By Ian Cotton, retired Adventist pastor
Every December we are bombarded with glitzy advertisements for shoppers and Nativity scenes displaying the familiar but pleasing image of three wise men and shepherds gazing adoringly at the baby Jesus of Bethlehem.
We see Joseph and Mary, Jesus’ parents, three Magi and domestic animals all gazing adoringly at the manger where Jesus lay. But, is this a true biblical image?
Did you know that the Bible does not describe such a scene? It does not say that there were three Magi, or that they saw the shepherds, or Jesus wrapped in a manger. See Matthew 2 and Luke 2 for the biblical image.
Yes, the shepherds have seen and heard the multitudes of angels praising God, singing: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will towards men!” Then. they went to Bethlehem and saw Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger (manger).
Concerning the Magi, the Bible says: “And when they had entered into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and bowed down to adore him”.
It was maybe a year after Jesus was born. This theory is well supported when we read that King Herod ordered his soldiers to kill all male children two years old and younger in Matthew 2:16.
You can trust the Bible, but beware of interpretations and traditions!
Concerning Jesus, there are more than 300 prophecies concerning him.
Here are eight:
• Born in Bethlehem – Prophecy: Micah 5: 2, Fulfilled: Matthew 2: 1
• Born of a virgin – Prophecy: Isaiah 7:14, Fulfilled: Matthew 1:18-23
• Herod’s Attempted Murder – Prophecy: Jeremiah 32:15, Fulfilled: Matthew 2:16-18
• Betrayed by a Friend – Prophecy: Psalm 41:9, Fulfilled: John 13:1819, 26
• Sold for 30 pieces of silver – Prophecy: Zechariah 11:12, Fulfilled: Matthew 26:14-16
• Pierced – Prophecy: Zechariah 12: 10, Fulfilled: John 19: 16-18, 37
• Buried in the tomb of a rich man – Prophecy: Isaiah 53:9, Fulfilled: Matthew 27:57-60
• Raised on the third day – Prophecy: Hosea 6: 2, Fulfilled: Acts 10: 38-40
Dr. Stoner of Pasadena College applied the “probability principle” to just eight prophecies of the Messiah and determined that the probability of all eight coming to pass in a man’s lifetime is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 000,000,000,000!
There is absolutely no way that Jesus is anything other than what the Bible claims he was – the Creator, the Divine Son of God. Yes, you can trust the Bible and its prophecies.
Christians’ favorite Bible verse is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God’s love is so great for us that he gave us Jesus, so that “whoever” believes in him may have eternal life. But what does it mean to believe? It means trusting him and obeying him, because as the song says, “because there’s no other way but to trust and obey.”
So in December, don’t be hypnotized by all the publicity glitz and in these days of COVID, political unrest and lawlessness, why not accept Jesus’ invitation to come to Him? Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and carry heavy loads, and I will give you rest. »
This is the Christmas message that God wants everyone to hear.
The greatest gift you can ever receive is that of eternal life. The infant Jesus of Bethlehem offers free eternal life to all.