All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:22–23)
Promises, promises. We have all had promises made to us. Parents, friends, advertising, doctors all make promises of different kinds. No one is able to keep all their promises to us, just as we can’t keep all our promises to others. Disappointment results.
God keeps all his promises.
Think about that for a minute. God keeps all his promises.
A number of times in Matthew 1-2 we see phrases like this phrase we find here in verse 22: this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken. Let’s look at this short phrase and see what it means for us this Christmas.
In the very first verse of Hebrews, the author writes this: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets (Hebrews 1:1). Throughout the Old Testament God spoke words to all the people listed in the genealogy in Matthew 1, and many more people besides. The whole Old Testament contains God speaking to his people and revealing to them who he is and what he is going to do.
The Old Testament is more than God is speaking to people, it points forward to what God will reveal in the New Testament, through Jesus. St. Augustine said it this way: “The new is in the old concealed; the old is in the new revealed.” The Bible is one book in two parts. Through prophecy, God speaks in the Old Testament about what he plans to do. In the New Testament he reveals those plans in the person of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 1:2 gives the contrast to 1:1: “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:2). Jesus is God’s word to us, his spoken, final word in the form of a man. Jesus is God’s promises fulfilled. Jesus is God’s “YES” to everything that he has said he will do (see 2 Cor. 1:20). Praise God for his promises fulfilled to us through Immanuel, God with us!