If anything the last year has shown us is that nothing is certain. The only certain thing is that… there is nothing certain. Few things can be counted on concretely. Few things live up to their claims. Remember that scene from A CHRISTMAS STORY where Ralphy gets the secret decoder ring. He had heard all the claims of what it would do. He had hoped it would open him up to new worlds of information, secrets, and purpose… And he found it only opened him up to a commercial for Ovalteen. He was disgusted. Deep within the human soul is a longing for something certain. Something confident. Something that can live up to Its claims.
JESUS OFFERS THE CONFIDENT CLAIM THAT HE IS THE SUPERMAN AND THE MAGIC ROCK
CLAIM #1: We’ve Been Looking for Superman
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
The king theme for Matthew is King of the Jews. He wants his Jewish audience to know that Jesus is the hero they’ve waited for. He is the king they’ve prayed for. He is the predicted Savior and King. He notes that wise men from the East, probably from Babylon and instructed by Daniel’s ancestors when he was a major political figure in Babylon. They note that they are looking for the king. They are searching for superman. When they tell the king is upset? Why? Imagine telling the king, you are looking for the king. Imagine coming up to superman and asking if he has seen the real superman. Herod is out of control. He is troubled and all Jerusalem with him.
All through time there has been a hunger for a hero. A Super-man. Did you know the term Superman was made popular by Neitschze and his mentor who said that the main ethic in the world was to will power over others. They taught that every truth claim is a powerplay. Every act was actually a way to get yourself more power and more control. Two comic book writers from Ohio developed a superhero which they named after this concept by Neitschze. They wanted to show the opposite was true. They wanted to show that there was an all powerful one who would use his power –not to accumulate power and control for himself, but instead would use his power to fight for truth, justice, and the American way.
The Bible teaches that we all are looking for a hero like that. A Superman. And God promised in the early chapters of the Bible that mankind was in need of a Superman. A God man. A man who was 100% God. And 100% Man. He promised that one day he would send the Super-man to earth. And this super-man would allow himself to be killed by the Kryptonite of evil, but raise himself up, overpower death, and provide a way to raise us up on the final days. So here we are “halfway” into the Bible in a book called Isaiah. Isaiah lays out another Claim for the coming Superman. He says,
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
Don’t miss the claim here. A Child will be Born. So this Superman will be born like a Child… BUT, he will also be a SON that is given. This Son-Child. This God-Man. This Superman will be both a human born child, and a God given Son of God. Now this idea might seem primitive and silly and superstitious to you. But look at the claim before you dismiss it. In order for God to come and fully sympathize with us, to empathize with us, he had to be able to “substitute for us” To take our place and deal with our human troubles. God had to know what it was like to “walk in our shoes.” But if he was merely a man, he’d have the same problems we do. He’d struggle with envy, impatience, anger, criticalness, etc like we do. He’d be like the Greek gods like Zeus and others. They were “god,” but they had human fallacies like lust, wrath, selfishness, self-consciousness. A man or god who was just as broken morally –as we are- couldn’t save us from something they struggled with. So this Superman had to be BOTH, fully moral heroic, loving, powerful and God. While close enough to dwell with us, substitute for us, etc.
CLAIM SUPPORT. So, now we move to the front half of the Bible and Jesus shows up. An Angel appears to Mary and says, A child will be born to you. This promise from Isaiah is made 100’s of years prior. And the Angel says, But you are a virgin, so what was conceived didn’t come fully from you. This child will be born, but this son has been given!!! What are the chances you could make such a specific and outlandish prediction and half it fulfilled 100’s of years earlier? Several mathematicians have calculated the possibilities. etc
Where will Superman be Born? Not in some major city like Metropolis, no no. Superman would be born raised in Smallville. Jesus was not born historically in Jerusalem, but in a small little town called Bethlehem. A little town predicted 100’s of years earlier.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘ But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
How can we know that Jesus is the One we’ve been waiting for? What is His claim support? Matthew tells us that his exact birth place was predicted. And it was a 1/1000000 shot that a man would/could be born there and meet the Biblical specifics. Matthew is saying, “Here is the superman we’ve been waiting for…”
APPLICATION: SUPERMAN RESCUED US SO WE CAN RESCUE OTHERS
Perhaps you are thinking, “So What!!” What does this matter? Well first, if Jesus really lived up to the claims. The dozens and dozens of claims, you can be confident that his is not just some nice fairy tale. Jesus, like products we sell or produce has outstanding Claim Support. If it was just one claim, we wouldn’t be confident. But he has 100’s of specific researchable in history claims that we can validate and be confident. And if we are confident. We can know that our movies, our dreams, and our fairy tales speak of something our heart wants. There is a Superman who can come in and save the day. There is someone who will fight for us.
