“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
Last week we learned that Christianity is a reasonable faith. Faith is trust developed through the examination of reliable information, such as that of an eyewitness account. And reason is the ability of your mind to process this information and use your intellect to come to real, true, and logical conclusions. The reliability of Christianity rests upon real, concrete factual evidence. Thus, one should examine Christianity in the same manner an investigative journalist would examine a crime scene. Follow the evidence where it leads. It will always lead you to the truth. This week we want to begin to examine the evidence and the first evidence we must consider is fulfilled prophecy.
Luke, a Gentile physician, historian and theologian, set out more than 1900 years ago to carefully investigate every piece of information he could gather concerning the life and ministry of a man called Jesus. Notice in verse 1, that Luke informs us of the many who had undertaken the task of drawing up an account of the things that had been fulfilled among them. First, Luke wanted to make sure that we have an accurate account. Drawing up an account refers to the act of writing a sequence of events as they happened, in chronological order. Moreover, Luke refers to these events as the fulfillment of prophecy. Many of the events that happened among them had been prophesied, or foretold, hundreds of years before they happened. By the way, the Bible is the only book in the world that contains fulfilled prophecy.
To what prophecies was Luke referring? He was referring to the Old Testament (OT) which predicted hundreds of years earlier of One who would come into our world and would be called the Son of God, the Messiah—the Savior of the world. These prophecies told the manner in which he would be born as well as the location. Moreover, the OT predicted that this Savior would do incredible things…things that can only be called supernatural miracles.
Let’s consider a few examples of some of these prophecies. The prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before the birth of Christ. In Isaiah 7:14, he prophesied, Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign (evidence): The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. In Isaiah 9:6, he prophesied, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
In Luke chapter 1, Luke records that a virgin woman by the name of Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel who informed her that she was with child. Gabriel said to her, “Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:30-33). In Luke 2 we learn about the time and place of this supernatural birth.
Let’s consider another example. The prophet Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah. In Micah 5:2 he prophesied, But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Micah informs us 700 years before the birth of Jesus, that the Messiah would be born in the town of Bethlehem Ephrathah. This is an amazing prophecy as there were two different Bethlehems’ in Israel, one in the north and one in the south. Not only was Jesus born in Bethlehem, but he was born in the southern one, Bethlehem Ephrathah.
The prophet Isaiah also prophesied that the Messiah would perform many wonderful miracles. Isaiah 35:4-6 says, Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
In Matthew 11, when John the Baptist was in prison his faith waned and he sent one of the disciples to ask Jesus “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor!” What was Jesus trying to convey to John while he was in prison? Jesus was reassuring him that he was the promised Messiah.
These are just a few of the over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that were all fulfilled in one man…the man called JESUS! Follow the evidence wherever it leads. Fulfilled prophecy will lead a reasonable man to Jesus.