When the fullness of the time came, God
sent forth His Son, born of a woman.
At Christmastime many television stations air the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, who has a catastrophe at work. Because of that he curses the day that he was born and decides he is going to take his own life. Fortunately, the good angel Clarence intervenes. Clarence shows George what the world would have been like if George had not been born—much sadness would have occurred and many people’s lives would not have been positively impacted. Through that experience George gains a new perspective on life.
There is a lot of stress associated with Christmas—buying gifts, planning parties, and preparing food. Some painful hurts tend to resurface at this time of the year. These pressures sometimes tempt us to think, “Life would be a lot simpler if there were no Christmas.” So this week, with all due respect to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” we are going to think about what our world would be like if Jesus Christ had not been born in Bethlehem. What would life be like if Christ had not come?
First of all, if Christ had not come many prophecies of the Bible would be unfulfilled. There are several hundred prophecies in the Old Testament dealing with Jesus’ birth, life, and ministry. At least 61 of them are major prophecies about Christ’s life—61 major prophecies that would have been unfulfilled had Christ not come. Today I will give you a small sampling of those prophecies. Tomorrow we will look at a few more.
Let’s consider the prophecies about Jesus’ heritage. In the Garden of Eden God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity [strife] between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed [the offspring of the woman]” (Genesis 3:15). The first prophecy in the Bible about Jesus Christ was that He would be born of a woman. Jesus would come from the human race.
Throughout the Old Testament, God narrows that spotlight. Noah had three sons who survived the Flood—Ham, Shem, and Japheth (Genesis 9:18). God said the Messiah would come from the line of Shem. Shem had many descendants, but God said the Messiah would come from Abraham (Genesis 12). Now Abraham had two sons: Isaac and Ishmael. God said it would be through Isaac that the Messiah would come. Isaac had two sons: Jacob and Esau. God said it will be through Jacob that the Messiah comes. Jacob had 12 sons, who became the 12 tribes of Israel. God said it would be through Judah that the Messiah will come. Judah had many descendants, yet Isaiah 11 says it would be from the line of Jesse that the Messiah would come. Over and over again God narrows the focus about the heritage of the Lord until Jesus Christ is finally born. If Christ had not come, the prophecies about His heritage would be unfulfilled and our Bible would be less trustworthy.