Singing >> Blessed be the Lord God Almighty who reigns for evermore.
ROBERT >> This morning let us consider just a few of the amazing predictions concerning Jesus as the Christ that we find in the Bible. Go in your Old Testaments first of all to the book of Micah, to Micah 5:2, where we read about how that the Messiah, the Christ who was to come, would be born in the city of Bethlehem. Here’s what Micah writes.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the one to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
700 years before Jesus’ birth Micah wrote this passage. And it not only predicts the Messiah’s birth, it also proclaims his deity. Did you notice how it spoke of this one who would come and rule Israel? It said that his goings forth are from old, from everlasting. Literally, the “days of eternity”. And so the Messiah is that eternal one who would come into our world.
And the prophet was very specific as to the place of Jesus’ birth. He was to be born in the little town, the small town, Bethlehem of Judah. This would distinguish his birth place from another Bethlehem in the northern part of Palestine. And so you see this very specific prophecy of this eternal one being born here on this earth in that little town of Bethlehem.
Now of course many factors could have worked against the fulfillment of this prophecy. We know that Bethlehem could have been destroyed. Bethlehem could have been abandoned or forgotten. 700 years is a long time for a small town to survive in such a troubled land as Palestine. But it still stood when it was time for that eternal one to come into the earth.
Notice also that Jesus’ earthly parents, they were residents of another city some 80 miles north of Bethlehem, the city of Nazareth. And their arrival in the nativity city was in obedience to the Roman decree which required all people to be registered in the town of their tribal ancestry. Look with me in Luke 2:1-6, where we read about this event.
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. And so all went to be registered, every one to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.”
It was no accident that Joseph was of the house of David and had then to go to enroll in the city of Bethlehem. You consider the distance to be traveled, the poverty of Joseph and Mary, this trip must have been an extreme hardship, especially for a woman so near to giving birth. Nonetheless, Jesus was born. Not in route to, but actually in the predicted city of Bethlehem. His birth was truly beyond his parents’ and his own human control. Obviously this was the result of God’s providence working out the prophecy of the Bible.
Now I want you to notice another amazing prophecy in the scriptures. This time go to Isaiah 40:3. Isaiah wrote some 750 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, and yet he tells us what’s going to happen when Jesus comes into this world. In Isaiah 40:3 we see that Jesus the Messiah would be announced by a herald. Here’s what he wrote.
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Isaiah tells us that there would be one who would prepare the way of the Lord. This herald or messenger would be from the wilderness, and he would announce to the people of Israel that the Messiah had come.
It’s interesting that most of the pretenders to messiahship which we hear about in history have been pretty much their own heralds. Normally, would-be messiahs tend to be rather insecure individuals who prefer to toot their own horns and make no room for powerful prophetic voices to lead the way, as would be the case with the Christ who would come, just as Isaiah had prophesied.
You see, Jesus had a powerful forerunner, John the baptizer. Let’s read about that in Matthew 3:1-6, where Matthew records to us this fulfillment of Isaiah’s Old Testament prophecy. Matthew chapter 3, beginning verse 1.
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’ Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. And then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Here we see this messenger that Isaiah said would come and prepare the way of the Lord. He carried such an incredible anointing that people from all over Israel came out to hear him, hear him tell them that they were sinners in need of repentance.
Then there was a third prophecy from Isaiah 61:1-2. Again remember, this was hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born. But Isaiah was able by inspiration of God to look into the future to tell us about this Messiah who was to come. And here Isaiah tells us that this one would be an anointed deliverer.
Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, in the day of vengeance of our God.”
What a shock it must have been when Jesus would read this same passage from the 61st chapter of Isaiah when he came into his hometown of Nazareth in Luke chapter 4 and then apply it to himself. Read with me Luke chapter 4 beginning in verse 16.
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth, and they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?'”
You see, through their scriptures, the Jews knew many great men who had been empowered by the Spirit of the Lord. They knew about men like Samson and David and Saul. But this empowerment had nearly always been in reference to leading Israel to victory over her enemies. And now this 30 year old son of a carpenter was declaring that the Spirit of the Lord had come upon him; not for military conquest, but for the liberation of the poor, for the brokenhearted, for those who were bound and oppressed.
