Advent: December 24, 2022

Micah 5:2 (ESV) But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Micah 5:4-5 (ESV) And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. 5 And he shall be their peace.

Matthew 2:6 (ESV) And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Without question, the writers of the gospels intend to show from the Old Testament that they believed Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures that promised God’s Messiah. It is also clear they believe Jesus, to be the promised Messiah. 

The number of times the prophets, poets, kings, and wise men prophesied about the one who would crush the head of the serpent is almost without count. From allusions to geographical and political and historical references, they cover just about every genre and foretelling you can imagine. To cover them all would be an entire book by itself. 

What we can never do is dismiss that there was something that happened that caused the gospel writers to look back and say, “he is the promised one!”. What event was that? Jesus’ resurrection and conquering of death confirmed his teaching and preaching from the Old Testament that he is the ONE. Now, these folks really believed. 

These writers are not just manipulating the texts either. Jesus, after his resurrection in Luke 24, taught them how to read and understand his inspired word:

Luke 24:44-47 (ESV) 4 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Peter Stoner, in his work “Science Speaks”, has “calculated the chance of any man fulfilling these prophecies, even down to the present time, to be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (10 to the 17th power). How can anyone think that Jesus just “happened” to be in the right place at the right time? Clearly, we can’t consider coincidence.” – Peter Stoner

There is simply no way coincidence plays a role here. What we have is a bonafide Christmas miracle. 

God so wove history and time and circumstance together that the location would be Bethlehem, and from there the promised serpent crusher would be born, not just jettisoned out of heaven, but born with no advantage to himself, he would become ruler of the people of God, the ruler whose identity is from ancient days because he’s the second person of the eternal Triune Creator God, he would shepherd his flock in God’s strength (because he is God), he would put on display the majesty of God, cause his people to dwell secure, and make God’s name great to the ends of the earth. 

No coincidence there. That is divine control over time and space to carry out a divine mission to crush the enemy and restore all things including a people who would be his by faith. 

Advent. Jesus has come, and he has given us reason and logic as we read his word as tools to spark confidence that he is the One that was promised. Because Jesus is the promised Messiah, we take comfort that all who have trusted him by faith are under his good shepherding hand.

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