The Adventure Link
Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?
We have been spending the bulk of the month looking at the titles and names given to Jesus. This has formed our base as we have moved through a study of theology in order to discover some truths about Jesus revealed in His Word. Now that we have moved passed the titles the conclusion that we come to is a simple and expected one in our study. That conclusion is that Jesus is the Son of God, Messiah, Son of Man, Lord, etc....(fill in every title given to Him in Scripture)
There are a few other events in the life of Jesus that we want to look at briefly in our study. The first is His birth. The Bible tells us something that skeptics scoff at, the Bible reveals that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary.
The real issue is not could it happen but did it happen. It becomes then a question of history and drives us once again to the historical sources. Those sources must be accepted or rejected on the basis of their credibility, a credibility that for many gets clouded by their personal belief system. If you are a Christian you believe the Bible to be a credible source, if you are a skeptic you will not...and therefore as a skeptic you have allowed the most credible, best documented, and most researched book in all of human history to become a work of fiction. Of course to get to that point you will have had to have parked and disallowed credible and honest scholarship and compromised the integrity of personal research.
As I said above, your personal belief system will cloud your decision making. The purpose of this part of the study is examine the only historical portrait of Jesus we have. That portrait will come from the only source to research and that is the Bible.
Matthew begins with a sober and bold declaration, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way.” Matthew purports to tell us not only what happened but how it happened. He declares it happened in this way (Matthew 1:18).
Matthew focuses sharply on the extraordinary character of Jesus’ birth, capturing the agony of Joseph’s consternation. Joseph was a simple man, not privy to the sophisticated technology of our day. He knew nothing of in vitro fertilization and did not understand the simple rules of biology that are common knowledge to today’s tenth grade high school student. He lived in a prescientific age in a prescientific community. We must remember that virgin births were as rare in the first century as they are in the twentieth. Joseph did not have to be a skilled biologist to know that babies don’t come from the stork.
Joseph was vulnerable in this area. He had committed his life to Mary, trusting her purity in a society where adultery was scandalous. His betrothed came to him with a crushing revelation. “Joseph, I am pregnant.” Mary then proceeded to explain her condition by telling Joseph that she had been visited by an angel who declared that she would be with child by the Holy Ghost. Joseph responded by tenderly considering “to divorce her quietly.” There is no evidence of acrimony or furious rage by Joseph. He chose not to have her stoned, but began thinking of ways to protect Mary from the consequences of her delusions.
It is clear from the biblical text that Joseph was the first hard-core skeptic of the Virgin Birth until an angel visited him and made him a convert to the “event.” Nothing else would do.
What man would believe such a story ...unless of course God told him it would be OK?
See Joseph and his reaction and handling of the spectacular birth of Jesus is evidence to the truth of that virgin birth. And gives us great insight into the ways that God works in the lives of people to accomplish His tasks.
The virgin birth did occur and that fulfilled prophecy and made the birth of Jesus unique in all of human history. That is another reason why the titles and names of Jesus all fit and apply to His life. From the very beginning...He was the fulfillment of all that had been promised.
The adventure continues....