Now, when you come to the New Testament, there is one dominant theme that marks the life of Jesus Christ, and it is the miraculous. He is ever and always the miraculous Jesus.
He is marked out as being divine by signs and wonders, by performing that which is humanly impossible and inexplicable. When it comes to celebrating Christmas, God's people face an interesting challenge. Are you somehow sending the wrong message about Christmas if you enjoy the things everyone else enjoys? You know, decorating the house, exchanging presents, hosting a party? The fact is, celebrating Christmas the right way doesn't necessarily mean doing away with time-honored traditions.
Just make sure you know what it does mean. John MacArthur's message today can help prepare you to enjoy a rich celebration and truly focus on the Jesus of Christmas. That's the title of John's study here on Grace to You, The Jesus of Christmas. And now for today's lesson, turn to Matthew chapter 1 as John looks at the miraculous person of Jesus.
And so as we look at Jesus Christ, we must see God because there is no other way to explain Him than that He is God. Now let's turn to the Word of God and look at the miraculous Jesus and just look at several elements of the miraculous life of our Lord. First, His miraculous birth, Matthew chapter 1.
And we're just going to touch these themes. Matthew chapter 1, His miraculous birth. Verse 18, Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this way. When as His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, that was really a pre-conjugal engagement period, a betrothal where they had not yet come together in a sexual union. They were betrothed. Before they came together, before they entered into a sexual relationship, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
Now that's never happened before or since. The Holy Spirit planted the seed in her without a man as an instrument. Sure, it's a biological impossibility, but that doesn't shock us, does it?
If there is a God, He can intervene in natural progress and do whatever He wants. No, the virgin birth is not invented by somebody. The virgin birth is the only way to explain Jesus Christ. That's what the Bible says. There's no other explanation.
There's more to that. What about His sinless life? That's a second element of His miraculous person. Look at Hebrews chapter 4, and it follows as a corollary to the first. If He was born conceived by the Holy Spirit, we would expect Him to be different than everybody else, and that in fact is the case. In Hebrews 4.15, it says, We do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities.
In other words, we're not going to somebody who doesn't understand us. But He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He is sinless. No sin in Him.
None at all. There's a third factor. His miraculous words. His miraculous words. Luke 4.32 says, They were continually amazed at His teaching. John 7.46, the temple police came back after they'd been sent to get Jesus. They came back and they said this.
They were dumbfounded. They said, Never, never did a man speak the way this man speaks. When He gave the Sermon on the Mount at the end of Matthew 7, it says they were literally shocked because He spoke as one having authority, not as the scribes and the Pharisees.
When He was 12 years old in Luke 2, 46 and 47, He went into the temple and the leaders of Israel talking to a 12-year-old kid were absolutely dumbfounded at His questions and His answers, the text says. Nobody ever spoke like He spoke. Nobody ever taught like He taught. Nobody ever knew the wisdom that He knew. By common consent of history, Jesus Christ is the greatest teacher who ever lived. Even the people that reject Him cannot deny the incredible power and wisdom of His teaching. The Gospels, without question, are the greatest literature ever written. They're read by more people, quoted by more authors, translated into more languages, represented in more art, set to more music than any other thing ever said or ever written.
And probably every other thing combined. Their greatness lies in the pure, lucid spirituality and dealing clearly, definitively and authoritatively with the greatest problems that throb in the human heart. You see, Jesus went to the real questions. Who is God? Does He love me? Does He care about me? What should I do to please Him?
How does He look at me? What about my sin? How can I be forgiven? Where will I go when I die? How am I to live in this world?
How am I to treat others? All of those profound questions Jesus answered. Sholem Ash, who is a Jew, wrote, Jesus Christ is the outstanding personality of all time. No other teacher, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist or Mohammedan, is still a teacher whose teaching is such a guidepost for the world we live in. Other teachers may have something basic for an Oriental, an Arab or an Occidental, but every act and word of Jesus has value for all of us. He became the light of the world.
Why shouldn't I, as a Jew, be proud of that? Miraculous teaching. Nicodemus had it right. He was the number one teacher in Israel. Perhaps he came to Jesus and said, we know you are a teacher come from God. There was no other way to explain what he said.
The Pharisees and the scribes who spent their whole life trying to learn the wisdom of the law went away from conversations with Jesus, literally paralyzed in a stupor, having been dumbfounded by His answers. He taught about God and He knew about God. He taught about angels. He taught about heaven. He taught about earth. He taught about hell. He taught about sin. He taught about holiness. He taught about the past and interpreted it. He taught about the present and He taught about the future and predicted it and nobody ever asked Him a question He couldn't answer and nobody ever posed a problem He couldn't solve. He astounded people. He confounded people. There's no explanation for His words, but that He is God. And there's another element to the miraculous Jesus. His supernatural works.
And we saw that a little bit initially as we started. There's no way to explain the works that Jesus did except that He is God in human flesh. There's just no way. No man, said Nicodemus, can do the things, the miracles that you do except God be with him.
