Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sermon--12/3/06--Hope Found in Prophecy

The format of the blog has changed a bit, so this one may look a little different. I hope to work out the kinks later.

How do you find one person out of a world population of over 6 Billion? If that’s too daunting of a task, think of one person in about 275 million. That is the unfortunate task of the United States Post Office.

Have you ever considered how amazing our mail system is? All you need is a name, a city, a street, and a few numbers and you can pick out one person from over 6 Billion on the planet.

The Miraculous Birth of Jesus

There is tremendous prophecy fulfilled in Christ—a prophetic witness that gave the Jewish people a great sense of hope in the Messiah—hope being certainty and expectation, not wishful thinking--What are the odds that all that Old Testament prophecy could be fulfilled in one person? I don’t know how anyone could have come up with these numbers, so I don’t know how accurate they really are, but supposedly the odds of one person fulfilling just 8 prophetic OT passages as being equal to coving the state of TX 3 ft. deep of silver dollars, marking one and having one chance to find it.

Here’s a few factors of fulfillment that points to Jesus—and these are ones that there’s no way Jesus could have manipulated or controlled to help build His case.

Ø You Don’t Pick Your Parents—I realize some of wish you could, but you now realize that you had no say in who your parents are. In Genesis 9-10,

o God eliminated roughly 2/3 of the world’s population by saying the Messiah would be from Noah’s son, Shem and not Ham or Japheth.

o Then God singled out one of Abraham’s descendants but eliminated most others by saying Messiah would come from Isaac, but not Ishmael.

o Again, one of Isaac’s sons, Esau, is eliminated thus the Messiah is only going to be through Jacob.

o Then God eliminated 11/12ths of Jacob’s descendants by choosing the tribe of Judah.

o Of all the family lines in Judah, the line of Jesse was chosen.

o Of Jesse’s 8 sons, the Messiah was prophesied to come from the least likely, his youngest son, David.

o And if that is not enough, of all those descendants, you have to be from the one young woman in all of human history who is a virgin when she conceives and gives birth—today, that would be a 1 in 6 Bill. Chance, but since it’s only happened once, 1 chance in the entire world population throughout history—maybe 15 Billion or more

Ø You Don’t Pick Where You Were Born— What weight would you put to a Newspaper Editor writing in his column that the President of the United States in the year 2706 would be born in Pickles Gap, KY? Anyone want to give the odds of him being correct?

Micah 5:2—“
"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. "—700 BC the prophet Micah chose the nation of Israel over the rest of the world.
He chose the tribe of Judah, 1 of 12 territories in that nation, then he chose a small country town within that territory saying that the Messiah, Jesus, would be born there.

Ø You Don’t Pick Where You Go on Vacation— Imagine someone in the year 1306 AD sitting down writing about the future. And at some point they thought of you when your children were 2 years old. And they thought of where you would like to go on vacation this coming year—or where you would want to live for the winter. Will you stay here in Macomb or down in Florida? Visit DisneyWorld or Yellowstone? 700 years before Jesus was born, —Matt 2:13-15 applies Hosea 11:1—“out of Egypt I called my son.”—The family was on the run to escape the persecutions of Herod. They went down to Egypt, by command, but had no intention of staying there for very long. And as soon as Herod died and the threat was gone—God called them out of Egypt to return to Israel.

Ø You Don’t Pick Where You Grew Up—Nazareth—Matt. 2:23, Is. 53:3, Ps. 22:6, John 1:45-46—Nathaniel shared a common sentiment of his day for the derision leveled at Nazareth—he asked—“Can anything good come from there?” For Nazareth had come to mean someone despised and rejected Psalm 22 one of the most Messianic psalms says in vs. 6—that the Messiah will be “despised by the people”—Is. 53:3—agrees—“he was despised and rejected by men.”
Pick the most hated city in America or in Illinois and that’s where He’d be from today.

Ø You Don’t Pick Who Your Relatives Are—This is another one of those I’m sure many of you wish you could. They say that in a herd of white sheep a black sheep is very rare—how many of you have more than one in your family? Be honest—how many of you ARE the black sheep of your family?

o Another address in prophecy told that Jesus would be proceeded by a “forerunner” someone who would go before Him and announce His coming. That was fulfilled in John the Baptist—Isaiah 40:3—referred to the “voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord.”, Mal. 3:1—“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.”

o So God had someone in mind to proceed Jesus’ ministry—it was his cousin, John—also miraculously conceived to a woman long unable to have them. This was a guy that ran around in the desert with long hair and ate bugs—he was the quintessential Natural Man—no razor, no deodorant, long hair—today he would be on TV with his own Nature/Animal show—Backwoods with Bob

Ø You Don’t Pick What Happens Because of YouJeremiah 31:15—predicts that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by great sorrow and loss. That was fulfilled by Herod’s order to kill the children of Bethlehem 2 years and younger so he could be assured of his throne’s security.

Ø You Don’t Pick Your Name-Matt. 1:23, Isaiah 7:14—“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel”—But wait, you say—His name is Jesus, not Immanuel. You must remember, that names were not chosen just b/c they sound nice but b/c the person embodied the meaning of the name. Esau was red, Jacob was the Heel-Grabber, Abraham—Father of many nations, Eve—Mother of the Living. Immanuel means “God with Us” and Jesus embodied that—“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… and the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us”

Jesus is likewise important—Joseph was told that the baby’s name was to be Jesus because He will save his people from their sins. The Shepherds were told that today in Bethlehem a Savior has been born, “He is Christ, the Lord.” What would have been one of the first question the shepherds would have asked this couple about their baby? What’s the baby’s name? Jesus—The LORD Saves—His Name—describes what He will do and He would not have been possible if He were not Immanuel—God with Us.

There are many things about Christ’s entrance in this world that gives us hope. The fact that Jesus fulfilled these prophecies with such detail gives us confidence in God fulfilling the other promises He has made.

If Jesus was just an ordinary baby—there’s no way He could have fulfilled those prophesies. But He did—because He is who the Scripture says He is. And if God is willing to move nations and the whole world to fulfill these prophecies about Christ, if we can marvel at the miracle of His birth, knowing that it is real--then we have a tremendous hope for the future--that the same God will fulfill the promises He has made regarding the future, and our future place with Him in His kingdom.

By the way, Your physical birth may not be anything unique or special, but you very much need a miraculous birth of your own. We are all born physically, but spiritual birth is not an automatic--Nicodemus found that out in coming to Christ--Jesus told him, "you must be born again" a spiritual birth, not just a natural one--it comes by receiving the greatest Christmas present ever given--God's unique and only Son, Jesus who was sent to His people from their sins.

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