Have you heard the most unbelievable story ever told?
As far as stories go, I don’t think there has ever been one that has gone more viral than this one. Yet, this story has some of the most unbelievable tales in it ever told.
Despite the absolutely wild claims made in this unbelievable story, there are literally millions of people that believe it.
In fact, throughout the last couple thousand years, many have gone well beyond just believing it. They have actually been willing to die, sometimes gruesome deaths, all because they wouldn’t recant their claim that this story is true.
Of course, I am talking about the original Christmas story.
What Makes the Christmas Story So Unbelievable?
Oh, let me count the ways that the Christmas story from the Bible is unbelievable! Here are just a few of the details that stand out as outrageous claims:
1. A Virgin Gives Birth
Really?!? Isn’t this a pretty unbelievable claim? When you really think about it, this has got to be one of the most outlandish assertions ever put forth. Are we really expected to believe a virgin became pregnant without artificial insemination or any other human interaction and gave birth to a baby?
Think about it for a minute. If your teenage daughter turned up pregnant, then claimed that it was God that made her pregnant. Would you believe her? I’d send her for some serious therapy.
Look at it from another perspective. If you or your son or your brother were dating a girl and she came up pregnant, but claimed she was still a virgin. Would you buy it? No way! I’d believe she had been running around and was trying, in some very bizarre way, to cover it up. This is very hard to believe!
2. Angels Appear to People
Have you ever seen an angel? What are angels? Would I even know one if I saw one? The whole idea of angels (whatever they are) appearing to people to explain very strange happenings seems extremely hard to believe.
Yet, the Christmas story claims that an angel first appeared to Mary to let her know she was going to become pregnant despite the fact she was a virgin. The angel also told Mary to name her baby Jesus and that he was going to be called the Son of God. Imagine your friend laying this story on you! Would you believe it?
Wait, that’s not all! Then, an angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him not to be afraid to take the pregnant Mary as his wife because her baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. What?!?
Finally, an angel appears to the shepherds in the fields tending their sheep to let them know a baby was born in a manger in Bethlehem. The angel also tells these shepherds that this baby is an anointed one from God. Okaaaay, pretty weird stuff, if you ask me.
What on earth were these people smoking that they had visions of supernatural beings telling them such outrageous things? Apparently, ancient Israel was a pretty groovy place, if you know what I mean.
3. A Star Guided Wise Men from the East
Let me give you yet another amazing claim of the Christmas story. We are to believe that a special star appeared in the sky overhead where Mary’s baby was born. It has been called the Star of Bethlehem.
We are also to believe that some wise men noticed this special star and that it somehow guided them directly to the place where this particular baby was born.
Come on! This star wasn’t exactly a handheld GPS receiver. Bethlehem was a tiny village back in those days and I’m sure that a lot of other babies were also being born all over the place about the same time that Mary gave birth.
Isn’t this whole idea of a star leading men from the East to the place where Mary had her baby just a little too far-fetched?
4. The Rest of the Story
Of course, the bizarre and unbelievable claims of the Christmas story don’t really stop with the birth of Mary’s baby. It goes well beyond that. Way, way, way beyond that!
Jesus grows up and ticks off the Jews and the Romans enough that they join forces to arrest him, beat him and finally torture him to death in a way reserved for their very worst criminals. Of course, given all the crazy claims he makes (I won’t go into them here) and the story of his birth, it is easy to imagine that they thought he was completely insane.
It is after he is dead and buried that the story really gets unbelievable. His friends claim that he returns from the dead! He just gets up and walks off!
For them, this is the final proof that he is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
His friends believe that somehow by dying on a Roman cross he has paid the penalty of all of our wrongdoings. They start going around telling everyone that if you will simply believe this incredulous story that you can receive God’s forgiveness and live eternally in heaven after you die.
As Paul Harvey would say, this is the rest of the story. Boy, is it a doozy or what? Again, the most unbelievable story ever told, but yet one that has endured and been more viral than anything that ever hit the front page of Digg.
This Unbelievable Story Is Why We Celebrate Christmas
God chose things the world considers foolish…
1 Corinthians 1:27 (NLT)
Millions the world over believe this wildly unbelievable story. Those that believe are called Christians and I am one of them. It isn’t very popular to be a Christian. It never has been. It takes guts to believe a story that God Himself knew would seem foolish to many on the surface.
You have to dig into it before it starts to unveil its truth to you.
If we were face-to-face right now, you might ask me why I believe something that admittedly seems far-fetched and over-the-top crazy. Well, because I’ve dug below the surface. I’ve given it a fair chance and here’s what I’ve found:
- The numerous documents we have that tell the stories about Jesus in the Bible have been critically examined by numerous scholars and are generally considered historically reliable and trustworthy.
- As I already mentioned, all but one of Jesus’ closest friends died gruesome deaths because they would not recant their eyewitness testimony to the truth of this story despite how unbelievable it seems at first.
- Archaeology supports the historical reliability of the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ life. Why would the writers go to such painstaking detail for a work of fiction?
- There is a pile of circumstantial evidence that also supports the accuracy of the claims made in the Christmas story.
Still, it takes a leap of faith to believe this unbelievable story. I don’t think anyone would argue that. This is the way it was designed. I challenge you to check it out for yourself at least once during your lifetime. Here’s what I would suggest:
- Study some of the evidence I linked to above.
- Read some of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament for yourself. If you don’t have a Bible, you can find one online or at your local library.
- Ask a friend if you can attend a few church services with them.
Look at how long this story has endured. Look at how many people have given everything they have to it. Look at the millions of others that have believed. If it were a complete work of fiction, don’t you think it would have been exposed by now?
Do you believe the most unbelievable story ever told?
Photo by Secret Tenerife