It's obvious. Over and over again, the eyewitnesses who saw Him could only conclude one thing, that He does things supernaturally. Sometimes they wanted to ascribe it to Satan, but that was impossible because His works were always morally pure and must have been from God. In Matthew 4.24 it says, His fame went throughout all Syria. They brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with diverse diseases and torments and those who were possessed with demons and those who were epileptics and those who had palsy and He healed them all. He healed them all. It was an incredible display of divine power from one end of that nation to the other.
How are you going to explain that? He healed everybody and He healed them instantly and He healed them totally. And it wasn't just for the sake of healing. It was for the sake of authenticating His Messiahship, authenticating His deity.
That's why He did it. In John 2.23, when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover and the feast day, many believed in His name when they saw the miracles, which He did, and that was the whole point. He didn't just heal people so they could be well. He healed them so they would believe that He was God in human flesh. He didn't just raise the dead so they could be alive. He raised the dead so people would see that this was God in action. He never did miracles to satisfy curiosity.
In fact, when people came for those reasons, He simply said, I'll give you no sign. His miracles showed that He had to come from God. Think about how He controlled nature. He turned water into wine in John 2. He stilled the storm in Matthew 8. He was able to control fish in Luke 5 and John 21. He could multiply food, indicated in John 6. He walked on water in Matthew 14. He took money from the mouth of a fish placed there so He could have enough money for His taxes for he and Peter in Matthew 17. And the fig tree dried up when He cursed it in Matthew 21. Look at the control He had over disease.
Just some samples. He healed a leper in Luke 5. He healed a paralytic in Mark 2. He healed Peter's wife's mother of a fever in Mark 1. He healed the nobleman's son in John 4. He healed a withered hand in Mark 3, deaf and dumb in Mark 7, blindness in John 9, ten lepers in Luke 17. Malchus' ear was restored in Luke 22.
How do you explain that? No modern day so-called healer can stack himself up against the Lord Jesus Christ. He confronted death and overpowered it. Jairus' daughter was dead. He raised her from the dead. The widow's son was dead. He raised him from the dead. Luke 7. Lazarus was dead. John 11. He raised him from the dead.
And when he died, he himself was raised. How can you explain that? You say it isn't true.
Don't say that. The testimony of the Scripture is that it is true. And the Scripture masses together historic evidence and eyewitnesses for all of these things that are beyond refute. Interesting is the testimony of Julian the Apostate. Kind of an interesting title, isn't it? Julian the Apostate.
He was a Roman emperor from about 361 to 363 and he was a hater of Christians and a hater of Christ. And this is what he wrote. I think this is really interesting. Jesus has now been celebrated about 300 years having done nothing in his lifetime worthy of fame unless anyone thinks it's a very great work to heal lame people and blind people and exercise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany.
I like that. Unless you think that's a big deal. He didn't do anything. It's interesting that even a skeptic like Julian the Apostate couldn't deny the fact that he did that.
Sure he did. His miraculous works are one of the best attested truths of all of human history. The New Testament is a complete account not only by Matthew but by Mark, not only by Mark but by Luke, not only by Luke but by John, and then not only by them but by Peter and Paul.
It's all here. There's another element of his miraculous life and that's his miraculous influence. The only way you can explain the influence of Jesus Christ is that he must have been more than a man. His influence is really reduced to one simple statement marvelously in Acts 4.12.
Neither is there salvation in any other. In other words, he can do something nobody else can do in the whole history of the world. For there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Of all the people who have ever lived in the history of the world or ever will live, only one of them has had the influence he's had and that is to save men from their sin, from hell, from death, from Satan. He's the only one. Nobody ever liked him.
Utterly unique. The only savior. Renan, even the French atheist Renan said, whatever may be the surprises of the future, one thing is sure, Jesus will never be surpassed. Napoleon said, I know men and I tell you Jesus Christ is no mere man.
Between him and every other man in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Jesus saved men from their sins and he's still doing it. And when he's done it, it's never been undone. Do you know there's no such thing as an ex-Christian? Never one.
Nobody ever wants out once they're in. There are people today whose lives are being transformed by the power and influence of Jesus Christ for time and eternity. Nobody who ever lived has that kind of impact. People today are rushing into the arms of Jesus Christ to receive the gift of salvation. Jesus gave certain men such an impact as to be unequaled by far in the entire annals of the human race. And after 2,000 years, his impact is still going on, his influence is still going on and daily there are people who have tremendous revolutionary experiences which they associate with Jesus Christ. The personality, the person of Christ is without parallel, without comparison, unique and incomparable. He is the supreme master of everything. The master of hungry crowds and angry Pharisees. The master of clever theologians and bitter sinners.
The master of stupid disciples and Roman governors. He is the master of his own self. He struggles in the midnight of olive fighting sweat and blood and tears and comes forth victorious in complete dedication to God. In the terrible agony of the cross he is master.
Everything around him is in fury. Even the elements are in chaos and he is calm, master of his own will, his own tongue, his own heart. He pauses in the midst of all of the chaos of the sin-bearing act on the cross to forgive a penitent thief. He opens the doors of paradise to that thief.
