My children are growing up in a culture when information is readily available to them at their fingertips. But this wasn’t always the case. I remember doing a research paper for my sixth grade class on the space program. And do you want to know where most of my information came from? Books. Yes, you read that right. Books. I had to go to the library and rely on old newspapers, magazines, and encyclopedias.
But everything is different now.
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While it may seem like a good thing that we can search out information so easily on the internet, it has also made a way for anyone and everyone to post whatever they want on any given topic. The internet paved the way for us to readily locate information that is often unreliable and in some cases completely false.
If the internet has taught me anything, however, it’s that everyone has their own thoughts, opinions, and interpretations of events. (And apparently we all feel the need to share them with everyone we know, but that’s another topic for another day!) We all have “proof” that our viewpoint is correct and everyone else is wrong.
The people of Jesus’ day wanted proof. They wanted Jesus to perform signs and wonders. They wanted Him to be a political powerhouse who would swoop in and redeem them from an oppressive Roman government. And they looked forward to a Messiah that would establish a physical Kingdom with a throne here on earth allowing the Israelites to be the greatest Kingdom in all of history.
Truth be told, Jesus gave them proof… it just wasn’t the proof they were expecting.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” – Luke 24:44-48 (NIV)
The Old Testament is proof that Jesus is indeed our Messiah.
- The beginning of it all…
As we discovered in a previous post, most scholars believe that the first Messianic prophecy can be found in Genesis 3:15, proving that Jesus was the plan from the very beginning in the Garden of Eden. Later on, God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed through His seed. This promise is echoed throughout the entirety of the Bible. Jesus would indeed come through Abraham’s bloodline (Matthew 1:1-17), and all nations would be blessed through Him.
The New Testament reminds us of this truth yet again in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Jesus was indeed Abraham’s seed; and when we choose to belong to Christ, we become part of that seed inheriting all of the promises that come with being an heir (most importantly we inherit salvation).
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. …If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:16, 29 (NIV)
- The Law…
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” – Matthew 5:17 (NIV)
While many have their own interpretation of what Jesus may have meant in this passage, there are some key points I think we can all agree on.
1) Jesus put an end to the system of sacrificing animals when He became the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. (Hebrews 9:12)
2) Jesus became our High Priest taking the place of the Levitical priesthood found in the Old Testament. (Hebrews 7:23-24)
3) We have become the temple of the Holy Spirit in place of the old physical temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
4) Jesus ultimately fulfilled the Law by obeying it fully as a man, yet atoning for our sin as the Son of God. He became our sacrificial Lamb atoning for sins He never committed, and He did so because of His great love for the world.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. – Romans 10:4
- The Psalms…
Many people don’t necessarily think of the Psalms when pondering Messianic prophecies, but there is an abundance of prophetic references to Him found in this amazing book of songs. Not to mention, Jesus Himself referred to the Psalms on numerous occasions. We also know that King David, who wrote many of the Psalms, was promised that the Messiah would be one of His descendants and that He would “reign on his throne forever.” That descendant would be none other than Jesus Christ.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end. – Luke 1:32-33
- The Prophets…
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. – Isaiah 53:5-6
The Old Testament prophets spoke of the coming Messiah and His redemption quite often. But when their Messiah finally came, many of the Jews weren’t expecting Him to suffer. They did not anticipate His death, and they certainly weren’t expecting a King who would reign from a heavenly throne. They knew the Old Testament prophecies well but had overlooked most of the imagery referring to a suffering Messiah. (Keep in mind that the prophecies also predicted that many of the Jews would reject Him when He finally came.)
But while the Jewish people desperately wanted freedom from Rome, God knew better. He knew they needed spiritual freedom far more. Jesus could have come and done exactly what they expected, but there would have been no cross and no redemption for our sins. As the book of Hebrews points out, their sacrificial system was imperfect and incapable of removing sin and guilt (Hebrews 10:1-18). It served only as a shadow of what would eventually come through Jesus Christ. Only the death and resurrection of Jesus could truly set them free and make them whole and blameless.
And this is not only true of the Jews but the Gentiles as well. The whole earth needed to be saved from sin and death first and foremost.
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? – Matthew 16:26 (NLT)
Our Messiah on His mission set out to do far more than rescue us in this life. He defeated sin and death making it possible for us to be truly free in Him.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.