We are in the Advent season, a time to wait and look forward to Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. In our celebration, we embrace the enduring truths of the Bible and the Christmas story. These truths remind us of the love of God and the promise of salvation.
Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a town in Judea, to a virgin named Mary. According to the Bible, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Messiah’s birth was announced to shepherds by an angel. Wise men from the East were also guided by a star to Bethlehem, where they paid homage to Jesus.
Jesus spent His childhood in Nazareth, a small town in Galilee. (Luke 4:16)
The Bible also tells us:
- When Jesus began his public ministry, He travelled throughout Galilee and Judea, teaching about the Kingdom of God and performing miracles. The miracles were signs of Jesus’ power and authority.
- Jesus’ ministry aroused the anger of the Jewish religious leaders, who saw Him as a threat to their authority. They accused Him of blasphemy and had Him arrested by the Roman authorities. He was crucified on a hill called Calvary. He was buried in a tomb but was resurrected on the third day.
- After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples for 40 days before ascending into heaven. He promised to return one day to judge the living and the dead.
What do disbelievers say?
Today, more than 50 years after Apollo 11, there are still claims that the moon landing was a grand hoax.
Despite overwhelming evidence, some people still claim that the Earth is flat, and the Bible is a fake story. (Interestingly, even the Bible alludes to a round Earth in Isa 40:22 and Prov 8:27)
The Bible says, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will help them to understand the enduring truths.
The Town of Nazareth:
In 2008, René Salm published a book titled “THE MYTH OF NAZARETH, THE INVENTED TOWN OF JESUS.”
He presented so-called “convincing archaeological evidence” that the town of Nazareth was non-existent in the 1st Century, thus implying that the Jesus story is fake.
One of his critics says, “Salm’s personal evaluation of the pottery … reveals his lack of expertise in the area as well as his lack of serious research in the sources.”
Ample archaeological evidence shows that there were already settlements in Nazareth as early as the Middle Bronze Age and through the Iron Age. (Nazareth – Wikipedia)
Here is news that may disappoint atheists who are ecstatic about Salm’s book: Israel announced in 2009 the discovery of a small house in Nazareth dating to the First Century. (https://tinyurl.com/3eyv7pus)
The Pool of Siloam:
In John 9 Jesus made some mud with saliva and put it on the eyes of a blind man and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. As a result, the man was healed of his blindness.
In 2004, archaeologists discovered the stepped remains of the Pool of Siloam near Jerusalem. (https://tinyurl.com/fjnypudc)
This archaeological discovery silenced sceptics who had alleged that the pool was an idea invented by the author of the Gospel of John.
In 2 Chron 32:30, we read that Hezekiah “blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channelled the water down to the west side of the City of David.”
The artificial Pool of Siloam which received water from the Gihon spring was linked to the development of the S-shaped tunnel described in 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chron 32:2-4 in preparation against the threat of invasion by Sennacherib king of Assyria.
The archaeological discoveries of the Siloam Tunnel and the Hebrew inscriptions made by the workmen once again substantiate what the Bible says. (https://tinyurl.com/2endc359)
Discovered in 1879, it is a baked-clay Cylinder that is inscribed with evidence of the capture of Babylon by the Persian king, Cyrus the Great, which we read in the Book of Ezra. (https://tinyurl.com/9m6tmv4t)
Discovered in 1868, it is a basalt monument from 9 BC with 34 lines of text commemorating a victory over Israel by Mesha, king of Moab, and validating the biblical account in 2 Kings 3:4-27 (Mesha Stele – Wikipedia)
Cynics questioned the existence of the Hittites (Gen 15:20) until an excavation in 1906 in the Turkish city of Boğazköy uncovered 10 000 clay tablets providing detailed records disclosing the area as the capital of a Hittite nation some 3500 years ago. (https://tinyurl.com/ypmfd47y)
The Enduring Truths
Evidence corroborating both OT and NT accounts point to the enduring truth of the Bible.
OT prophecies about the Messiah include:
- The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
- The Messiah would be a descendant of David. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
- The Messiah would be a virgin birth. (Isaiah 7:14)
- The Messiah would be a sacrifice for the sins of the world. (Leviticus 17:11)
The fulfillment of these prophecies in the life of Jesus Christ is convincing evidence that He is the Messiah.
In the NT, the accounts in the Gospels are consistent in their basic details, such as the place of Jesus’ birth (Bethlehem), the time of year (winter), and the people involved (Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men). This provides strong evidence that the story is true.
The birth of Jesus Christ is a momentous event that has been celebrated and cherished for centuries. May the enduring truth of the Christmas story – of hope, love, and redemption – continue to inspire people around the world!