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From the beginning, God had a plan to save us from our sins. He promised a Savior who would be born of a virgin. The Savior would be descended from the line of Abraham and King David. Many years passed. Then an angel appeared to Mary and told her that her baby, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, would be the long-awaited Savior. Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise.
This devotional series from Answers Bible Curriculum is a great classroom activity. If you are not in a class, find a few friends or family members to read through the lessons and play the musical review game with you.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10–11
Because there is often so much going on at Christmastime, it’s good to slow down and focus on what we are really celebrating. We want to prepare our hearts for Christmas, not by wondering what kind of gift we might get but by focusing on the gift Jesus has already given to the world.
Today, let’s focus on the hope that Jesus brings to us, not just at Christmas but all year round!
What is hope? Many people think hope is wishing for something, but knowing they might not actually get it. For example, you may hope you get a super expensive “wow!” gift this Christmas, or you may hope that we’ll have a white Christmas with lots of snow. But you know those things may or may not happen.
Hope in the Bible is not just wishful thinking. It means to expect something with confidence or trust. God wants us to have this kind of hope. He gave many promises in the Bible so we can wait with confidence, trusting and expecting God to fulfill them.
Hope: to expect something with confidence
Today we have the whole Bible, so we can look back at history and see how God has already faithfully brought about many of the promises given in the Old Testament. Because God can’t lie and he is in control, we can be confident that what he says in his Word will happen. Today we’ll be looking at some of the promises God made about sending Jesus to earth to be our Savior.
Let’s start with when God first gave the promise of the Savior. God first promised a Savior in the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, right after Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command in the Garden of Eden. The consequences of their disobedience included sin and death entering into God’s once-perfect creation. All people would now be born with sin and separated from God!
But God didn’t leave Adam and Eve without hope. God said that the offspring of Eve would “bruise the head” of Satan. Offspring is another word for descendants, or children that will be born in the future. “Bruise the head” is another way of saying that the Savior would defeat Satan. He would save us from sin and separation from God.
About 2,000 years later, God made some amazing promises to a man named Abraham. One of those promises was that a descendant of Abraham would one day bless all families of the earth—that means ALL people.
Jesus is the Savior who conquered death when he rose again—death couldn’t win. Jesus’ death and resurrection provided a way for all of us to be forgiven of our sins and have hope of eternal life with God. That’s a pretty great blessing to offer the whole world!
Abraham later had a son, and his son grew up and got married and had sons. God continued to bless the family of Abraham until his descendants grew into the great nation of people called Israel. One of those descendants, named David, was chosen by God to become a king of Israel
Look at 2 Samuel 7:12–13 to see what God promised David about the coming Savior.
God promised David that the Savior would come from his family, and he would have a kingdom that would never end.
From reading the true history in the Old Testament, we learn that God had promised a Savior way back in Genesis. Then he told Abraham and David that the Savior would come from their descendants.
So now we know which family Jesus would be born into. But what would the Savior be like? God told his prophets many things about the Savior.
Prophets were men God chose to deliver his messages to the people, and they often wrote down what God told them. Sometimes the messages told of something that would happen later, in the future. This is called a prophecy.
One of the prophets God spoke to was Zechariah. Read Zechariah 9:9. This verse was written to the Israelites, Abraham’s descendants, which is what “daughter of Zion” and “daughter of Jerusalem” mean.
This promised king would be different from other kings. He would be righteous, humble, and most importantly, he would bring salvation. Many Israelites in Jesus’ time thought this meant that he would save them by fighting to defeat their enemies. But because we have the whole Bible, we know that the salvation he promised was from our sins!
Isaiah was another Old Testament prophet. Let’s look at a prophecy God gave to him. Read Isaiah 7:14.
Immanuel means “God with us,” so this promise meant that the son born of a virgin would be the Son of God!
Now we’re going to look at some New Testament verses to see how God fulfilled these promises in the Old Testament. Only God could make all these things happen. Think about it: babies have no control over which families they are born into, right? But God is in complete control of everything. He arranged for Jesus to come from the families he promised.
Who would God choose to be the earthly parents of his Son, Jesus? Read Luke 1:26–33.
Mary was betrothed, which means promised, to Joseph. But she wasn’t married yet, so she was a virgin. Jesus would be born by the power of the Holy Spirit. He would be the Son of God, Immanuel—God with us. He would not have a human father like all of us. His birth would be a miracle, a special sign that he was the promised Savior.
Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecies and promises of a Savior in the Old Testament. We just looked at a few of them, but there are many more! Jesus came for a special purpose—to save us from our sins. He is the Savior God promised to send from the beginning.
Today we looked at the hope God gave when he promised a Savior. He told Adam and Eve that a future descendant would defeat Satan, which Jesus did when he died on the cross and rose again. God told Abraham that all families of the earth would be blessed through him. Then he told David that his descendant would establish a kingdom that will last forever.
Then we read some prophecies about Jesus coming as a humble king, bringing salvation. We learned he would be born of a virgin and he would be Immanuel—God with us. Jesus was the Son of God! His birth would be miraculous! God chose Mary and Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly parents. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would have a special son, the Savior! Her son would fulfill the promises of God to Abraham, David, and the whole world!
We can be full of hope as we get ready for Christmas because God sent Jesus to take care of our biggest problem—sin and separation from God.
But does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean that everyone will go to heaven when they die? Sadly, not everyone will go to heaven. What Jesus did for us—dying to take our punishment—is a gift that he offers to every person. What do we have to do to receive this wonderful gift?
Jesus said that those who are truly sorry for their sins and believe in him and the truth of his death, burial, and resurrection will have eternal life. We must understand that our sin is terrible in the eyes of our holy, perfect God. We deserve punishment for the ways we have broken God’s commands. But because of God’s great mercy and love, we can be forgiven—we just have to ask!
You can talk to God anytime of the day or night and tell him you are sorry for your sin. Thank him for Jesus and what he did for you, and trust that only Jesus can save you. God will forgive you and make you a part of his family! You’ll be a child of God and have the confident hope of sharing in the eternal kingdom where Jesus will be King forever!
For a fun review of this lesson, play The Hope of Christmas—Musical Questions Review Game.