role of the coming Messiah more clearly than did any of his contemporaries. The passages in Isaiah chapters seven and nine are remarkably precise in their predictions surrounding the birth of Jesus. Matthew chapter one and Luke chapter one show this to be the case.
But Isaiah also foresaw the events surrounding the death of the Messiah as no one else did. His famed “Suffering Servant” passages culminate with chapters 52:13-53:12. Here, he describes in vivid detail the vicarious suffering and death of Jesus Christ. When one reads these verses (along with other passages such as Psalm 22), the explicit nature of the crucifixion is clearly foretold.
Several years ago, I came across an article written by a group of physicians and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It is titled “On the Physical death of Jesus Christ”; and it can be accessed at the following web link: http://www.slublog.com/deathjesus.pdf. Be advised: it is
not necessarily an easy read, owing to both its content and it erudition. Nonetheless, it is a dramatic description of just what Isaiah foresaw would one day happen to the Messiah.
All of this serves to remind us that Jesus Christ was born to die. As gruesome as that may sound, remember this: His death is the means whereby you and I are truly born. Jesus Himself said (in His discussion with Nicodemus in John 3:3-6): “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again… no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit (for) Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” Indeed, Jesus’ double victories over sin on the cross and over death in the resurrection together made possible our new life - abundant
In short, Jesus was born to die in order that we may be born to live. When we grasp the significance of this message, the purpose of Christmas is clear. And the meaning of the angels’ song in Luke 2 is apparent: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”