Sunday, June 4, 2006

The Center of Existence, Himself!

"Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called as an apostle, set apart to preach God's gospel, which long ago He promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures" (Rom 1.1-2)

In my second sermon on Romans, I centered on one phrase, "which long ago He promised through His prophets in the holy Scriptures". While it may be easy to ignore the import of this phrase, we would be better served not to ignore it.

Jesus was prophesied; he was predicted hundreds of years before his life on earth. In his Explanatory Notes, Wesley noted five prophetical passages about the Messiah in the Old Testament: "Deu 18:18; Isa 9:6-7; Isa 53:1; Isa 61:1; Jer 23:5."

Let's look at them together.

1. "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." (Deu 18.18)

2. "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 Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isa 9.6-7)

3. "Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?" (Isa 53.1) [Add the rest of the chapter to see more of Isaiah's prophetical word.]

4. "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified." (Isa 61.1-3) [I added two Scriptures to Wesley's notation]

5. "Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land." (Jer 23.5)

Tonight I also included two more references--one from Psalm 22.1b "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" and the other from Psalm 22.16-18, "For dogs have compassed me: A company of evil-doers have inclosed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. I may count all my bones; They look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, And upon my garment do they cast lots."

Jesus wasn't some obscure itinerant Rabbi wandering around Israel who just happened to be at the right place at the right time to become famous; Jesus was predicted.

God, in his history of salvation, at the fullness of times brought forth his Son. All of human history revolves around the center of existence--the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen! Worship the King!