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Sun, Dec 04, 2016

Teacher: Yale Wall Series: Old School Christmas

December 4, 2016

Logical Faith / Old School Christmas


All of the sermons before today point to Jesus and are completed by Jesus.  Really, everything in history since man’s fall into sin up until Jesus, points forward to Jesus.  Everything after Jesus until he comes back, points back to Jesus.  Everything hinges on his execution and his resurrection.


What Do We Believe About Jesus?

There is no respectable scientist or historian who doesn’t believe that Jesus was a real man that really walked this earth 2000 years ago.  Almost everyone on earth believes Jesus existed, we just all believe different things about who He is.


Athiesm -

  • Believe that Jesus was either:
    - a misdirected good guy
    - a radical cult leader
  • Was not God
  • Was crucified, but did not resurrect from the dead


Islam -

  • Believe that Jesus (Isa) was a sinless prophet sent by Allah
  • Was one of Allah’s highest prophets
  • Was not God
  • Was not crucified or resurrected


Judaism -

  • Believe that Jesus is either:
    - extremist false messiah
    - good Jewish rabbi who was martyred
  • Was not God, was not the messiah
  • Was not resurrected


Bahá’í Faith - 

  • Believe that Jesus was one of many manifestations of God
  • He superseded Moses, but was then superseded by
Mohammed and then again by Bahá’u’lláh
  • Was not God, was not resurrected


Hinduism -

  • Believe that Jesus was a teacher, guru or avatar
  • Was one of the many sons of God
  • Was not resurrected


Mormonism - 

  • Believe that Jesus is a separate God from the Father God (Elohim)
  • He is the eldest brother of all men and spirit beings
  • Believe that God the Father had sex with Mary and made Jesus
  • Was crucified, but that did not atone for sin


Jehovah’s Witnesses - 

  • Believe that Jesus was Michael the archangel before coming to earth.
  • Was not God
  • Was crucified at a stake not a cross, was resurrected as a spirit
  • Returned invisibly in 1914 and is not coming back
  • Will soon destroy all non-Jehovah’s Witnesses with help of all the angels


Christians - 

  • Believe that Jesus IS God and is part of the trinity
  • Was fully God and fully man
  • Was crucified on a cross and resurrected on the 3rd day
  • Came to give us forgiveness of sin and relationship with God


Prophesies About Jesus

There were 355 prophesies about the messiah in the Old Testament. Of those, about 70 are completely new ideas, and the rest are additions or reinforcements of those 70 ideas.

Every single one of them is fulfilled by Jesus.


The Old Testament was written over about a 1000 year period, and was finished over 500 years before Jesus. And it contains 355 prophesies that point to Jesus.  The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) was publicly completed 250 years before Jesus, so we know the prophesies are at least 250 years before Jesus and have proof that they are consistent with what we have now in the Bible.


Galations 4:4-5
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.


Lineage of Jesus

  • Lineage of Shem
  • Descendant of Abraham
  • Line of Isaac
  • Line of Jacob
  • Tribe of Judah
  • Family of Jesse
  • House of David


The Crucifixion

Psalm 22:16-18
Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
 people stare and gloat over me.
 18 They divide my clothes among them
 and cast lots for my garment.

We know that all of that happened exactly but let’s just look at the crucifixion technique: they pierce my hands and my feet.  That form of crucifixion was not put in place until 800 years later by the Romans.

All in all, there were 29 prophesies that Jesus fulfilled on the 1 day that he died.


Other Prophesies
(Psalm 41, Zachariah 11, and Malachi 3)

  • Bethlehem

  • be betrayed
  • by a friend 
  • for 30 pieces of silver
  • thrown on the floor
  • in a temple
  • used to buy a potters field
  • the timeline was all before the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem
 - which happened in 70ad


Historical Proof For Jesus

If you want to prove that Christianity is true, and that every contrary belief system is therefore false, you really only have to answer 1 question… Did Jesus or did he not return from the dead?



Historically, if we have 2-3 eyewitness accounts of something that happened, we can assume that it is true.  Not only do we have all the evidences in the Bible, but we have 5 other ancient sources that corroborate that Jesus was killed.

  • Josephus
  • Tacitis
  • Lucean
  • Mara Bar-Serapion
  • the Jewish Talmud


Gerd Lüdemann of Vanderbilt University said, “Jesus’ death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable”


Early Reports of Jesus’ Resurrection

We have a creed of the early church that says that Jesus rose from the dead in 1 Corinthians 15:3 where Paul is preserving and passing on information.

The creed says:

  • Christ died for our sins
  • was buried
  • was raised on the 3rd day
  • appeared to peter and the 12
  • appeared to 500 people at once
  • appeared to James
  • appeared to all the all apostles
  • appeared to Paul

1 Corinthians 15:3
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

1 Corinthians was written in 54-55AD, Jesus was executed in 30AD.  This creed was preserved in the letter within 25 years of the event.  But we know he is receiving it from someone else, and he has already passed it on to the Corinthians before, so the creed about Jesus’ resurrection has to take place BEFORE 25 years after Jesus. 

2 most likely options:

  • Given the creed in Demascus right after he met with Jesus 
(1-3 years after Jesus died)
  • Given the creed in Jerusalem when he met with Peter and James for 2 weeks (3 years later)

Either way, the creed was given to Paul within 1-6 years after the death of Jesus.


The Empty Tomb

Roman historical record says that Jesus was buried in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Jewish council.

Matthew 28:5-6
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

There is a thing called the Criterion of Embarrassment: 
A critical analysis of historical accounts in which accounts embarrassing to the author are presumed to be true because the author would have no reason to invent an embarrassing account about himself.

The tomb was found by women, which would have hurt the case of the Jews.  There is no reason to mention that if it was faked.

There is another thing called Enemy Attestation:
 Any source that does not have sympathy for a certain person, message, or cause comes to affirm something about it. When writers or enemies corroborate the given facts or data, it is more likely to be authentic.

Even the opponents of Jesus admitted that his tomb was empty

.  They had no reason to give credit to the body being gone by blaming it on the disciples, unless it was really gone.


515 people SAW Jesus!

We have 9 ancient sources 
inside and outside the New Testament 
that show that people saw Jesus personally after he was raised from the dead.


Inside the New Testament:

  • The creed from 1 Corinthians 15:3

  • Paul’s testimony about the disciples
  • Book of Acts

  • The 4 Gospels


Dr Craig Evans said, “There is every reason to conclude that the Gospels have fairly and accurately reported the essential elements of Jesus’ teaching, life, death and resurrection.  They are early enough, rooted into the right streams that go back to Jesus and the original people, there is continuity, there is proximity, there is verification of certain distinct points with archaeology and other documents, and then there is the inner-logic.”


Outside the New Testament: 

  • Clement
 said the apostles have complete certainty in the resurrected Jesus
 caused by personally encountering Him

  • Polycarp said
, “for they did not love the present age, but Him who died for our benefit and for our sake was raised by God”


These are not just an inner circle Christians
who are trying to sell a point. These are real people who saw enough evidence to put their faith in Jesus and put their entire lives on the line.

Gerd Lüdemann of Vanderbilt University said, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ”



This is what Christmas is all about!  Because the weight of all of this truth was wrapped up in Jesus:

  • the baby
  • born in Bethlehem
  • lineage of Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Tribe of Judah, Jesse, and David
  • born of a virgin
  • who lived without sin
  • died a death for YOU
  • raised from the dead


Luke 2:4-14
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


Communication Card

- I will study more about the historical accuracy of Jesus this week.
- I will take these facts and use them to share about Jesus.
- I am interested in serving at the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service.




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