Search the Scriptures—They Lead to the
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me.”
In John 5:39 Jesus says the Old Testament canon (Genesis through Malachi) testifies of him. I would like to demonstrate that point in this message as I take you by the hand and lead you through several Old Testament passages which are connected to his birth.
If you will be patient with me, I must take you back to the very beginning. It is my hope you are becoming quite familiar with this foundational history. The history of Christmas begins in Genesis chapter three with a promise God gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This ancient promise encompassed God’s plan to free mankind from the consequences of Adam’s disobedience.
I trust you understand Adam’s disobedience gave Satan the authority to hold mankind in bondage to death through the power of sin. Sadly, apart from God’s intervention Adam’s sin left the entire race in a hopeless condition.
In Genesis 3:15 God did intervene.
He did so with a promise. God promised to send a deliverer who would crush the head of the serpent, thus freeing mankind from bondage to death. It should be pointed out mankind has lived with hope of a deliverer from the very beginning. In fact, all Old Testament saints looked forward to the coming of the Savior, while today we look back upon his actual coming.
From the promise of Genesis 3:15 his actual coming was four thousand years in the making. Think about that. Four thousand years of human history transpired from the Garden of Eden until the night Joseph and Mary wrapped the promised Seed of the Woman in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.
During those years the Holy Spirit gave the Scriptures which Jesus references in our text. In those Scriptures God progressively revealed the coming Savior to the world. Do you realize God has detailed the coming of the Savior in such a meticulous way that only willful unbelief has the power to blind one to his true identity?
Consider the following details with me.
Following the global flood of Noah’s day and the dispersion of the race at the Tower of Babel, the Lord turns the historical record of Scripture to his dealings with a man named Abraham.
God called Abraham and made a special covenant with him. In this covenant he promised to make of him a great nation through which he would bless all the families of the earth.
The central theme of the Abrahamic Covenant was God’s intention to send the promised Seed of the Woman through Abraham. One of Abraham’s descendents would be unique and bless all the families of the earth.
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless all the families of the earth through Abraham. Jesus is the special promised seed of Abraham through his mother Mary. The true Messiah must be a physical descendent of Abraham. All others are pretenders at best and deceivers at worst.
Scripture carefully documents the family tree of Jesus confirming Mary as a physical descendent of Abraham. This is one of the essential elements of Scripture which serves to confirm to the world the identity of Jesus as the true Messiah and Savior of the world.
My friend, through the seed of Abraham God has blessed the whole world with a Savior who is Christ the Lord!
Now let’s continue.
God established his covenant with Abraham and his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob gave birth to 12 sons through whom God formed the nation of Israel. Thus, the promised seed of Abraham—through whom all the families of the earth are blessed—came through the nation of Israel.
This is exactly why Satan hates Israel and desires to destroy her. Satan drives hatred toward Israel in the hearts of the children of disobedience. As a consequence, Israel is sorely persecuted by the other nations of the world even to this present hour.
Now let me interject this question. Are you interested in knowing the true Savior of the world? Then you must receive the written record of God’s Son recorded in His inspired word. These details of Scripture identifying Jesus as the true Messiah are not trivial or boring or cumbersome. On the contrary, as pointed out in our text, Jesus says these details testify of him and have the power to convince you he is the Savior of the world!
Next, let’s consider our next passage from the Scriptures. Not only did God send his Son through the nation of Israel, but the true Messiah had to descend from a specific tribe within the nation.
Interestingly, just before Jacob died he pronounced various prophetic blessings upon his sons. Those prophecies are truly amazing, but one especially stands out.
Jacob prophesied a ruler would come through his son Judah. He refers to him as Shiloh, which means “rest and tranquility.” This title carries the thought of one who brings peace and is a special reference to the Messiah. Thus, per this prophecy the promised Savior could only come through the tribe of Judah.
Next, not only must the promised Messiah come through Judah, but he must come through a specific family within the tribe. We come now to the next significant covenant God establishes in his word.
In Samuel chapter seven the Lord sent his prophet to King David with a special message. In that message the Lord established an eternal covenant with the house of David promising his seed an everlasting kingdom.
Specifically, this covenant speaks of a special descendent from the house of David who will rule on his throne forever. The prophets who later ministered in Israel identify the Messiah as that promised seed.
Now let me come back to our text for a moment. Everything shared in this message is contained in the Scriptures of which Jesus says testify of him. Indeed, they do testify of him in clear, unmistakable terms. Don’t miss it my friend. If you follow a false messiah, a false prophet, or some false spirituality you will be lost.