And surely, as you and I are familiar with the ministry of Jesus Christ, the ministry that followed this announcement proved that this was no vain boast. In the book of Acts, Peter reminded Cornelius’s household that God “anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil,” Acts 10:38.
Still let’s take a look at another Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah who was to come. This time let’s go back to the book of Psalms.
Psalm 118:22. “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”
Messiahs are not supposed to be rejected. They’re to be the saviors of their people. They’re to lead the way into the promised land amidst great popular acclaim. No one in Israel was looking for a king who would fail to win the hearts of the people and would end up being put to death by the very ones he had come do save.
No, such a notion was inconceivable. And for this reason the chief priests of Israel felt total confidence in the rightness of their judgment as they mocked Jesus and they told him, “Come down from the cross, and we’ll believe in you.”
What they failed to realize was that the rejection of the Messiah by Israel had been foretold long ago in the book of Psalms.
No one would have expected the Messiah to be rejected. No one would have expected the Messiah to be betrayed by one of his own company. But it had been prophesied a thousand years before. Look at Psalm 41:9.
“Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
Psalm 41:9 points to that last supper when Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot before he went out to betray him, as recorded in John 13:18-30.
But now I want you to notice the minute details of that betrayal given by Zechariah near the end of the Old Testament in Zechariah 11:12-13. Zechariah tells us details that one could have known except they were inspired by God, who could look into the future. Here’s what he says:
“Then I said to them, ‘If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.’ So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that princely price they set on me.’ So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.”
What’s this talking about? Well, this is a picture of actually what happened when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ. We only have to go to our New Testaments in Matthew 27:3-10, where Matthew gives us the story.
Notice what Matthew records here, Matthew 27, beginning verse 3.
“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!’ Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.’ And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. And therefore they field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.'”
Look at these minute details from Zechariah fulfilled here in Matthew 27:3-10. Note that there were thirty pieces of silver, not twenty-nine, that were given to Judas for his betrayal. Thirty, just as Zechariah said.
Notice they were pieces of silver, not gold or some other metal.
Notice that this money was thrown, not placed, in the house of God, not somewhere else. And for the potter’s field, just as Zechariah had prophesied many years before.
Now I also want us to notice another prediction from the book of Psalms, this time in Psalm 22, a most remarkable prediction in that it speaks of how Jesus would suffer his death to pay for the price of our sins, how that he would be crucified on a cross.
Psalm 22, let’s read together verses 12 through 18.
“Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
You see, not only do the scriptures tell that the Messiah must die, they reveal the very method of his death, even though that method did not exist at the time the prophecy was written here in Psalm 22.
Psalm 22 is an incredible depiction of Christ’s death on the cross, being pierced in his hands and feet. What an amazing description of an agonizing death, and all the more so when we consider that David never came even remotely close to dying like that.
That Psalm was not about David and his death; no, it pointed to the greater David, Jesus Christ. There was no such thing as crucifixion in David’s day. It was invented by others hundreds of years later. But the all-knowing Holy Spirit was speaking through the mouth of his servant to show the sufferings of the one who “was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities,” (Isaiah 53:5).
But then let us note another Psalm, Psalm 16:10, because you see, the Old Testament not only speaks of the death of Christ, but it also speaks of how he was raised from the dead. Psalm 16, notice verse 10.
“For You will not leave My soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”
When David wrote the Psalms, he had no idea that they would one day be a part of the infallible word of God or that he was writing about the ultimate king of Israel, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. But he wrote to express his love for the Lord and to give vent to the powerful depths of emotion that his relationship with God sometimes fostered.
And here in Psalm 16 David wrote something that even he must have failed to understand, how that his soul would not be left in Hades, how that this one would not be allowed to see corruption.
And many centuries later, on that unforgettable day when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles, Peter quoted this verse under the power of the Holy Spirit in reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peter declared that David’s body was still dead, it was rotting in the tomb, but in fulfillment of this prophecy in Psalm 16, Jesus the Messiah had been raised from the dead, never to see decay.
Let’s remember this morning that these are just a few of the many prophecies concerning the Messiah in the scriptures, all of which are fulfilled in the one man, Jesus Christ.
