Jesus’ Birth: Against All Odds

Jesus’ Birth: Against All Odds

      1. When we talk about the chances or odds of something, we are speaking of the likelihood of the unfolding of a future event
        1. Some things are less likely to happen than others
          1. Plane crash
          2. Shark attack
        2. Some things are more likely to happen
          1. Being a victim of a serious crime
          2. Dying in a car accident
          3. Being audited by the IRS
      2. The God factor
        1. When you bring God into a situation, there is no such thing as chance
        2. A virgin birth was against all odds, but with God, nothing is impossible (see Luke 1:26-38)
        3. Many situations in Scripture were against all odds
          1. Lightning from heaven (see 1 Kings 18:36-38)
          2. Hailstones from the sky (see Exodus 9:18-26)
          3. Darkness that covered the land for three hours (see Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44)
      3. God predicted over and over again that He would defy the odds
        1. Layers and layers of details
        2. Odds are exponentially decreased
        3. He can tell the future with detailed accuracy (see Isaiah 41:21-23)
        4. Jesus said fulfilled prophecy will bolster your faith (see John 13:19)
      4. Three basic credentials of Jesus Christ
        1. His impact on history
        2. His physical, bodily resurrection from the dead
        3. Fulfilled prophecy
    1. A Sorrowful Walk (vv. 13-24)
      1. The disciples were at a low point
        1. They did not know Jesus had been resurrected
        2. They were venting
      2. Their expectations
        1. They expected a conquering Messiah; they got a crucified Man
        2. They expected a politician; they got a Prophet
        3. They expected the glorious Lion of Judah; they got the humble Lamb of God
        4. They did not recognize Jesus
          1. They were not expecting Him
          2. Many people did not recognize Him
            1. Mary (see John 20:15)
            2. His disciples (see Matthew 14:25-26; Mark 6:49)
          3. Their eyes were restrained
            1. They were kept from recognizing Jesus
            2. They could express honestly their thoughts and feelings about Him
      3. Their disappointment
        1. They talked about Jesus in the past tense
        2. When Jesus died on the cross, their hopes died with Him
      4. Jesus revealed Himself to them not through their sight, but through their ears as they listened to Him talk about Scripture (see Romans 10:17)
    2. A Scriptural Talk (vv. 25-27)
      1. Jesus rebuked them, then informed them
        1. “Slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken” (v. 25)
          1. Some people are slow of heart to believe the things of the Scripture
          2. If you are slow to believe God’s promises, you will be slow to receive His benefits
        2. The first Bible study Jesus gave after His resurrection was an exposition on biblical prophecy
      2. The prophets foretold
        1. Jesus started at Moses and expounded on all Scriptures about Himself
          1. He would crush Satan (see Genesis 3:15)
          2. He, God’s only Son, would be sacrificed, just as Abraham almost sacrificed his only son whom he loved (see Genesis 22:2-18)
            1. First time love is mentioned in Scripture: love of a father sacrificing his son
            2. Same mountain Jesus would be sacrificed on
          3. He would be the perfect Lamb sacrifice (see Exodus 12:1-27)
          4. Practices in Leviticus
            1. Sacrifices
            2. Tabernacles
            3. Festivals
          5. He would be lifted up (see Numbers 21:8-9; John 3:14)
          6. He would die by crucifixion (see Psalm 2; 16; 22)
          7. He would be born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14-16)
          8. He would be a Child (see Isaiah 9:6-7)
        2. One-fourth of the Bible is prophecy
      3. Jesus fulfilled
        1. Anyone can make predictions; getting them fulfilled is another story
        2. The more detailed the prophecy, the less probable it will come to pass
        3. There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus
        4. Just sixteen of those prophecies:
          1. Born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14)
          2. Born in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2)
          3. From the tribe of Judah (see Genesis 49:10)
          4. Begin ministry in Galilee (see Isaiah 9:1-2)
          5. Work miracles (see Isaiah 35:5-6)
          6. Enter Jerusalem on a donkey (see Zechariah 9:9)
          7. Betrayed by a friend (see Psalm 41:39)
          8. Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (see Zechariah 11:12)
          9. Wounded and bruised (see Isaiah 53:5)
          10. Hands and feet pierced (see Psalm 22:16)
          11. Crucified (see Isaiah 53:12)
          12. Garments torn (Psalm 22:18)
          13. Bones not broken (see Psalm 22:17; 34:20)
          14. Side pierced (see Zechariah 12:10)
          15. Buried in a rich man’s tomb (see Isaiah 53:9)
          16. Would rise from the dead (see Psalm 16:8-11)
        5. Some of these are impossible to manage
          1. In his book Science Speaks, Peter Stoner calculated the probability of one man fulfilling the messianic prophecies
            1. Eight fulfilled prophecies: one in 1017
            2. Sixteen fulfilled prophecies: one in 1045
            3. Forty-eight fulfilled prophecies: one in 10157
          2. There is no way to explain the Bible’s ability to predict the future unless you see God as the author
        6. We should not be amazed at these fulfilled prophecies, because God is omniscient—all-knowing (see John 5:39)
        7. When the prophets wrote these things, they didn’t always know what they were writing (see 1 Peter 1:10-11)
    3. A Satisfied Flock (vv. 28-35)
      1. Opened eyes
        1. When they arrived at their destination, Jesus acted like He was going to keep going, but the disciples begged Him to stay
        2. Jesus will never force Himself on anyone
        3. He works by invitation only (see Revelation 3:20)
      2. Burning hearts
        1. Their hearts burned when they stopped talking and started listening to what He was saying to them
        2. A new understanding of old things
        3. Jesus didn’t tell them anything they didn’t know
        4. We do not need a new revelation; we need a new application of the old revelation
    4. Closing
      1. A God who is this detailed and accurate deserves our trust
      2. He can handle our problems and issues

Works referencedDumb and DumberScience Speaks

Figures referenced: Jeane Dixon, Peter Stoner

Cross references: Genesis 3:15; 22:2-18; 49:10; Exodus 9:18-26; 12:1-27; Numbers 21:8-9; 1 Kings 18:36-38; Psalm 2; 16; 22; 34:20; 41:39; Isaiah 7:14-16; 9:1-2, 6-7; 35:5-6; 41:21-23; 53:5, 9, 12; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9; 11:12; 12:10; Matthew 14:25-26; 27:45; Mark 6:49; 15:33; Luke 1:26-38; 23:44; John 3:14; 5:39; 13:19; 20:15; Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:10-11; Revelation 3:20

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