The message of Christmas is indeed good tidings of great joy because the Savior was born just as God promised and all who believe upon him receive eternal life. But if you close your eyes to the witness of Scripture—as did the crowd Jesus spoke to in our text—then you will die in your sins and perish everlastingly.
Now be patient with me as I call attention to several more passages of Scripture before we are done.
We come now to the famous prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14. This prophecy binds the whole of Scripture to the ancient promise given in the Garden of Eden. Isaiah declares, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
With these words Isaiah reiterates God’s promise to send a unique person into the world without the agency of a human father. Of necessity the promise of Genesis 3:15 requires a miracle. The special seed of the woman must come through a virgin’s womb. This begs the question of how a woman who has never known a man can be found with child.
Such a circumstance can only be explained by the power of God. The virgin conception of Christ in the womb of Mary is a miracle. That miracle clothed the eternal Word, the eternally begotten Son of God, with a human nature in the person of Jesus the promised Messiah.
In light of Isaiah 7:14 our world needs to set up and take note of the mighty miracle that resulted in the birth of God’s Son. This miracle remains a sign to all men of all nations.
You say, I don’t believe it! But my friend, God says it is so. Do you wrestle with God? Do you resist the Holy Spirit who even now is confronting you with the truth as it is in Jesus? Be careful my friend. A decision lies before you and the path you take leads either to eternal life or eternal damnation.
Don’t go with the Herods of this world who seek to destroy Christ and refuse to allow him to ascend to the throne of their hearts. Rather, go with the wise men and come and bow before him and worship him!
This Christmas season the virgin conception and subsequent virgin birth of Christ remains a sign to the whole world. But the words spoken by Simeon to Mary in Luke chapter two are still true of Jesus today. He said, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.”
Don’t be surprised when the world speaks against Christ. While we love him, tragically many despise him and reject him.
Next, I bring before you another famous prophecy from the prophet Micah. A contemporary of Isaiah, Micah actually predicted the very place of the Messiah’s birth.
In Micah 5:2 we read, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
You will recall when the wise men from the east came to Jerusalem to worship the new born king, Herod gathered the chief priests and scribes demanding of them where Christ should be born.
They quoted to him this verse of Scripture confirming that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem. A short time later the wise men found the young child in Bethlehem the place of his birth. This is essential. The true savior identified by the Scriptures of which Jesus speaks in our text must be born in Bethlehem.
The Jews to whom Jesus spoke in John chapter 5 had to know where Jesus was born. Furthermore, they had to know of the slaughter of the innocent little babies by Herod less than 30 years earlier. The heart break of that situation was etched upon the nation’s memory.
Now I close with our Lord’s statement in verse 40: “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”
With all the witness of Scripture these men still would not come—but what about you? You have the same witness of the Scriptures—even more so. Today we not only have the canon of the Old Testament Scriptures as did Jesus and those in his day, but we also have the complete canon of New Testament Scripture documenting the actual birth, life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God.
Why will you not come?
The most familiar part of the Christmas history is the picture of Mary wrapping her firstborn son in swaddling clothes and laying him in a manger—but why in a manger?
You will recall that Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem as the little town swelled with like-minded travelers complying with the government. They soon discovered there was “no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
Although the lack of room seems innocent enough, there is something to be gleaned from this picture. Sadly, little has changed since that night long ago. The Son of God is still crowded out of a world which has little or no room for him.
The Gospel of John speaks to this reality with the following words: “He (Jesus) was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew (recognized) him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:10-11).
The Creator came into his own world only to find there was no room for him. Even his own people (the Jews) refused to accept him on a national level as their promised Messiah.
In similar fashion the nations remain guilty of the same today. Have you noticed any recent resolutions at the United Nations acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Savior of the world? On the contrary, he is not so much as granted the dignity of a barn by today’s world.
And what can be said about you? Are you among those who turn away in unbelief? Do you have any room for him in your heart?
The passage in John chapter one continues in verse twelve with a glorious promise. This promise belongs to all who make room in their heart for the Lord Jesus.
The Scripture says, “But to as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power (the right, the privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
Have you received the most wonderful gift of all? The heart of the Christmas message concerns the gift of eternal life which God freely offers to the world through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But this gift must be received.
Please bow your head in humble repentance and confess the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. Give your heart to Christ and receive the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!