I. GOD SENT HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON INTO THE WORLD TO REDEEM THE WORLD.
A. Jesus said that He had come to seek and to save, that which was lost.
1. Peter wrote that we are redeemed not with corruptible things such as silver and gold from our empty life styles, but with the precious blood of Jesus who was slain as a lamb without spot or blemish.
2. Because Satan knew the mission of Jesus he tried to get rid of him even before He could be born.
a. Satan knew that He was to come from the seed of Abraham through Isaac, and Jacob and David, so he tried to destroy the Jews.
(1) During the reign of Ahasuerus the king of Persia a decree was actually issued that on a certain day all of the Jews were to be killed.
(2) God knowing the diabolical plot of Satan had placed a beautiful Jewish girl as queen who was able to intercede for her people.
b. At His birth Satan tried to destroy Him by having all of Jewish boys killed who were in Bethlehem of the age of two years and younger.
(1) Again the Lord thwarted Satan's plot by warning Joseph to take the baby and His mother and flee to Egypt.
(2) By these things two predictions of the Old Testament prophets were fulfilled. "In Rama was there a voice of lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." And, Hosea the prophet had said, "Out of Egypt have I called My Son."
c. When Jesus was ready to begin His public ministry, Satan took Him to a high mountain and showed Him all of the kingdoms of the world, and declared that he would give them to Jesus if Jesus would just bow down and worship him.
(1) Satan is suggesting that the painful pathway to cross is not necessary. The kingdom can be attained without suffering.
B. When Peter was talking of the death of Jesus to the Jews he said, "And you according to the predeterminate counsel and foreknowledge of God with your wicked hands, have crucified and slain."
1. Notice that he said predeterminate counsel. The crucifixion of Jesus was no accident or fluke.
2. Whose predeterminate counsel, and where was it held?
a. Revelation 13:3
declares that Jesus Christ was slain from the foundation of the world.
b. The Triune Godhead in their counsel to create the Universe and the earth and place man upon the earth to develop a meaningful loving fellowship, who said, "Let us make man after Our image and likeness." In their plan to make man knew that he had to made a self-determinate being if the love was to be meaningful. There had to be the capacity of choice with something desirable to choose.
c. God knew that man would make the wrong choice and bring death and darkness into the world. But that there would be many men and women, boys and girls, who if given the chance, would respond to the supreme manifestation of God's love, and would choose to live in a loving relationship with God following after the Spirit.
d. For these who would believe if given the knowledge and the chance, God would manifest His love by sending His only begotten Son into the world to give His life as a ransom for their sins.
3. Through the centuries of man's history God was carefully laying out His plan and revealing it in bits and pieces to the prophets.
a. Isaiah declared, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called ----"
b. Micah declared that Bethlehem would be the place of His birth. "And Thou Bethlehem of Epharata-----"
c. The women of Bethlehem would be weeping for their children for they had been slain. Rachel was buried in Bethlehem, so the prophecy "Rachel weeping for her child" would refer to the women in Bethlehem.
d. He would make His entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey. e. When the child grew into manhood, He would be despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
f. He would be betrayed by a friend for thirty pieces of silver that would later be thrown down in the temple and then used to buy a potter's field.
g. He would not speak up in His own defense. As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
h. He would then be crucified and the soldiers in charge of the crucifixion would divide His garments among themselves but would cast lots for His robe.
i. He would be numbered with transgressors in His death, i.e. crucified between thieves.
j. He would come on the scene 483 years after the commandment went forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. But upon being revealed would be cut off, or crucified.
II. IN OUR TEXT WE FIND AMOS ADDING A INTERESTING DETAIL TO THE EVENTS OF THE DAY THAT HE IS TO GIVE HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR OUR SINS.
A. "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth on a clear day." He relates this to the mourning as for an only son.
1. Luke and Matthew tell us that on the day that Jesus was crucified, that at noon there was darkness over all the earth until three in the afternoon, Luke adds that the sun was darkened.
2. Some have sought to relate this to a full eclipse of the sun, but a full eclipse of the sun would be impossible at Passover for the Passover was related to the full moon.
3. This darkness was a special phenomena created by God as if to symbolize the darkest moment in the history of man.
4. Jesus had said, "I am the light of the world, he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
5. Now wicked men are trying to put out that light. Why? Jesus declared because they loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil, and they would not come to the light lest their evil deeds be revealed.
B. The first sin was suicide. When Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, he committed suicide, for God said, "In the day that you eat of it, you will surely die."
1. The second recorded sin was fratricide, when Cain killed his brother Abel.
2. This is the darkest moment in all of time, diacide, when man endeavored to kill God.
3. To symbolize the fact that darkness was ruling the hearts of man, God allowed the sun to be darkened at noon. At the very time that the sun is usually shining in it's greatest strength He darkened it.
4. What a picture this is of man who rejects the truth of God's grace and love. He walks in darkness, he really does not know where he is going. No real purpose for his existence, he is just existing not really living.
5. The tragic story of so many people is that when they are coming into the hour of their greatest shining, a dark veil is drawn across their lives. The sad epitaph across the tomb reads, "He loved darkness rather than light."
C. Can you just ignore the many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in His birth, life and death, can you just pass them off as fortuitous occurrences of accidental circumstances? Give me a break. Do you know what the odds are? Just 8 of the predictions are one to the twenty seventh power.