Apologetics for Christmas
by Keith Bassham
The Christmas story is a fitting conclusion to the apologetics series, for in that story I see at least four apologetic strains of thought, ribbons if you will, that will tie up a package.
First, there is the prophetic ribbon. When Jesus came, he was expected, at least by some. For instance, take the story of the wise men in Matthew 2:1-6:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Two things stand out here. First, something triggered this expedition from the East by these “wise men,” (magi, a person akin to a combination of a priest and astronomer), and that something is often thought to have been the Hebrew scriptures introduced into Babylon during the time of the prophet Daniel. That and the sign in the sky (the “star”) prompted them to make their way toward Judea. The second thing that stands out about this text has to do with Herod’s inquiry of the scribes, who themselves turn to the prophet Micah, chapter five and verse two, that describes the birthplace of the coming King as Bethlehem — written 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Other prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus designate him as a member of the Israelite tribe of Judah, a descendant of King David, whose coming would cause great sorrow among “the daughters of Rachel” (this has to do with Herod’s slaughter of the infants), and a temporary stay in Egypt shortly after his birth.
Of course, other prophecies about his life and ministry are also numerous, but take just the ones having to do with the birth of Jesus…
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