Jesus’ birth fulfills the Old Testament Prophesies, God Provides the Sacrifice (Gen. 3:15; Gen. 22; Isa. 7:14; Isa 53:7; 60:19-20; Matt. 1:23)
I do not believe in coincidences. Many of you may remember the former NFL player Tim Tebow. He was an outspoken Christian and came away with many surprising wins. One of them was versus the Steelers in the 2012 playoffs. This is what I read about it:
Tim Tebow appeared on Harry Connick Jr’s show “Harry” this week to discuss his new book, baseball career, and more. One part of the conversation that stood out was when Connick Jr. asked Tebow to explain the incredible thing that happened immediately after he led the Broncos to an upset playoff victory over the Steelers back in 2012.
For the game, Tebow decided to paint the Bible verse John 3:16 under his eyes, exactly the same way he did three years prior for the National Championship game. On that day, January 8th, 2009, an insane amount of people – 94 million to be precise – Googled the verse and Tebow’s Gators won the game.
Fast forward to the upset win over the Steelers in 2012, which ended on this Tebow touchdown pass:
An ecstatic Tebow was celebrating with teammates in the locker room and preparing to speak with the press, when the Broncos PR guy approached him almost too giddy to speak.
“Timmy, do you realize what happened?”
“Yeah, we just beat the Steelers and we’re going to play the Patriots!”
“No, I don’t think you realize what just happened. It’s exactly three years later from when you wore John 3:16 under your eyes. During the game you threw for 316 yards, your yards per rush were 3.16, your yards per catch were 31.6, the ratings for the game was 31.6 and the time of possession was 31.6.”
During the game 90 million people googled John 3:16 and once again it was the #1 trending item on Facebook and Twitter.
Tebow summed up the incredible imagery with the numbers like this: “A lot of people said it was a coincidence. I say big God.”
In the birth of Christ we also see a Big God, no coincidences.
The date is now December 10, so I wonder how things are coming along with your Christmas plans. Do you have all your shopping done yet? Do you have your house decorated?
Show of hands: How many of you have your Christmas tree up?
How many have two Christmas trees up?
How many have lights up outside of the house?
Have you gone out looking at Christmas lights whether driving around or a specific display?
Do you ever look up at the stars at night? Do you notice that you cannot see as many stars in the city as you can in the country? I once saw a program that said we have to go to the middle of the Atlantic in order to truly get away from the light pollution, wow! Yet, electric lighting revolutionized the world. We were already in the industrial revolution, but when electric lighting came, wow! But we know that Thomas Edison did not invent light, just the electric light bulb. Now, we have lights everywhere. Think about night baseball games, night football games, night soccer games, indoor night basketball games at night, we have services here after dark, headlights on our cars, lights outside our houses, parking lot lights and lighthouses. Is that all because of the light bulb? I don’t think so, I think it is all because we need light. Think about it, if we did not need light, the light bulb would have been another unimportant invention. We need light.
We need light and God provided light from the beginning. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was. Later God created the sun, moon and stars. But that is not the only light which we need and needed. We needed salvation. We needed a sacrifice. God sent us the Light of the World. God sent His own sacrifice. He was prophesied about in the Old Testament.
Singer Michael Card wrote a song called The Promise, and he wrote a little Christmas devotional on this theme:
Christianity is founded on a promise. Faith involves waiting on a promise. Our hope is based on a promise.
Promises are made with words. … .that part of myself that goes with every promise is given to you through my words….
Our God is the great maker of promises… His word, our Bible, is a collection of the promises… most of these concern Jesus, who came to be known as “the Promised One”
Through all these promises, God was trying to give something of Himself to Adam, and to Israel, and finally to us. The Bible tells us that when the Promised One came, the Lord poured all of Himself into Him.
What a costly thing it can be to make a promise – it cost Jesus His life.
Today, we look at a very familiar Old Testament story. Yet, as familiar as this is, this is prophetic in looking towards the Christ Child. God provides the sacrifice needed for Abraham and for us.
