19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”
Happy New Year – The old year is gone and the new has come. As we take our first steps into the New Year I am reminded not only of the possibilities but the predictions. At end of every year psychics get busy predicting events for the coming year, here are a few of the predictions they made in 2011 for 2012
- Gold $2,000 an ounce and oil $130 a barrel. Gold hovered around $1,800, but never hit $2,000 and oil didn’t hit $130, not even for a single day.
- Earthquake in Mexico City destroying most of the city. Did not happen.
- A Stock Market crash like 1929 worldwide. This prediction was false.
There were many more predictions and most never came to pass even though they were predicting something in the near future. Four times in the Christmas story we read the phrase “that it might be fulfilled.” Jesus coming to Bethlehem was predicted, not by psychics, but by prophets, and not a few months before, but centuries before.
Isa 7:14 (740 B.C.) – Born of a virgin – “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Micah 5:2 (710 B.C) – Born in Bethlehem – “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.”
Psalm 72:10 (1000 B.C) – the visit of the Magi – “The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts.”
Jer 31:15 (606 B.C) – The slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem – “This is what the Lord says: “A cry is heard in Ramah deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children are gone.”
Hos 11:1 (740 B.C) – The flight into Egypt – “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.”
Jesus didn’t just “happen” to come into the world, his birth was not an “accident” it was a fulfillment of century old prophecies. Not just His birth, but the details His life, death, and resurrection were all prophesied and fulfilled. Prophecy after prophecy, scores of them specifically fulfilled, why? Because God wants you to know that He is true, that He is the Truth. Jesus came not only to fulfill prophecy, but to fulfill us, He said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 He came to make us complete and fulfill us. He said in John 15:11, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
As we move into the New Year and away from Christmas, we will take down the tree and box up the decorations to be put away until next year. The kids will lay down some of those gifts they received and may never pick them up again. We return to work and fall back into a routine, the holiday is over. But do we really feel fulfilled or are we back running on the treadmill of life wondering what’s missing? The sad truth of Christmas is that God sent His Son to fill our lives with light yet for many we will stumble into the darkness of a New Year empty and unfulfilled.
Joseph had another dream, and the angel tells him to get up and take Jesus and Mary back to Israel so he arose, no questions and no arguing, because it was time to come home. Just as God had led His people out of Egypt 1500 years before and brought them into their own home, now He was leading Joseph home. On the way home Joseph was again warned in a dream, he was told to head to Nazareth in Galilee. This fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.” Who will I follow and listen to this year? Why not make it the one whose predictions all came true. Jesus came to make his home among us that we might be fulfilled. This year what if instead of trying to fulfill resolutions in a vain attempt to change our lives we come home to Jesus and let Him fill us?