There was nothing peculiar about the birth of Jesus. He was not God incarnate and no Virgin Mother bore him. The Church in its ancient zeal fathered a myth and became bound to it as dogma. Since Christians largely continue to suppose that their faith stands or falls by the doctrine of the deity of Christ the dogma goes on being sustained to the detriment of what is really significant about the person and contribution of Jesus. It is pathetic to have theologians, whether orthodox or liberal, trying to save themselves and the credit of the Church's teaching by questing for terms which enable them to retain what they should have outgrown.
These sentiments are of course, not mine. They are taken from Hugh Schonfield's book, The Passover Plot. His words are testimony that unbelief, disbelief and heresy are still enemies of the truth and that the church must be vigilant.
What is shocking to me, is that an increasing number of Christian theologians agree with him. A significant number of liberal New Testament scholars openly deny the validity of the miraculous associated with the life of Jesus. They explain that we really can’t trust the Bible to tell us the true story about Jesus.
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you dismiss the miraculous you deny the divinity of Jesus. Once you deny the divinity of Jesus, He becomes merely a Jewish peasant who entertains visions of grandeur, is motivated by political passion, becomes swept up into the ‘Kingdom Movement’ of John that Baptist, and is ultimately killed by the Romans as a nuisance.
Some of you may remember an ABC special that was televised in 2006. It was entitled, The Search for Jesus and was billed as “ ... a journalist’s exploration of the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth.” That journalist was Peter Jennings. In his opening monologue, Jennings tells us, “Jesus has had and continues to have an extraordinary influence in people’s lives.” He concludes by saying, “The search for Jesus is an irresistible story.”
The only problem was that this highly-hyped show shed precious little light on the person and nature of Jesus of Nazareth. Jenning’s ultimate conclusion? “All we really know about Jesus is that he was Jewish and that he was born during a turbulent time.”
It’s hard to imagine how the Jesus that Jennings portrayed could have an “extraordinary influence” on anyone.
Actually, we know much about the life of Jesus. It merely depends on what sources we choose to accept and believe. The bottom line is this: If we accept the conclusions of today’s liberal scholars and their presuppositions concerning the Gospel accounts, then indeed there is not much we can know about Jesus since most liberal scholars view the Gospels as historically unreliable accounts of the life of Jesus.
If, however, we accept God’s truth as revealed in the Scriptures—assuming the Gospels to be authoritative, and historically reliable—then there is a great deal that we can know about Jesus. In fact we can know Him personally!
There is noting more incredible that we are asked to believe about Jesus than is found here in the prologue to John’s gospel. He maintains that the eternal God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the Ancient of Days, willingly gave up His heavenly status, taking the form of a man, and became subject to the death of the cross! How incredible!
Some of you here this evening may need to experience the New Birth. It is not a physical birth. According to John, being born again is not something you can accomplish of your own will and desire. The new birth is entirely of God. This new birth is made possible because "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." Jesus Christ is the living Word. He came into the world to experience life as you do, to know the hurts and pains and temptations we all go through. He came to bring you light and life.