Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for December 24

Here’s the Bible Studies for Life Sunday School lesson commentary for Dec. 24, written by Rony Kozman, Ph.D. Assistant professor of Biblical Studies, Samford University.

Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for December 24

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By Rony Kozman, Ph.D.
Assistant professor of Biblical Studies, Samford University


Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18–25

With the name Emmanuel, God promised to be with us. (Isa. 7:14)

The looming domination of the Assyrian empire is the stage of Isaiah 7. The northern kingdom of Israel feared the encroaching power of Assyria, so Israel allied with its neighbor Aram. Together they threatened the southern kingdom of Judah and its king with war since Judah would not join their coalition (vv. 1–3).

Israel and Aram wanted to replace King Ahaz with a king who would join them. King Ahaz and his people were afraid, so God sent Isaiah to Ahaz. Isaiah came with a message from God, that Ahaz should trust God and not be afraid of the plot against him because it wouldn’t be successful.

God wants to help increase Ahaz’s trust, but Ahaz refuses to ask God for a sign on seemingly pious grounds, saying he won’t put God to the test. Despite Moses’ warning to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:16, in his case, Ahaz’s refusal to test God is a failure to do what God has asked him to do.

Since Ahaz will not ask for a sign, God will give it. And this sign will be that of a young woman who will “have a son and name him Emmanuel.” The child’s name is significant.

It means “God with us,” and for Ahaz and Judah, it means that God will protect them from the threat of Israel and Aram.

The two threatening kingdoms of Israel and Aram will go on to be destroyed by Assyria, and their threat to Judah will be thwarted.

Jesus is the One who saves us. (Matt. 1:18–21)

In Matthew 1, we read about the birth of Jesus. Mary was pregnant before she and Joseph had lived together, so Joseph planned to quietly divorce her.

An angel tells him that this Child is from the Holy Spirit and that this Child who they are to name Jesus will save His people from their sins. Matthew immediately cites Isaiah 7:14, revealing that the way God is with us is through Jesus saving His people from their sins.

Jesus is the One who is with us. (22–25)

For Matthew, the sign that God gives to Ahaz is not simply fulfilled in Ahaz’s time, but it reaches its fullness in Jesus’ birth. And unlike Ahaz, who does not comply with the request for a sign, Joseph “did as the Lord’s angel had commanded him.”

We ought to be like Joseph rather than Ahaz and respond to the sign of Emmanuel’s birth with faith.

Matthew’s Gospel ends with Jesus commissioning the disciples to “make disciples of all nations” (28:19). As the disciples engage in this mission of making the nations subject to the Son of David who has “all authority” (v. 18), Jesus gives them the promise of Emmanuel: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 20).

In Jesus, God’s presence is with us by forgiving our sins and by strengthening and comforting us in our mission of making disciples who respond positively to the sign of Emmanuel.