There was a movie that came out a few years ago called, “Waiting for Superman” It told the story of Michelle Rhee. I recently saw an interview with Michelle A. Rhee. She was chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools from 2007 to 2010. She moved into Washington D.C., put her kids in the public school system and did one of the most controversial education overhauls in American history. Rhee inherited a troubled system; there had been six school chiefs in the previous 10 years, students historically had below-average scores on standardized tests, and according to Rhee, only 8% of eighth graders were at grade level in mathematics. Upon taking office, Rhee immediately began to make a series of radical changes that relied on top-down accountability and results from standardized tests. She said there was no time to waste because children were being robbed of their futures. In her first year on the job, Rhee unapologetically closed 23 schools, fired 36 principals and cut approximately 121 office jobs. You can imagine the firestorm she unleashed. But, as she was talking at this conference, she said that her mom was visiting on the weekend that it all hit the fan. Her name was being slammed in every newspaper, news story, etc. Her mom pulled her aside that night and said, “When you were a little girl, you never cared much what people said about you. We thought you’d be anti social, but that trait has served you well in this position.” Michelle laughed and spoke of how her focus and determination as a child was a character trait (a unique BENT), that her parents honored and fanned into flame. Michelle said she was driven by the reality that kids were being failed by the system and needed to be saved or rescued… Ironically, in this interview, Michelle shared that she is still wrestling with Jesus and his claim to be able to rescue us. She said that her pastor and fiance have been helping her wrestling with Christ’s claims. SHE WANTED TO RESCUE OTHERS IN LIGHT OF THE POSSIBILITY THAT GOD WOULD RESCUE HER.
Claim #2: MAGIC ROCKS (Grows in Minutes, Lasts For Years)
In his book, Baby Boomer Toys, the 91st greatest toy was MAGIC ROCKS. This was a mineral you drops into the water and it grew mountains in the water. The tag line was “Grows in minutes, but lasts for years.” This toy gave you a chance to see a miraculous mineral go into the water, but the real impact of your deposit came later.
The same is true in the Bible. The Bible says that When Jesus comes, he will only be on earth briefly. And his impact would grow for the “minutes he is here”, but the full impact of his kingdom and final work would last for years. As Matthew predicts the “where he will be born” in Bethlehem, he then says that he will be a Governor. A King. A Ruler. A Rock will govern and shepherd and rule Israel. Let’s continue looking at Matthew’s account of the birth of Christ.
MAtthew 2:6 For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
This prediction of Christ as ruler and governor is made in Isaiah and Daniel as well.
And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever.
The Bible teaches that Jesus would come twice. At Christmas he comes as the baby. The son. The Child. But he would return again as a ruler. And his government would offer a worldwide government that would bring about peace, joy, and tranquility to the world. Just as MAGIC ROCKS.. grow in minutes and then last for years. Christmas would be an initial deposit of God’s kingdom, but the final growth of that kingdom would come years later in the future. Daniel says it this way…
45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
This dream by Daniel, the guy who was thrown in the lions’ den saw that the Great God would send a giant stone that would come and destroy the kingdoms of the world. Without belaboring the details. Daniel is written during a time of the Babylonions. Daniel accurately predicts that the Persians would destroy the Babylonians. He then predicted Greece and Alexander the Great would destroy the Persians. The Greeks would then be destroyed by the Romans… And during the time of the Romans, a Rock…not made from hands… A Sent one from God would come and destroy the Roman Empire.
