For Mary, so much had happened in the past year. She had been visited by the archangel Gabriel and told she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph had agreed to still marry her, despite the shame that surrounded her condition. The two of them had traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem for Caesar’s census, and her child was born in a manger, in a stable. Now add to all this the adoration and excitement of the shepherds upon hearing that her son would be the savior of the world.
To ponder means “to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate.” It means “to weigh carefully in the mind; consider thoughtfully.”
Often during the Christmas season we get lost in the commercial side of the holiday, busy decorating our homes and buying gifts. But perhaps we can take a few moments and like Mary ponder on what happened over 2000 years ago, and why one can believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
There are over 300 Old Testament messianic prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, a statistical improbability that defies the odds (1/840 (now add 32 more sets of 3 zeros)). Of those prophecies, over 40 point to His birth. Here are only four of the Old Testament prophecies (and the number of years prior to Jesus’ birth that it was given) along with the New Testament fulfillment. May we, like Mary, take time to consider them deeply and thoroughly.
The Virgin Birth
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) 600 to 700 years
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
His Place of Birth
“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.” (Matthew 2:6; cf. Micah 5:2; John 7:42) 700 years
From the line of David
"Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:5-6) 600 years
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. (Luke 2:4)
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.” (Matthew 2:18; cf. Jeremiah 31:15) 600 years
“Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Matthew 2:15; cf. Hosea 11:1} 750 years
“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. (Matthew 2:15)