Summary: Over the past few weeks we have looked at pictures of Jesus in the Pentateuch, the Historical books, and the Writings. Today we look at how Jesus is presented in the Prophetical books.
Intro.: Take out a pen or pencil.
1.Not long ago, a professor of psychology in one of our great universities gave a word suggestion test to his class of 40 students. He instructed them to write the word “Christmas,” and all the class did so. “Now,” said the professor, “right after the word ‘Christmas’ write the first thought that flashes through your mind regarding that day.” When the papers were turned in, such answers were given as “tree,” “holly,” “mistletoe,” “presents,” “turkey,” “holiday,” “carols,” and “Santa Claus,” but not one had written, “the birthday of Jesus.” As there was no room for the baby Jesus in the inn, there is no room for Him today in the celebration of Christmas. (i)
2.During the next few minutes we want to look at how the prophets described the coming Messiah.
Trans: Too often we think of a prophet as being someone who tells the future.
1.But scripture presents a different picture of a prophet.
2.Rather than being a "foreteller", the scriptural prophet is a "forthteller".
3.Though much of our time this Advent has been spent looking at how the scripture, and today the prophets, looked ahead to the coming Messiah.
4.But, we have only done this because we are in Advent – the vast majority of the Old Testament has the prophets delivering God’s word – and that dealt with the hearers present.
5.Don’t read the prophets so much for details about the future, but to prepared for living the life of a believer.
T.S. During the next few minutes I want to look at four facts that the prophets give about the coming Messiah.
I. The prophets tell us the place of Christ’s birth.
A. I have three sons – but at this point I have no grand kids. I have no idea when they will come, but I suspect they will.
B. But if any of you know when and where my first grandson will be born, I would really like to know. I mean, I could plan ahead. None of this six or seven months warning. I could even buy my plane tickets so Sandra and I could be there to hold our son and daughter-in-law’s hand as they waited for that momentous event.
C. But none of you can help me – can you? I mean none of you can even give me a two or three year notice so I can plan. I wife would say it is time for crocodile tears.
D. It would really be amazing to get that information in advance.
E. And it was amazing when 700 years before Christ was born, Micah told the world that he would be born in Bethlehem:
“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.”
Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time
when she who is in labor
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.
He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely,
for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.
And he will be their peace. (Micah 5:2-5a NIV)
F. I doubt that Mary and Joseph had put it all together, but sitting here in the 20th century, it is amazing.
G. And Micah was able to speak the truth because he was a forthteller – he was willing to speak God’s words to broken people.
II. The prophets tell us the means of Christ’s birth
A. I suspect that if someone were to say that a baby would be born in Bethlehem, we would not be surprised. There were probably lots of babies born in Bethlehem.
B. But Isaiah says something even more amazing – he tells us that the messiah will be born of a virgin:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, andd will call him Immanuel - that is God with us. (Isaiah 7:22 NIV)
C. I sometimes put God into a box – I expect him to work like I would. I mean, I expect him to work by the same rules that I do.
D. But that is exactly what those who do not believe in miracles think. Miracles are not possible when we limit God to our rules – but God is god. That is what a miracle is – God working outside the rules.
(Ill.) Someone has noted, ’Miracles happen today. They are history-making, earth-shaking events, which change whole courses of history and the fates of nations. Arnold Toynbee says that believing in miracles is a basic necessity of mankind: “The fundamental need of our world today is a rebirth of belief in the supernatural. If this rebirth is not forthcoming from the more progressive creators of our mechanical culture, it may come from the “backward” peoples like the natives of Africa and Asia, to those who have not yet become victims of the proud materialism of the Great Powers.”’ (ii)