Episode 10: Jesus' Birth, and the Expectation of the Extraordinary

Episode 10 September 11, 2020 00:12:11
Episode 10: Jesus' Birth, and the Expectation of the Extraordinary
Thinking Christian
Episode 10: Jesus' Birth, and the Expectation of the Extraordinary

Sep 11 2020 | 00:12:11

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Show Notes

How can we ever hope to relate to a God as great as our God? I've asked myself that question and found my hope in Jesus, who came to be one of us. He himself, the hope of Israel, the hope of all the nations, is extraordinary beyond any hope of matching his character. Yet he came in humility, the man who was God, God who became man.

In today's Thinking Christian podcast I explore the great things said about him at the time of his birth, by Mary, Zechariah, the angels, and Simeon, as recorded in the first chapters in Luke. They expected him to be extraordinary — and thus his story begins.

Based on material in Tom Gilson’s book Too Good to be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality, available here.

As noted in the podcast, others who've read it have had their lives lit up for Christ.

Subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher. And please take a moment to rate the Thinking Christian podcast on your podcast provider of choice. It really helps make this content visible and available to more people. Thank you!

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:08 Welcome to the thinking Christian podcast, your weekly guide to solid Christian thinking on culture, science, faith, and Christian confidence hosted by Tom Gilson Speaker 1 00:00:22 In the course of my work researching, studying, writing the book too good to be false, how jesus' incomparable character reveals this reality. I encountered Jesus in a way that I never had before. People who read the book are saying that they too are encountering him in a way they've never experienced him before. And he's extraordinary and his character in, in ways. And to a degree that even Christians have hardly noticed. I say that as, as one who followed Christ for more than 40 years before diving into this study, and again, others are saying the same thing I can, and I will link to some of what they've said in the show notes here. Just so you can get a taste of what they're saying. He's extraordinary to the degree that in the course of my studies, for my own spiritual health, even I had to remind myself that he's not so far above us, that he's unreachable. Speaker 1 00:01:21 He's not inaccessible. He's not that distant and nothing reveals, nothing shows his closeness to us more than the fact of his incarnation, his coming to be with us, God, with us, God, in the flesh of the one who by the end of his years, with the disciples could say to them, I no longer call you servants, but I call you friends, friends with a difference. They're not just buddies. Jesus says, you're my friends. If you do, when I come in, but it's the incarnation of Jesus that reassures me that God, for all his holiness, his, his, his extreme difference from us loves us and wants to be with us. And so here as I am going through the gospel of Luke, I'm looking at some of the passages that have to do with jesus' birth is incarnation means his birth and his life as God in the flesh, we're all familiar with the story of jesus' birth. Speaker 1 00:02:27 What I want to do here though, is look at some of the extraordinary things that were said about him and about his coming in the gospel of Luke, there are five or six specific things that are really interesting. And I'm just going to read them with short comments that really speak to jesus' extraordinary nature, his extraordinary mission, his extraordinary arrival on earth. The first one of these has the Magnificant. This is Mary's great song. After she meets with her cousin Elizabeth and Elizabeth, that the baby in her womb, John, the Baptist leaped for joy on hearing Mary's voice. This is in Luke one, starting in verse 46. And Mary said my soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God. My savior for he has a looked on the humble estate of his servant for behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed for he who is mighty, has done great things for me. And Holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the mighty from their Thrones and exalted those of humble estate. He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent Speaker 2 00:03:46 Empty. Oh, he has Speaker 1 00:03:48 Helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy. As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to us offspring for us, Speaker 2 00:03:58 She mentioned there how Speaker 1 00:04:01 He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy. As he spoke to our fathers, this whole poem, this whole song is very reminiscent of the prophets and their expectation of deliverance, especially of the oppressed, the poor and Mary's response in this is to identify her herself, I think is one of those. And to give thanks to God for his mercy, she didn't claim a proud position. She did recognize that all generations will call her blessed, but the blessing is from God, not from herself. Now let's go on to saccharides prophecy. It's actually rather different. This is after John, the Baptist was born Zachariah son. And after he finished confirming that he would be named John and his mouth was open. He could speak. And Zachariah was filled with the Holy spirit and prophesied beginning in Luke, one verse 68. And he said, blessed be the Lord, God of Israel for he has visited and redeemed his people. Speaker 1 00:05:08 And it's