He comforts his own mother. He takes care of his beloved disciple John. And in the midst of the shock of the loss of blood and the terrible thirst that he endured, he calmly fulfills the last prophecy, says I thirst, knows it's done and offers his spirit to God. And in doing that he purchased salvation for all who come to him. He influenced the world like no human being who ever lived and he influenced the world more than all who ever lived combined could have influenced it.
Think of what he did. He said I am the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the father but by me. He said the son of man has power on earth to forgive sins. He said whosoever therefore shall confess me before men him will I confess before my father who is in heaven. He said all things are delivered unto me of my father and no man knows the son but the father. Neither knoweth any man the father save the son and he to whosoever the son will reveal him. He said I am the resurrection and the life he that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this? He said whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. He said I am the light of the world he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. He said the son of man has come to give his life a ransom for many. He said whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.
He said come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I'll give you rest. He said heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall never pass away. He said before Abraham was I am. He said upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. He said I am the door I am the shepherd I am the father our one I am the bread of life and on and on and on.
You see uniquely in every one of those statements he claimed to be something no one else in the whole world could ever be. The savior. His influence is astounding and miraculous. Finally the last element of his influence is his miraculous power over death. In Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 14 it says that Jesus took upon himself human flesh that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death that is the devil and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. He says he took on human form in order to conquer death and he did that. He controlled his death.
He said nobody takes my life from me in John 10 I lay it down of myself and he did. He died on schedule he controlled his own burial even though his body was dead. He controlled every facet of his burial he made sure they didn't bury him after sundown or it would have eliminated the three day three night. He made sure everything was done on schedule he made sure he came out of the grave on time even when his body was in the grave he was down with his spirit proclaiming his victory over the fallen demons bound in the pit. Jesus controlled every element of his dying every element of his burial every element of his time in the grave and his resurrection as well. He had power over death. He conquered death. He said as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights so will the son of man be in the earth. He said destroy this temple in three days I'll what I'll raise it up and he did. And the empty tomb is evidence and the appearance to over 500 eyewitnesses is evidence.
And the disciples filled with power going out to preach the resurrected Jesus Christ who before had been sniveling cowards crouched in a corner afraid is evidence and the birth of the church is evidence. How are you going to explain this individual born of a virgin lived a sinless life said things so profound they never could have come from a human lip human mind did things that couldn't be done in the natural. Conquered death and influences the world continuously. You can't explain him on a human level that's impossible.
Think of it this way. If God became a man what would happen. What would happen if God became a man. Well first of all if God became a man. We would expect him to have a miraculous birth wouldn't we. I mean if God became a man.
It would be spectacular entry. Jesus did. If God became a man we would expect him to be different than all of us.
To be holy. Jesus was. If God became a man we would anticipate his words to be the most divine the clearest the most powerful the most authoritative the truest and the purest words ever uttered.
And Jesus words were. If God became a man we would expect him to manifest supernatural power. Jesus did. If God became a man we would expect him to have a universal and permanent impact on the world. Jesus did. And if God became a man we would expect him to be able to conquer death. Jesus did.
You know something. If God became a man. He would be Jesus. And he was.
And he was. And that's the whole meaning of Christmas. That's the whole thing. And that's the whole point of the New Testament. May I bring it to a conclusion by having you look at John 20. Two verses 30 and 31.
I believe they sum up the significance. Of the revelation of Jesus Christ. And many other signs. John 20 verse 30.
Many other signs. Truly did Jesus. In the presence of his disciples. Which are not written in this book. They're not written. By the way if you look at chapter 21 verse 25 you'll find that the books of the world couldn't contain them all. So we don't have the full record. But verse 31 says.
These are written. That ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ. The Son of God.
Why? That in believing you might have life. Through his name. What kind of life? Spiritual life. Eternal life. Abundant life.
Real life. You see it's exactly what Paul says. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. God came into the world in Jesus Christ to redeem us. And as we look at his life we are to believe that he is the Son of God. And in believing we have life through his name. God was in Christ 2 Corinthians 5 19 says God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. And then he says and has committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.
The message is simple. God came into the world in the form of Jesus Christ. If you believe you have eternal life. If you believe and receive him as Savior you have eternal life. For those of us who do that and are reconciled to God. He gives to us the ministry of reconciliation and sends us back out as ambassadors to represent him. So there's a message there for all of us. If you've never given your life to Jesus Christ that's his message to you.
That's his gift to you. If you've given your life to Christ do you know that you also are now called to be a minister of reconciliation? To go out as an ambassador for Jesus Christ to call others into the kingdom. To tell others to be reconciled to God.
There's no way to explain Jesus Christ other than as God in human flesh. And if you refuse to do that it is because you love your sin. And you choose your darkness rather than light. That's what Jesus said. And he said so pensively, you will not come to me that you might have life. As the Spirit of God prompts your heart may you respond in faith. And if you have may you take your responsibility to go out and preach the message of reconciliation to the world. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us.
John MacArthur has been our featured speaker since 1969. He's also Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary in the Los Angeles area. His current study is showing you the Jesus of Christmas.
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Or order online and be sure to choose the express shipping option that you need. Our website again is gty.org. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today and make sure you're here Friday when John goes beyond the details of Jesus' birth, the stable, the manger, the wise men, and looks at the character of Jesus himself. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace To You.
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