Read with me Genesis 22:1-14:
The great idea in this passage is that the Lord provides. So, I want to talk about how the Lord provides the sacrifice. The Lord sends the Light. Three times in verses 1-14 we see the idea that the Lord provides.
- Let’s overview this narrative.
- In verse 1 God talks to Abraham and notice that Abraham has no hesitation. Abraham immediately said, “Here I am.”
- Verse 2 has God giving Abraham instructions as to what to do. Notice how specific this is:
- Take your son…
- Your only son…
- whom you love…
- sacrifice him as a burnt offering.
- Realize that Abraham had another son, Ishmael, whom he sent away. He was not the son of the promise. He was not the son by Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was.
- This was Abraham’s only son and he loves him.
- Yet, God tells him to sacrifice him. What was this like for Abraham? What were his emotions?
- Whatever it was like for Abraham, God did this with His Son.
- John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
- Notice that Jesus, God’s only begotten Son is the Son of promise. Isaac was the son of promise to Abraham. By Isaac all the world will be blessed. The lineage goes on to Jesus and in Him, through His death and resurrection all the world will be blessed.
- Verse 3, the next verse says that Abraham got up early in the morning and he began his trip to obey God.
- I heard someone say, “I wonder if he told Sarah.” That is a thought. I wonder if he just said they were going out for a bit. Do you think he could have actually told Sarah that he was going to kill her only son? No way!
- I bet if he told her that she would have stopped it. That is not saying that she had less faith, but this was her only son.
- Verse 5 shows that this is about worship. There were two servants with them. Abraham has the servants wait. Abraham says that they will worship and then they will return.
- Isn’t that interesting? Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, yet he tells the servants they will return. Maybe Abraham did not wish for the servants to come with him and try to restrain him from following the Lord’s command? Or, maybe Abraham thought that Isaac was the child of promise and so God would raise him up again. Maybe he thought his son, Isaac, was the Messiah. They were waiting on someone to make things right.
- They have the wood, the fire and the knife and they are going up to make the sacrifice. Isaac is carrying the wood for his own sacrifice. Hmm. You know that in John 19:17 it says that Jesus carried His own cross?
- By the way, Isaac is not a young child. He is an adult. The Jewish historian Josephus says that he is probably twenty-five years old. We never think of him that old.
- In verse 8: Abraham says that God will provide the lamb. Isaac knew what he would need for a sacrifice. Abraham had strong faith. God will provide.
- We look at this today and we are looking back and we see that God provided Jesus, our eternal lamb.
- Abraham places his son on the alter and pulls the knife. He is about to kill him when an angel interrupts him. The angel may have been a normal angel or he might have been Jesus in the Old Testament. Sometimes when the Bible says the Angel of the Lord it is referring to Jesus.
- Abraham is stopped and then they see a ram caught in the bushes by its horns.
- God provided the sacrifice.
- God provided a sacrifice for Abraham.
- God provided a sacrifice for us and the sacrifice was His own Son.
- John 1:36 John the baptizer says look at the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 1 John 4:9; John 3:16 both talk about God sending His only begotten Son.
- Isa 53:7: Jesus is like a lamb to the slaughter.
- Verse 14: Abraham calls that place the Lord provides.
- Abraham needed a sacrifice. God gave him the sacrifice.
- But the sacrifice for Abraham was foreshadowing the sacrifice for the rest of the world. Truly through Abraham all the world would be blessed.
- Close to two thousand years later a descendant of Abraham would be born and raised. He would be just over twenty-five years old at the age of thirty-three. He would be God’s Son and He would carry His own cross and this time the angel would not stop the death. This time He would die. He would die as our sacrifice. God provided the Light. But praise God He did not stay in the grave. He became the first fruits of the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15)
- Our Lord provides! Amen! Jehovah Jireh is how that name is translated.
That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.(Hebrews 2:14–15)
But not just to die. Jesus was born to be raised from the dead (Revelation 1:18). He is the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes in him “though he die yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem it was the dawn of death’s destruction. It made possible the fast-approaching time when,
He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:8)
Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)