For example, he was to be born of a virgin, he was to be a descendant of David, he was to be called out of Egypt, and the children of Bethlehem would be slain; he was to preach in parables, he would be spit upon and scourged, he was to be given gall and vinegar to drink; soldiers would gamble for his garments, he was to be forsaken by God, none of his bones would be broken, his side was to be pierced, he was to be buried with the rich, he would ascend into heaven and establish an everlasting kingdom.
All of these things had been laid out before in the Old Testament scriptures about that one who was to come.
And Jesus fulfilled them all.
There are more than 320 Old Testament prophecies relating to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the day of crucifixion alone, 33 distinct and separate prophecies concerning Christ were fulfilled.
The biography of Jesus was written centuries before he was ever born.
Could such prophecies have been mere coincidence? In a book called Science Speaks, Peter Stoner has calculated that the odds of any 8 prophecies having been accidentally fulfilled in the life of one man would have been 1 in 1 followed by 17 zeroes. That’s a big number.
Let’s try to understand exactly what that means. Suppose we take that many silver dollars and we scatter them across the state of Texas. They’ll cover the entire state to a depth of two feet.
Now let’s mark one of those coins with a big old X, and then let’s blindfold a man, give him a parachute, start him on a plane flying across Texas. And whenever he chooses, he can bail out, and upon landing, he picks up at random the first silver dollar his hand touches.
How likely is it that he’ll get the one marked with an X? Exactly the same odds the prophets had of writing just 8 prophecies which would have been fulfilled in the life of Jesus.
All of this spells out one inescapable truth: Jesus is the Messiah, he’s the Christ, that long-awaited savior of the world, the one that was prophesied to come.
Yes, as Christians, our faith does not rest upon some kind of blind faith; no, it rests upon a faith, a solid faith, a faith with a solid foundation, founded in the word of God. As the scripture says in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
What about you today? Do you believe it? And what are you going to do about it?
You see, if Jesus is who he claimed to be, that one that was prophesied of long ago, and we’ve already shown that he must be, because he was able to fulfill all of those prophecies, then that means there really is a savior, that one really did die for your sins, and paying that price, was raised again the third day; that he’s alive and that he’s well, and that he can take you home to heaven.
Won’t you believe it?
Won’t you trust him for that?
Turning from your sin, confessing your faith, give yourself to him in baptism, and then devote your life to him. Ever trusting Jesus, he will come someday and take you home.
We here at The Truth In Love want to help you to come to Jesus Christ, to faith in him. So let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.
Singing >> Nearer, still nearer, close to thy heart draw me, my Savior, so precious thou art. Hold me, oh, hold me close to thy breast; shelter me safe in that haven of rest. Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.
ROBERT >> I’d like to thank you for watching the program today. Our interest in our viewers with regard to our program is about eternal salvation. It’s not about money, it’s not about anything like that. We’re interested in your soul.
And the Bible says that for a person to be saved, you have to first of all believe in Jesus Christ. Not just believe in him generally, but believe that he is indeed the Son of God.
He said, “Except you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins,” (John 8:24).
But he also said that a person must repent of sins, to change your mind about your sinful past and to decide to change your action and live for God. “Except you repent, you will perish,” Jesus said in Luke 13:3.
The Bible also teaches us that in order to be saved, we have to be willing to verbally confess to others our faith in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the Romans in Romans 10:10 that “confession is made unto salvation.”
But even that’s not enough, because the Bible also teaches that a person must be immersed in water to have their sins washed away by the blood of Christ.
Peter said on the day of Pentecost to those who asked what they must do to be saved, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” (Acts 2:38).
Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16). When a person does that, they don’t earn their salvation. That’s just the moment at which the blood of Christ washes sins.
Revelation 1:5 tells us that it is the blood of Jesus that washes away our sins.
Acts 22:16 tells us when the blood washes. “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
I hope you’ll study these things for yourself to see if these things be so, and I hope and pray that if you’ve not obeyed the gospel that you will before it’s eternally too late.
If you have any questions, comments or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write us here at The Truth In Love or e-mail us. You may call our toll-free number or visit our web site. You’ll see the information on the screen. All of our materials and services are absolutely free of charge.
We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
SINGING >> The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord lift his countenance upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and be gracious; the Lord be gracious, gracious unto you. Amen, amen, amen, amen.