Prophecies

The New Testament builds upon and expands the Old Testament. The writers of the New Testament were steeped in the Scriptural world of Judaism. One way many of the New Testament writers emphasize this connection to the writings of Judaism is by pointing to prophecies or other verses from the Old Testament that, according to the writers of the New Testament, were fulfilled in events the New Testament writers were recording.

Isaiah's Prophecy

One of the prophecies woven into Matthew's Gospel was taken from the Old Testament book of Isaiah (7:14). Matthew embedded this prophecy into his account of the birth of Christ (Matthew 1:18–24), which differs significantly from the account offered by Luke (Luke 1–2). Matthew's account offers the bare-bones of the birth, skipping the central story of the angel's visitation to Mary and emphasizing the way that the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream just as he was considering leaving Mary.

According to Matthew's account, the angel's words echoed the Old Testament prophecy from Isaiah when the angel said, “Now all this took place to fulfill the words of the prophet when he said, ‘The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call his name Emmanuel, which means “God is with us,'” (Matthew 1:18–24).

This connection with the Old Testament prophecy helped to demonstrate that both Christ and the Virgin Mary were part of a divinely orchestrated plan, which was intimately connected to the Old Testament.

Jesus in the Temple

Another prophetic event in the Gospels is related to something that happened shortly after Jesus' birth. In this case, it is not an Old Testament prophecy but a prophecy that was first mentioned in Luke's Gospel that had implications for Mary's life and for later generations to come.

This prophetic event occurred when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple as an infant. Simeon was there and he said to Mary, “You see this child. He is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected — and a sword will pierce your own soul, too — so the secret thoughts of many will be laid bare” (Luke 2:33–35).

symbolism

In later Roman Catholic piety, images of Mary with her heart exposed became popular. These images offered a way of understanding the love she experienced for Christ and the suffering she endured for his sake. Many of these images show her heart pierced by a sword, based on the image from Luke's Gospel.

This passage from Luke's Gospel has many theological implications, which will be felt personally by Mary. Mary will suffer because of her love for her son. Just as Jesus experienced rejection and death, Mary will feel this pain acutely, as only a mother could.

  1. Home
  2. The Virgin Mary
  3. Gospel Glimpses
  4. Prophecies
Visit other About.com sites: