Summary: Eight sermons that deal with eight unique characteristics of Jesus. Got the idea from Joe Causey.
“Eight Unique Characteristics of Jesus Christ”
In his book The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey recounts an episode of the TV show Thirtysomething in which Hope, a Christian, argues with her husband Michael, a Jew, about the holidays. "Why do you even bother with Hanukkah?" she asks. "Do you really believe a handful of Jews held off a huge army by using a bunch of lamps that miraculously wouldn’t run out of oil?" Michael explodes, "Oh, and Christmas makes more sense? Do you really believe an angel appeared to some teenage girl who then got pregnant without ever having had sex and traveled on horseback to Bethlehem where she spent the night in a barn and had a baby who turned out to be the Savior of the world?"
Even an unbeliever can see that Jesus Christ was unique. In fact, a simple reading of His life in the Gospels quickly confirms His uniqueness. So for the next 8 weeks we are going to be looking at 8 unique characteristics of Jesus Christ. The first unique characteristic to catch our attention is His birth and when I think of His birth one word pops to mind and that word is “miracle.”
Now the word “miracle” is thrown around a lot these days. There was a movie named “Miracle” about the 1980 gold medal U.S. Hockey team, and there was a movie released last year entitled, “The Miracle at St. Anna.” You’ve probably seen the classic Christmas movie entitled, “Miracle on 34th Street.” “It’s a Miracle” was a hit song by Barry Manilow, as well as the name of a popular television show. There’s a Children’s Miracle Network, you can put Miracle Whip on your sandwich, Miracle-Gro on your plants, and if you’re hard of hearing, there’s a Miracle Ear for you.
The word miracle seems to be commonplace today. But as we study this miracle of the virgin birth this morning, we need to have an understanding of what a miracle really is. The classic definition of a miracle is: “A miracle is an interruption of the laws of nature which can only be explained by divine intervention.” I believe it’s safe to say that the birth of Jesus interrupted the laws of nature. His birth can only be explained by a divine intervention, being God. The miracle of the virgin birth truly is a display of God’s power. Let’s read Matthew 1:17-24. This morning as we look at the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, we are going to see that there are actually three miracles in this text and in each one we learn something that can change our lives.
1. The miracle of Jesus’ genealogy assures us that God is in control
The most important thing about this genealogy is found in verse 17, “Thus were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.” What is the significance of this list? Let’s look at it from three perspectives. First, what is the meaning of fourteen generations? We need to remember Matthew was a math geek. He was a former tax collector who was accustomed to writing down names and adding and multiplying numbers. He recognized fourteen is the product of two important numbers in Jewish thought, seven and two. Jewish gematria is the use of numbers to communicate a deeper truth than simply counting. Seven is the number of perfection and two is the number for a witness. In other words, in those days a testimony had to be established in the mouth of two or more witnesses. Matthew was pointing out that this genealogy was a perfect testimony that Jesus really was the Messiah.
Three is the divine number, so these three sets of generations represent a thumbnail of the divine history of Israel. The first fourteen generations represents the age of the Patriarchs, the second set represents the age of the Kings, and the third represents the period of time after the Babylonian exile. But we can look at this genealogy from another perspective. Why is it that Matthew chose to use the genealogy of Joseph, who wasn’t really the father of Jesus? But why this list? Even though Joseph wasn’t the biological father of Jesus, he became the legal father of Jesus by adoption and all legal rights ran through the father, not the mother. This is a legal registry, which was very important to the Jewish people. This legal genealogy connected Jesus to two of the greatest characters in the Old Testament. You see the Messiah was to be of the seed of Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, and of David, the founder of its royal line. Here, Matthew presents evidence that proves Jesus to be the legal descendant of these two illustrious men. Lacking such proof, the Jews would declare His claim to the Messiahship invalid and instantly dismiss other evidence without examination.