The prophetic expectation of the Old Testament was salvation through the Messiah, the seed of the woman, and all history finally focuses in on that moment of promise to Mary. The incarnation is the great miracle of the Bible to which all previous miracles point and all that follow spring from. Christianity is the story of one grand miracle — the incursion and invasion of God into human history in the person of His Son.
Scripture: Luke 2:22-35
- In the Old Testament there are over 300 prophecies of God’s coming salvation and the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
- The Hebrews lived with this expectation of the fulfillment of God’s ancient promise of a Saviour (Genesis 3:15).
- Simeon believed and understood the prophecies, and he waited in great expectation to see the Lord’s Christ.
- Mary and Joseph were at the temple to dedicate Christ and make atonement for their sin and uncleanness, fulfilling the requirement of the law (Lev. 12).
- Essential to Christianity is the incursion of God into history in the person of Christ, an unprecedented grand miracle.
- None of the world’s religions with their practices and ethical requirements depend on a miracle like this; supernatural reports in other religions are merely incidental.
- The miracle of the incarnation is central to God’s plan of salvation; all other miracles point to or result from the fact of the incarnation.
- The incarnation is a one-time event in history, which addresses the sin, conflict, disease, and death which characterize the fallen world.
- To personally witness the incarnation and ministry of Christ was a great honour, but it was also a great burden entailing conflict and persecution for Christ’s followers.
- Eve may have hoped Cain would be the Saviour. But it was over 4000 years before Mary marveled at Jesus’ birth.
- Now over two thousand years later we still worship Christ all over the world.
- Simeon took Christ in his arms, seeing with his eyes what he already had seen by faith.
- Like Simeon, Anna was also longing for Christ’s coming.
- No amount of evidence will convince us to abandon our sins; we must ask God in faith to reveal Himself to us.
- Ethics and knowledge cannot be separated. If you want to know if Jesus is the Son of God you must desire to submit to God’s will.
- Christianity is rejected because of its alleged failure to deliver us peace and happiness. But people would not believe even if God satisfied their desires and ideals; neither are our desires the centre or the purpose of the universe.
- Jesus came to establish His Kingdom and rule, not ours.
- People foolishly doubt that Christ’s reign will result in peace and happiness, and they foolishly set themselves against an undefeatable God. But it is sin and rebellion against God and His law that is the essence of the problem, not man’s environment.
- Only peace with God can lead to peace on earth.
- God loves us so much that He has washed us with His blood and made us kings and priests.
- Joy, rectitude and satisfaction are found only in submission and service to Christ.
- The gospel of Christ shatters all false “secret” ways to God with its public and universal truth, proclaimed to all people.
- We are strangers in the world, lost, despondent, threatened by our environment, seeking salvation by our own efforts. When we are at our wits’ end, Christ finds us, feeds us, and heals our sinful condition.
- Based on prophecies, what would the Old Testament believer have expected about the Christ?
- What is the central miracle of history, and how are other miracles related?
- Discuss the characteristics of Christ’s reign.
- What is the cause of conflict and alienation in the world?
- How are ethical submission to God and the knowledge of God related?
- As finite creatures of God, how can we know Him?
- Have we asked the Holy Spirit to open our “eyes of faith”?