Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The Christmas Story Foretold
My favourite prophecy foretold of Jesus in the Old Testament is that Jesus would come out of Bethlehem. Thanks to Tammy’s Christmas e-card to me yesterday, I finally found the verse in
Micah 5:2. It is written:
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times."
It’s my favourite because it shows that it wasn’t just a one-time event that Jesus came, did what He did and everyone just believed in this man Jesus.
But it was foretold long ago in the old testament of His coming, how He was coming, what He was going to do and what He will do and most importantly it shows God’s action throughout our history. That’s why Christianity is not a religion. It is God in action in history for us to accept Him for who He is and to have a relationship with Him. There is no legalism, there is no “dos” and “don’ts”. Real Christians aren’t pious, doing good acts but just loving Jesus and out of it comes action out of love for Jesus that compels us.
In Jesus’ days and before that, many claim to be the Messiah. There were many Jesus as I discovered in Discovery channel. I find Discovery channel rather disturbing – it’s facts and hearsays (deceit) all rolled into one and I really believe without the holy spirit, one can actually fall away from the living God. Still, it is a free will, free choice – your choice whether to experience God’s goodness or continue the life you are living – being the captain of your own ship.
There are many stories of many “gods” in this world but none so accurate right down to his birth place (a real location) and how he would be born (a real detailed description of his birth) as shown in Isaiah 7:14:
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
It was foretold He is to come from the Davidic line…In Jeremiah 23:5, it is written:
5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
And true enough, He was from the branch of David as recorded in Matthew 1:1-16. His earthly father Joseph was from the Davidic line. But the seed planted by the Holy Spirit into Mary is from God.
It was foretold that he will be called Mighty God in Isaiah 9:6…
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
It was foretold how He would die and be rejected Isaiah 53:5,6…
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
For anyone to claim He is the Messiah, He has to fulfill all these criterias and many more not mentioned here! Jesus could not have faked it. Some things were not in a man’s control. His parents weren’t even from Bethlehem. They traveled to Bethlehem because Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world at that time and Mary was near to giving birth! And ultimately, Jesus was born in Bethlehem because of that!
Jesus was a man recognized in history so at least no one could say He did not exist!
The shepherds nearby bore witness to Jesus’ birth after they heard the announcement by an angel. The angel gave the shepherds a sign too of Jesus’ birth as is written in Luke 2:10
10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
If not for the angel’s announcement, there would be no witnesses to His birth other than his parents and some animals. But the shepherds came and much later, the three wise men came too to worship the new born King.
Could Jesus have manipulated his lineage or the prophecies or his own birth? Could he have controlled how he would die right down to the symbolism of hyssop, having no sin, and not having his bones broken? Yes, if He is God and he came (not to manipulate to fulfill the prophecy and fulfill Father God's will).
Because it was God’s plan to punish His beloved son for OUR sins, for our guilt and for Jesus to bear our shame, our sorrows, our pain, our diseases. So that by His punishment, we can be sin-conscious NO MORE, we can be FREE from condemnation, so that we can have love, joy and peace in our hearts, so that we can be healthy and lack in nothing.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus wasn’t just with us when He was born to 33 years of age. Believe it or not, He was with us from the beginning of time because He is God.
In John 1:1,2,14
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
So to all who choose to believe..this is what the bible says:
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
As children of God, we stand to receive all that God has given to Jesus, because we are his co-heir.
Romans 8:17 - Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
It is a divine exchange. Does it make sense that Jesus fulfilled all that prophecy so that we can just say He is a good teacher while He claimed to be God? No, He is either God or a mad man.
But man, was it really so much fluke He fulfilled all that prophecy?!
Here's a Christmas Story told on youtube:
...and the names of Jesus...