The Fact Of Christ’s Fulfillment Of Prophecy

It seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order . . . so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
–Luke 1:3-4

What are the foundational facts that support the message of Christmas? First of all, there is the fact of Christ’s fulfillment of prophecy–He is the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah.

Every year around Christmastime, one of the major news magazines usually comes out with a story related to Jesus Christ. Year after year, these stories say the same thing: Jesus was a great teacher who lived a good life, but then His followers took that historical truth and wrapped it in myths about His being the Son of God and dying on a cross and rising from the dead. You cannot trust the Gospel accounts about Jesus, they say.

Why is there such a wholesale attempt to discredit the historicity of the Gospel accounts? Because if you want to dispute the claim that Jesus really was the Son of God, then you have to go to the source of chose claims. Unbelievers will claim that the Gospel accounts are filled with historical inaccuracies. For example, for years, critics pointed to the idea in Luke 2 that Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem in order to participate in the census. The critics said, “The Roman government did not conduct that kind of census back then.” Yet we now have evidence that the Roman government regularly ordered that kind of census for the purpose of taxation.

Another historical detail critics point to in Luke’s Gospel is his claim that Quirinius was the governor of Syria at the time of Christ’s birth, when Herod was the ruler over Israel. Previously, it was thought that Quirinius did not rule over Syria until ten years after Herod died. But from archaeological evidence, we now understand that Quirinius was governor twice–during Herod’s reign and after Herod’s reign.

Sir William Ramsay was a noted archaeologist and scholar at Oxford University. When he began his career, he was a skeptic about the reliability of the Bible, especially the accounts written by Luke. Years later, after he had spent decades researching the places and events mentioned in the New Testament, he wrote, “Luke was not merely trustworthy but a historian of the highest order.” The Christmas story is not a kernel of truth wrapped in myth; it is based on historical accounts that we can trust.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “God In A Stable: Fact Or Fable?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

William M. Ramsay, “St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen” (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2001), 7.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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