Merry Christmas!

The Prophetic Babe

December 24, 2014

The prophets of old were not folks you would normally consider as you compiled your guest list for a Christmas party. Nor would they come to mind as a pleasant companion for a stroll on the beach. They saw things…far away things. And those things they saw were, to them, more real and infinitely more important than kicking back for a moment of self-indulgence. They were insular, blinkered chaps who were lacking in the social elegance and panache of their times – serious, passionate and driven. They had heard God’s voice. They had seen, sometimes almost in impressionistic-like strokes of a Monet, the traces of a fantastic future – either one of unspeakable beauty, or one dystopian. Some saw both.

To be a prophet was a heavy load. To be told to announce grim pronouncements to a group of people predisposed to apathy, and, more often than not – downright antipathy – was a rough assignment. To have the temerity to say, either feebly or boldly, “Thus saith the Lord!” was an invitation to scorn, alienation and even death.

With the exception of a very few, were I to take you on a tour of the prophets of old, we would meet with some very coarse, odd, and off-putting characters. To be a prophet would allow for little else. You carried a voice in your head. It was a voice calling for people to change, to repent, to get their act together. It was a splinter in the brain that was terminal. To get the people to bleed a mere trickle of transformation, the prophet would have to hemorrhage.

And oftentimes, the very One who called you to prophesy seemed oblivious to the stagecraft of timing. It is not so difficult to be a prophet if you can say, “Repent or the entire city is going to be swallowed up by a massive sinkhole at 7:00 p.m. next week during Monday Night Football.” That is a fairly easy thing to quantify that might draw the interest of the most jaded listener. But often, the pronouncements that were made were, well…a ways off.

In the book of Isaiah we find a number of remarkable passages that are peppered, sprinkled, and strewn about that speaks of a certain person who is coming, someday, who will be unlike anything the world has ever seen, or will see.  In context, some of the prophecies seem disjointed and out of place. It is as if Isaiah suddenly declares a random vision in the middle of a thought then comes back to earth to deal with the context of his day. But, it is the specificity and the mass of these prophetic glimpses that give the honest reader pause. Isaiah is seeing things that are some 700 hundred years into the future. That is extraordinary. It is a bumpy ride, but the prophecies are so outlandish that it causes the reader to hesitate and say, “Wait…what?”

Isaiah tells us the following: This person will be born of a virgin; He will be called Emmanuel, God with us; He will begin his ministry in Galilee; He will be both human and Divine; He will be a healer; He will have a ministry of miracles; He will be a hope to the Gentiles; He will die for people’s sins; He will be crucified (a punishment unknown in Isaiah’s day); He will come back to life; He will be called Yeshua (Jesus); He would be sold out for thirty pieces of silver… 

I could go on and on. Together, the prophets bring us well over 300 specific prophesies concerning Jesus, hundreds and sometimes thousands of years before the great events that we are to celebrate today. That is something worth noting. It is no small thing.

Why is it no small thing? Well, for the very simple fact that we have the luxury of looking back and seeing that the Christian faith is rooted in a fait accompli. This thing was predicted. This thing happened. On a night, a little over 2000 years ago, a real man, with a real and really pregnant wife wended their way to a small village called Bethlehem. Within a short period of time, a real baby was born – Emmanuel, God with us, just as Isaiah had prophesied: 

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Emmanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

In this infant, all of the scattered prophecies converge at the moment the Creator of all things draws his first breath in human flesh.  He is here! Rejoice!

I offer my prayers on your behalf for a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year!

Much Love,


© Patrick Crossing 2015