“Jesus Christ. I would ask Him if He was virgin born. The answer to that question would define history for me.”
There is a famous little book entitled: ‘More Than a Carpenter.’ Perhaps you have read it. If you haven’t, you should! With millions sold, it has earned the distinction of ‘Best Seller’.
Jesus asked a group of religious people the most critical question of all times: “What do you think of Christ?” (Matthew 22:41-42) On another occasion Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do people say that I am?” After He heard their responses, He then personally asked them: “But who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:28-29)
There is a certain intrigue about His story. We say quite lightly that ‘something is very mysterious’ but His story is, in fact, a great thrilling mystery. It is such a mystery – so far beyond human comprehension that some people quickly dismiss it as fiction – a fable, probably a fabrication of some religious order.
Some are frightened to delve too deeply into the facts for fear they will be implicated. But people who are brave enough to do their homework and look at the facts are awed by the incredible details of the story. His story is of such historical significance and of such an order, a person would be foolish to ignore the details or dismiss it or deny it or denounce it without having done their homework.
It seemed to be just another night in and around Bethlehem – nothing new other than a surge in traffic and the posting of ‘No Vacancy’ signs everywhere. Very few seemed to be connecting the dots. Usually, it’s easier to do that retrospectively. The powerful Roman Empire ordered people in Israel to register in their ancestral town for census and taxation purposes. For most – it was nothing more than a great inconvenience of making an unwanted trip merely to comply with the edict of a controlling hostile Empire. But 750 years earlier the prophet Micah wrote these words:
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)
This night, yes, this very night, that prophecy would be fulfilled. Joseph and Mary – despite her very advanced stage of pregnancy, had no options. They had travelled several days from their obscure town-in-the-hills, Nazareth, to comply with the edict from the distant Emperor. They arrived in Bethlehem and ended up spending the night in something far less than Five Star accommodations – an ancient animal shelter. But this night the insignificant shelter would shelter True Significance.
The common shepherds on the hillsides would experience the uncommon. The greatest announcement the planet had ever heard down through the ages came directly to these few and probably poor men. Heaven’s messenger announced to them:
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David (viz., Bethlehem) there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:10-14)
Too numerous to mention are specific, unambiguous prophecies, just like Micah’s above, from the Old Testament, that were clearly fulfilled when Christ came to earth and lived here for 33 years. There are over 40 such ‘clear’ prophecies in the Old Testament, written centuries before His arrival. If one does their homework, the dots will be connected and they will quickly conclude that Jesus was much more than a carpenter.
Albert Einstein was asked: “How has Christianity influenced you?” His response was: “As a child, I received instruction both in the Bible and the Talmud. I am a Jew but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene (viz., Jesus).” Einstein was asked if he accepted the historical existence of Jesus. His response couldn’t have been clearer: “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such a life.” (Einstein, Walter Isaacson, p.386) According to Isaacson’s biography, it seems that Einstein accepted the historical figure of Jesus but sadly never bowed to Him as Saviour and Lord. It seems the longer his brilliant mind pondered the inexplicables in science the more inclined he became towards the Intelligent Design of the universe. His biographer wrote: “his beliefs seemed to arise from the sense of awe and transcendent order that he discovered through his scientific work.”
The Bible clearly tells us that Christ did not have His beginning in Bethlehem. He came into the world at Bethlehem. He stepped into time in human flesh. He came here for one purpose – He came to be the Saviour of the world. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1Timothy 1:15) He was born to die for our sins so He could become the way of salvation for helpless sinners to be brought to God and to receive eternal life.
If you have not read “More Than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell be sure to do so over the next few weeks. It’s a quick and easy read paperback that can be obtained from most mainstream secular and Christian bookstores and their websites for under $10.
More important than reading “More Than a Carpenter,” is reading the Word of God, the Bible. What do you think of Christ? Who do you say He is? Send me your one sentence answer. I will compile all the single sentence replies from readers and post them for all to see and enjoy. Send just one thoughtful sentence about what Christ means to you by clicking here.
From our home to yours, may you enjoy Christ in a special way this Christmas. Have a deeply meaningful and joyful Christmas with your loved ones.