chapter three is the first prophecy of the virgin birth of the Messiah (“her seed”). Isaiah 7:14 (NASB) says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (meaning, “God is with us”).” When Gabriel told Mary that she was pregnant with this promised child, she questioned him by asking, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) Mary did not even understand how this would be possible. She knew that it takes a man and a woman to have a child. Gabriel answered and said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
With the virgin birth, Jesus was able to have a sinless human nature that was tempted in all ways like other men, yet he did not give in. He was also able to overcome Satan, empathize with man as his high priest, and to be our unblemished lamb that was able to die on the cross for our sins.