Yes… The opening ceremony of any grand event in this earthly realm alerts us to the imminent arrival of something important. Take the Olympics, for example. The opening ceremony that signals the imminent arrival of the exciting sporting action is always celebrated with pomp and gaiety, with special songs thrown into the mix, so as to say that the best is on its way!
Spiritually speaking, there would be no grander event in human history than the Almighty in His Spirit beginning to indwell us, subsequently preparing us to spend Eternity with Him (See 2 Cor. 1:22/Eph. 1:13-14). The prophecy to this effect (See Eze. 36:26-27) would be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (See Acts 2:37-38/Rom. 10:9-10). No wonder in anticipation of the same, the “opening ceremony” –Christmas — would trigger a “chain reaction” that required involvement of the Heavenly choir itself (nothing more, nothing less and nothing else – See Luke 2:8-18) on the first Christmas over 2000 years ago! In this Series, we intend to draw some paramount lessons from Christmas. Firstly…
As I hinted before, Christmas by itself would not make one a “Temple of God” (See 1 Cor. 3:16); but it would prompt a start to the process, virtually a chain reaction, towards the attainment of that ultimate privilege.
If the Christ child, aptly named the Saviour in Matt 1:21 had not been born on that first Christmas day, His atoning death involving shedding of the precious blood would not have been possible some 33 years later. And if not for His substitutionary sacrifice, the fact that the same had been accepted by God would not have been affirmed on the Resurrection Day three days later (See Rom 4:25). Finally, had it not been for all the preceding events that began with the first Christmas, all designed to cleanse us and make us fit to be Temples of God, that great privilege of repentant human beings becoming His “Sanctuary” on the Day of Pentecost would not have come to pass. In the Old Testament, where all Christ-related signs and prophecies converge on Him (“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Heb 1:1 ESV), we see the Lord’s presence came to indwell the Temple King Solomon had built only after: “King Solomon and the entire community of Israel sacrificed so many sheep, goats, and cattle that no one could keep count!” (1 Kings 8:5 NLT). In the New Testament all the signs and prophecies which would converge on Christ before His advent would now emerge with the proclamations of Him being the “Divine Lamb” beginning (in the earthly realm) with that of a Prophet such as Simeon (see Luke 2:25-38), and later on the Messianic forerunner…John the Baptist: “As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36 NLT).
Jesus could have accomplished everything as per the Heavenly Father’s plan (See 1 Peter 1:1-4) without even a single prophecy.
Now let’s address this question…Why the Bible abounds with not only Christmas prophecies (See Gen. 3:15, Isa. 7:14, Micah 5:2), which were fulfilled on that First Christmas day, but also prophecies relating to other milestone events in Jesus’ life such as His substitutionary death on the Cross (See Isaiah 52:13-15/53) until the grandest event of Him indwelling us in spirit (See Gal. 4:6)!
Whilst answering let me illustrate…some years ago during Christmas time, the womenfolk of our Church went to a reasonably distant Departmental store to buy gifts for the widows/orphans/Sunday school children of our Church. When, they came back it dawned on one sister in faith that she had forgotten her purse containing many valuables in the parking lot of a huge, busy commercial complex. Praying profusely, the entire “Purchase committee” rushed back to that hustling, bustling area — due to traffic, it took them a full hour — where a unguarded purse has as much chance of remaining unpicked as an ice-cube would have of not melting in a fiery furnace. Hallelujah, they found it safe and secure!
Now, Dear Friends if I were to share this account with an atheist or a rationalist and state that the Christian’s God is a prayer-answering One, then the atheist/rationalist may attribute the miraculous recovery of the purse to sheer “luck” rather than to the power of a prayer-answering God. Now consider this…if all the events, in proper sequential order, relating to that dramatic experience were documented in a Sacred Book, say 300 years earlier…would any rationalist still attribute it to mere luck or coincidence? No way. No wonder, it is said of prophecy that it is “history written in advance”…
At this stage, when we factor in the following 3 points, the significance of the Prophecies in being wonderful facilitators for Gospel preaching and subsequent soul-winning would emerge with no shades of grey:
- On Jesus’ one life hinged the salvation of the entirety of mankind, so it follows that our infinitely-wise Father would take no chances that anyone attribute this to a “coincidence” rather than Divine providence.
- The Gospel was first preached to the Jews with whom the Apostles shared these prophecies to substantiate their points (See Acts 2:22-36/13:16-39)
- Finally, it was preached to the Gentiles, with whom the Apostle Paul would also draw from their own historical “prophecies” to present the Gospel (See Acts 17:28)
Prayer: Father, we thank Thee for planning the Great Salvation for this World to its minutest detail. We glorify Thee in Jesus.Amen.