In Isaiah 7, King Ahaz was shaking in his boots (literally) ( cf. Isaiah 7, “the heart of the king and heart of the people trembled, as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind”). God directs Isaiah to speak into King Ahaz’s ear, “take care you remain calm and do not fear; do not let your courage fail before these two stumps of smoldering brands, the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans and of the son of Remaliah (Ephraim)…. Thus says the Lord, “It shall not stand..within sixty-five years Ephraim shall be crushed.” Isaiah offers Ahaz a sign to confirm God’s promise. Amazingly, Ahaz replies, “I couldn’t possibly tempt God.”
Through Isaiah, God gives the sign of all signs, Isaiah 7: 14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Centuries later, God fulfills the sign of “Immanuel” to a teenager. Mary experiences “Immanuel” her entire life. The angel Gabriel refers to Mary as “full of Grace.” The angel was recognizing God’s grace already resident in Mary’s heart.”
Mary experiences and embraces “Immanuel” her entire life.
Reverend Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, in “The Mother of the Saviour” defines full of grace: “it could well be compared to an inexhaustible spring, to the stream or river which flows from it… the soul of Mary was a divine masterpiece.. Mary conceived the word spiritually before she conceived our Saviour physically.”
As a man of Scripture, Joseph hoped Isaiah 7:14 to be fulfilled in his life.
Some people think Mary sinned after nine months of carrying Immanuel and 30 years of living with Him. How could anyone transgress after those experiences? Joseph and Mary modeled their marriage after Jesus’ family in heaven. The apostles were changed men after spending three years with Jesus. Can you imagine living 30 years with Immanuel? For Mary and Joseph, “WWJD” was more than a saying. Nothing is impossible with God. (Think of that statement for a moment… If you lived with Jesus for 30 years (like Joseph and Mary) can you imagine your prayer life?)
For Mary and Joseph, “WWJD” was more than a saying.
In the Old Testament, a just man was a happy man studying God’s word day in day out. Such was the testimony of the legal dad of Jesus, Joseph. As one commentator put it, “Joseph lived the law as the Gospel.” Someone who knows Scripture knows a thing or two about discernment. Joseph knew the different between his spirit and His Spirit. Joseph lived during the time when God had given up on the Jews. As a man of Scripture, Joseph hoped Isaiah 7:14 to be fulfilled in his life. The original recipient of that prophecy, AHAZ, was the exact opposite of Joseph. Instead of embracing Isaiah’s prophetic invitation, he brushed it off as a cold and calculating politician. Even though Isaiah instructs AHAZ not to fear, his faith is in the here and now. In contrast, Joseph awakens from his prophetic dream, fully armed with the awareness of a new day for the people of God. The Immanuel of Isaiah’s prophecy will soon be with us.
As children of the new covenant, the followers of Immanuel are referred to as believers. We believe in the impossible and yet the historical reality of Jesus’ virgin birth. Like Joseph, we drink from the same river of life hearing God’s voice. We seek to remain undefiled seeking to enter the story of salvation as we awake from our sleep.