raised up a horn of salvation for us in a house of his servant. David, I need to interject here. He's talking about a horn of salvation in the house of David. In other words, he's not talking about his own son. His son was in the house of Aaron in the house of Levi. This is the house of David. So Zachariah is not talking about his own son. He does a little bit later on here, but let's pick it up. He says he has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant, David, as he spoke by the mouth of his Holy profits, from of old that we should be saved from our enemies. And from the hand of all who hate us to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his Holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father, Abraham, to grant that we being delivered from the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. Speaker 1 00:06:06 Uh, now he, he switches and he speaks of his own son. He says, and you child will be called the prophet of the most high for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the way of peace. Well, okay. He was speaking of John near, but very quickly, very quickly switched back again to talking about the most high that John would go before the most high go before the Lord. He, he equates the most high with the Lord here. John is going before God here. And this is to give knowledge of salvation to his people. Speaker 1 00:06:57 And earlier he talked about being delivered from the hand of enemies. This is a very Israel oriented prophecy or blessing that Zachariah makes. This is very much oriented, perhaps even towards the common expectation, then that the Messiah would deliver Israel from their physical political oppression under the Roman empire, except he does say the sunrise shall visit from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death in the old Testament. And you'll see it also in the new Testament when they speak of those who sit in darkness, they're not talking about Israel, they're talking about the Gentiles. So Zachariah is hinting at something that will become much clearer very soon that Jesus has for everyone, but there's a very high expectation of a very special child coming, not John, but Jesus, a very high expectation of an extraordinary child. And that expectation is spoken even more emphatically in chapter two, verse 10, when the angel appears to the shepherds in the field and says to them fear, not for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy. That will be for all the people for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior who is Christ the Lord, and this will be assigned for you. You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. Speaker 2 00:08:25 So here we have, we have angels reporting it in English, Speaker 1 00:08:30 Great glory and a savior who is Christ the Lord. Speaker 2 00:08:35 And, and, and he's coming, Speaker 1 00:08:38 Coming in great glory, but he's coming in humility wrapped and saw and in Claus lying in a manger, but don't miss. This is good news of a great joy. That will be for all the people. Sometime I would think eight days later, based on the law, they Jesus to the temple for the purification. And there they met a man whose name was Simeon, who is described in chapter two, verse 25 as a righteous and devout man waiting for the constellation of Israel, to whom it had been revealed by the Holy spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord Christ. And when he saw Jesus, the young eight day old baby, he said, Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace. According to your word for my eyes have seen your salvation, that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people. Speaker 1 00:09:36 Israel, Jesus is now at eight days old, certainly weighing less than 10 pounds. Not able to talk. He's coming, humility God in the flesh. And yet he is a light for revelation to the Gentiles. And then Simeon saw this and here we see God in the flesh, all of his godhood the one on whom all humanity would depend. And yet a babe in arms and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for assigned it as opposed, and a sword will Pierce or your own soul also. So that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. Jesus comes into the world, a babe with all these prophecies, with all these expectations. And so we open our look at him with this expectation. I suppose, if you were there at the time, it must have been a kind of a questioning expectation. Could this be real? Could this be true? Could this be the one on whom we've been waiting? Could this be the one on whom even the Gentiles without knowing it have been waiting their salvation as well? Could this be the one who brings light to the darkness? Could this Speaker 3 00:11:02 Be the lawn? Speaker 1 00:11:04 Well, as we follow Jesus through the pages of the gospels, we find out who he is. We find out that there's plenty of reason. Not only to know that he's got that extraordinary nature, what it takes to be the one for all the world. We find incredible uniqueness, incredible power, incredible character beyond any other character ever lived, ever imagined. It's his incredible incomparable character, as I say, and too good to be false, that reveals his reality. We get a taste of it beginning at the time of his birth, much more to come. I'm Tom Gilson for the thinking Christian podcast. Speaker 3 00:11:49 Thank you for listening. Speaker 0 00:11:54 The thinking Christian podcast is copyright by Thomas Gilson for more information, visit the thinking Christian [email protected]. Speaker 3 00:12:04 <inaudible>.

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