Do You Know The Christ In Christmas?
“HE SAID TO THEM, ‘WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?’ SIMON PETER REPLIED, ‘YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD’’ (MATTHEW 16:15-16).
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane snow is glistening... ah, if only. I pray every year for a white Christmas, but in Texas that really would be a miracle! The true miracle of Christmas, however, is Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate this time every year. While some argue the date is inaccurate, I’m less concerned with when He was born and when we celebrate than the Biblical illiteracy rampant among so many of His followers.
Christmas may be your favorite time of year, but we must ask, do we really know Christ? Is He more than a historical figure or a name we use at the end of every prayer? Have we owned our Christian faith or are we riding the coat tails of the generation before us simply believing what we’ve been taught without question?
Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christ, became a movie last year. Both the book and the movie are great places to start in learning about the claims of Christ. The existence of Christ has never been questioned. Many writings about His life exist outside of the Bible; many scholars have discussed the historical Jesus. Christ made outrageous claims about Himself; the most notable one distinguishes him from all other historical figures. Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God. Philosophers, who ad here to logical deduction, reduce this statement made by Christ to one of three possibilities: 1) He was a lunatic, 2) He was a liar, or 3) He was the Son of God. So which is it?
Though most religions require a great amount of faith to follow, the evidence that exists for the Christian faith is strong some objective observers mighteven call it undeniable. Christianity distinguishes itself from other religions because of Jesus Christ. Unlike any other central religious figure, He was 1) Born of a virgin, 2) Sacrificed His life because of God’s love for sinners, 3) Was resurrected, and 4) Transcended to Heaven. These facts surrounding Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection, and tran-scension were viewed by eyewitnesses and documented by many. Texts have been preserved for centuries and the Bible itself is still the best selling book of all time. When one evaluates these claimsin the light of historical, archeological, and even scientific evidence, the results are outstanding.
The Old Testament was written centuries before Jesus’ birth. Over three hundred prophecies were recorded in the Old Testament regarding the Messiah. Jesus Christ fulfilled every single one of them. The odds of anyone fulfilling the number of prophecies Christ did aremathematically staggering. Essentially,it looks like this:
1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 [quintil-lion]; 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies:1 chance in 10 to the 157th power; 1person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: impossible. It is the magnificent detail ofthese prophecies that mark the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Only God could foreknow and accomplish all that was written about the Christ. This historical accuracy and reliability sets the Bible apart from any other book or record.” (cbn.org)
This feature barely scratches the surfaceof all that can be uncovered to prove Christ was who He says He was: The Son of God. I encourage you to dig deeper start with the Bible. Learn its contents from front to back; Jesus can be found from Genesis to Revelation. Investigate the Bible’s claims. Ask hard questions like: How do we know the Bible is true? Read apologetics over the centuries; see what the critics have to say. You’ll find your faith doesn’t take as much “faith”as some might think. Most importantly, you’ll be prepared to give an answer to those seeking one. I Peter 3:15 admonishes us, “But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully” (AMPC).
Without Christ, not only is there no Christmas, there’s no eternal salvation, no hope for a brighter tomorrow. Thankfully, Christ is more than a faith story. Have a very Merry Christmas and a hopeful, Happy New Year!