A Scotland Yard Detective named Sir Robert Anderson was knighted by the queen for his work calculating the numbers related to the 69 weeks of Daniel. He investigated claims of Daniel’s prediction about kingdoms. As we shall show, the time-line of the 69 weeks is amazingly accurate. During the late 19th century by an evangelical Scotland Yard inspector. He calculated the number of days Daniel predicted between the entrance of the Messiah to the Decree to go back to the promised land by Cyrus. Daniel predicted there would be 173,880 days later the 69 weeks terminated. The time span abuts perfectly with Palm Sunday, the very first official and public appearance Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach as Messiah. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel 9:25 which speaks of “Messiah the Prince”. This was a pivotal day in holy history. It was the first day, (and the only day), in which Jesus ever presented himself in a political way. On that day, (and on that day only), He was showcased before Jerusalem and the Holy People as “Messiah the Prince”. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on the 10th day of Nisan, thus fulfilling the prophecy for the terminus of the 69 weeks. It was 5,888 moons and 8 days or 173,880 days after the Edict of Artaxerxes given to Nehemiah. This is superb accuracy. It is not new data. The work was first done by Scotland Yard Inspector Sir Robert Anderson. He wrote the book, “The Coming Prince” back in the late 19th Century. Our next article homes in on Sir Robert Anderson. And this article gives the details for the calculation of the 69 weeks.
Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach, our “Messiah, the Prince” entered through the eastern gate on that epic day. It was just four days before His crucifixion. The Hebrew calendar/lunar date was 10th day of the Nisan moon, 32 A.D. This was Palm Sunday and it was four days before the sacrifice lambs were slain on Passover. (Nisan 14).
Josephus was a Jewish historian. He records an amazing account about Alexander the Great.
When Alexander the Great entered Jerusalem. One of the priests ran out to him and showed him the prophecy of Daniel that said, years earlier, that a Greek leader would conquer the Persians who conquered the Babylonians. Josephus tells us that Alexander the Great was so impressed that the Hebrew God has predicted the Greek’s rise, he didn’t destroy the temple. The same Daniel whose claims impressed Alexander the Great about Greece, made predictions about Jesus as the Magic Rock. As the superman.
Jesus is the Superman. Jesus is the Magic Rock. Only instead of fairy tales or bedtime stories, he gives claim support to support his claims that He would come once to offer forgiveness and leadership. Then he would return to destroy evil, death, suffering once and for all.’
Anchor Yourself to His Confident Claims
We began today talking about our need for a confident claim. To have something to rest on in uncertain times. We saw today that there are two reasons we can be confident that Jesus is who he says he is… He is the Predicted Superman… And the Predicted Magic Rock. This is not some fairy tale, but a historic reality rooted in specific prophetic predictions. And we can anchor ourselves to Jesus and His Confident Claims during difficult.
Anchor Yourself to His Confident Claims….as you watch the news and feel like the world is out of control. Know that nothing surprised Him.
Anchor Yourself to His Confident Claims… as you feel the winds of difficult blow over you this Christmas… If this is a season of doubt or difficulty for you…. Anchor Yourself to the truth that no kingdom. No dictator. No Act of History can derail His plan. He will use the good and the bad as fodder for His work.
Anchor Yourself to His Confident Claims… as you and I approach Christmas, we will be bombarded with expectation and pressures to focus and be busy about everything… but remembering Him. Who He who was. What He did. His claims and fulfillment. Anchor Yourself to Christ this season.
Andy Stanley tells a story about Anchoring to Confident Claims. He and his wife went with a friend who had chartered a private sailboat/yaught. They had sailed down to a tropical area and were enjoying the beautiful sun, beaches, and relaxation. The captain of the ship came to them and told them danger was coming. He had heard on the news that a Hurricane level storm was headed their way. It was too late to sail around it. It was too late to outrun it. Andy and his wife looked around. The skies were blue. The sun was shining. Kids and families were playing. Could they believe their captain’s claims? While others were swimming and relaxing, Andy and His wife prepared themselves for the storm. They watched as the captain moved his boat OUT in the harbor and anchored multiple anchors into the ocean floor. The captain then swam to one side of the beach tying a line from the yaught to the tree. He swam to another side of the beach and tied another line from the yaught to a large tree. All afternoon they prepared. All afternoon, they ANCHORED THEMSELVES TO THE CAPTAINS CONFIDENT CLAIMS. While others swam, they packed. While others laid out in the sun, they ran cables and lines. That evening, the storm hit…. It was devastating. Thousands of ships were sunk. Millions of dollars in damage was unleashed…. But this one little boat stood the storm. Why? It was anchored. Anchored in multiple places. Anchored to the Captain’s claims.
This Christmas season, Anchor Yourself to His Confident Claims. Multiple lines of prophecy tie our Christmas faith to Christmas evidence. When doubts, storms, and challenges come, we want to be anchored to the one thing that doesn’t move.
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