By Gordon Lindsay
(from the book Is Jesus the Son of God?)
When Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee, His disciples looked at one another with amazement and said, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” (Matthew 8:27). Since that day people have still been asking that question, “What kind of man is this?” Regardless of what anyone may think of Christ, he must admit that the impact He made on the world is the greatest of any person who has ever lived.
Jesus came on the scene quietly and almost unannounced. The town He was brought up in, Nazareth, was regarded as most insignificant, a place scarcely mentioned by historians. The words spoken by Nathaniel when he first heard of Jesus, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” give some idea of what people thought of the village.
Jesus, in His lifetime, never acquired any property of His own. He was born in a manger borrowed from animals; He preached from a borrowed boat; He slept in a borrowed bed; He rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed beast; He served the Passover in a borrowed room; He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Only the cross was His own.
Despite the indifference of His contemporaries, the message that Jesus brought the world made an impact on the human race as nothing else has ever done – before or since.
His Birth Splits Time Into Before And After Him
Of all the persons who have been born in this world, Christ is the only one who made a sufficient impression upon mankind to have all events dated from His birth. Not only the followers of Christ, but the infidel, the skeptic, the agnostic, the indifferent, the rich man, the poor man, the beggar, the thief, the king, the pauper, the princes of earth, the great statesmen all have one thing in common – they take note of the date of Christ’s birth every time they write look at a calendar. When the historian says that the American Declaration of Independence was signed July 4, 1776, he means that so many days, months, and years have elapsed since the era of Christ!
The Place Of His Birth Was Foretold
The only person in the world to have the city where He was to be born identified centuries before the event took place was Jesus Christ. Micah, the prophet writing 500 years before His birth, tells of One “whose origin is from antiquity, from eternity.” This is clearly a reference to Christ who, as the Son of God, had existence previous to His earthly birth. He was the God-man who was to be born in Bethlehem. “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity” (Micah 5:2).
Only a few weeks before His birth, Jesus’ mother, Mary, was in the city of Nazareth. She had no plans to travel the many miles south to Bethlehem. However, the Emperor Augustus made a decree that the entire world should be taxed. Mary, to obey the law, was forced even in the advanced stages of pregnancy to make the long trip south with her espoused husband, Joseph, in order to register in the city of their lineage. Yes, the child Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem where the prophet Micah, five centuries earlier, said He would be born!
He Was to Be Born Of A Virgin
Some eight centuries before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah predicted that a virgin should be with child, and His name would be Immanuel (meaning God with us). “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). And that is exactly what took place.
The angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and told her that she would be with child by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38). Joseph became aware of her condition, and at first, sadly thought to put her away. But the angel appeared in a dream to him saying, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20).
His Birth Was Prophesied Nearly 500 Years Before He Was Born
The most amazing fact about Christ’s birth was that prophecy predicted the very time He was to be born! From the “going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem” there should be “69 weeks.” The full text in Daniel says, “Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus 62 sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times. After this period of 62 sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end” (Daniel 9:25-26).
A “week” of years being seven years, 69 weeks would be 483 years. So the prophet Daniel is saying, 483 years after the commandment went forth to rebuild Jerusalem, the Messiah would appear. Could anything be plainer? When did the 483 years run out? Did the Messiah appear about five centuries later? Well, the only Messiah the world knows anything about did appear at that time – and that was Jesus Christ! Although the secular calendar may be a little uncertain so that it does not exactly determine the date, it definitely indicates the years as running out at the era of Christ!
Christ’s Death As The Messiah Was Predicted 900 Years Before His Birth
There is another very remarkable thing about the prophecy of Daniel chapter nine. The children of Israel supposed that when the Messiah came He would set up His kingdom on earth. Even the apostles assumed that He would at once sit on His throne (Acts 1:6-7). But the prophecy says instead that the Messiah was to be killed (Dan. 9:26). So rather than setting up a visible kingdom at His first coming, prophecy declared that He was going to die!
Even the kind of death of the Messiah was foretold – His hands and feet were to be pierced – that is by crucifixion. This is what the psalmist David said 900 years before it happened: “Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16). Only the one that created this world could make these prophecies come to pass in this fashion.
He Proved He Was Christ By His Power Over Death
Many great men have lived and made their mark in the world; but they all died, and their bones still lie in their graves. Go to Les Invalides in Paris, and you may gaze at the sealed tomb of Napoleon. His body is still there. In Westminster Abbey in London, you can see the mausoleum that holds the bodies of many of Britain’s greatest statesmen and kings. Mount Vernon is the last resting place of George Washington, revered as “father of his country.” His body still lies sleeping in the tomb. Only in one place in the world is there an empty tomb: in Jerusalem, at the foot of Calvary where they laid the Lord Jesus. It was there, three days later, that the angel said, “He is not here; He is risen.”
Jesus said that one sign should be given to that generation: “the sign of Jonah the prophet” (Matthew 16:4). “For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40).
It was this sign that gave faith and inspiration to the Early Church. Jesus had solved for all time the age-old problem of death. It was upon this incontestable victory over death that the apostles, with great power, gave “witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33).
Christ Was the Only Sinless Man
Beyond the impact of His miracles, Christ impressed men with His sinlessness. It is an amazing thing, for ours is a fallen race. As Paul says, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me” (Romans 7:19-21). All of us are subject to sin. Therefore, to find a man who is perfect and without sin is to find one whose root is not in the human race.
Christ Knew The Sinner’s Thoughts But Still Forgave Him
“But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person” (John 2:24-25). Sinners loved to be near Christ, not because they felt at ease in their sins, for indeed His presence made them painfully aware of their sinfulness, but somehow in Him they saw a cure for their malady.
The woman at the well felt her soul laid bare by the few words of Jesus when He said, “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true” (John 4:18). She saw hope and forgiveness in the very person had called attention to her sinful past. Her testimony to her neighbors carried such conviction that they also came and believed “that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
Christ Gives A Personal Experience Today
Some may argue against Christianity, but they cannot argue against the experience Christ gives. Christ is able to do what no other religion can – live and dwell within the human heart; and so it has been that through the ages, millions have accepted Christ and found in Him their all in all. Again and again the apostle Paul referred to his own experience when he met Christ on the Damascus Road. He told and retold the story wherever he went. The Christian’s personal experience with Christ is the greatest proof of His reality.
He truly fulfills in our lives the words of the prophet Isaiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulder. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe