The Promise Of The Gift


Author: Leon Gentle Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014 Campus:

This week, Leon started the Christmas series with a look at The Promise Of The Gift. If you want to listen again to the talk, click here. The transcript and questions are below. Let us know your thoughts, comments, and questions.

1. What do you feel God was saying to you through this talk?

2. What surprised you about this subject?

3. What practical action do you feel you need to make as a result of what God has been saying to you?

Intro:

Christmas is all about presents.

I grew up in a house hold that was pretty average.  We were never lacking, but my parents always watched the pennies.  My dad was a cop.  Christmas presents were the best my parents could give, but never extravagant.  One Christmas, when I was 8 or 9 years old, my dad bought me a walkman for Christmas.  It wasn’t just any old walkman though.  It was the best walkman.  That Christmas my dad acted like Father God.  See, when Father God gives us gifts, He doesn’t just give any old gift – He gives us the best.  Father God gave us His most precious possession – Jesus.  Now if Father God did not spare his most precious possession for us, why would he withhold anything of lesser value.

Within this gift Jesus, lies freedom from sin and it’s penalties, everlasting life, joy, peace, healing, prosperity – everything we could possibly desire or require to live for God.

The promise of the gift:

The fact that we are saved today is by grace.  It’s God’s special gift and it’s a mystery why we are saved and others aren’t, so all boasting is excluded.

My aim today is to show you how thousands of years before Jesus;  the incarnate Christ; came to earth, God had promised the messiah.

I’m aiming to make the scriptures come alive because the promise of Jesus in the old testament is beautiful.

The Bible is a wonderful book.  It’s a history book, a scientific book, a book with Godly advice on anything you can think of – health, sex, money, your children, your parents, your friends, your outlook, your hopes, your eating, your lifestyle… It contains the answers to all life’s questions.  It contains what God is saying to you in plain text.   Lets learn to read it in a spiritual way involving Holy Spirit to bring us divine revelation.

Teaching:

Intro

The Christian bible is divided into 2 volumes of text we call the old and new testament.  What is the relationship between the old and new testament?  Today we’ll explore how the new fulfils the old in the person of Jesus Christ.  To be more specific, how the Gospels in the New testament fulfils the promises, hopes and  prophesies of the sacred text of the old testament.

We will explore how specific prophesies in the old testament were fulfilled in the birth and the life of Jesus.

We will explore the harmony between the old and the new testament.

JESUS, THE FULFILLMENT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:

What does “Christ” mean when we say Jesus Christ? Is Christ his surname?

Christ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah.  Messiah means “anointed one” or “chosen one” and it’s the word used for the “saviour” that God promised in the old testament.  We refer to “the finished works of Christ”.

Here is what the old testament prophesies about the Messiah / Christ.

serpent crusher.

The history of the Bible goes all the way back to the beginning of time -  the creation of the world – Adam and Eve. There was a fall.  The fall separated man from God, but in the midst of that fall, there was a promise:

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Ultimately Jesus was the one who crushed / stood on Satan’s head.

Satan struck His heal, caused His death, but He came back to life again.

Son of David – Born in Bethlehem

Bethlehem means “house of bread” – interesting Jesus said He is the “bread of life”.

Micah 5:2 ( Son of David:Jeremiah 23:5, 2 Samuel 7:14–16 – new testament people who were healed called him “Son of David”)

Son of a Virgin

Isaiah 7:14

God / Man

Isaiah 7:14 – Immanuel –God with us.

Everlasting Ruler

Isaiah 9:6

The New Testament is the fulfilment of the promise of Messiah fulfilled – what did Jesus say?:

The fulfilment of the law

17 ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Questions – to monitor and assess our learning:

1. THE TERM CHRIST IS AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE GREEK WORD “CHRISTOS”, WHICH IN TURN IS THE TRANSLATION OF WHICH HEBREW WORD?

Hosanna, Hallelujah, Immanuel, Messiah  **,Amen

2. THE HISTORY OF THE BIBLE GOES BACK TO WHICH TIME PERIOD?

To the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, To the birth of Moses, The call of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans, To the creation of Adam and Eve, To before the creation of the heavens and earth  **

3. IN THE MIDST OF THE FALL OF HUMANKIND AS RECORDED IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS, WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING TERMS BEST REPRESENTS THE PROPHECY MADE ABOUT JESUS?

Son of David, Healer, Lord of Lords, Serpent bruiser **, Deliverer

4. WHAT DOES THE NAME BETHLEHEM MEANS?

House of bread **, House of the Lord, House of David, House of God, House of Israel

5. WHICH PROPHET PROPHESIED THAT JESUS WOULD BE AN “EVERLASTING RULER” AND THE “PRINCE OF PEACE”?

Jeremiah, Isaiah **, Micah, Ezekiel,Malachi

Jesus, the promised healer:

In the next section we will carefully examine and compare Old Testaments texts that foretold the coming of the Messiah with texts in the New Testament.

The Gospel of Matthew is the Gospel of fulfilment. Matthew writing to a predominantly Jewish audience, constantly makes use of what scholars refer to as “fulfilment citations”  Matthew: (1.22; 2.6, 15, 16, 23; 4.15-16; 8.17; 12.17-21; 13.14, 35; 21.4; 27.9-10).

We will examine four texts: two from the Gospel of Matthew and two from the Book of Isaiah

Matthew 8:1-17 and Isaiah 53:1-12

Matthew 12:1-21 and Isaiah 42:1-9 

Matthew 8:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 ‘Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21     In his name the nations will put their hope.’[b]

Isaiah 42:6-7

‘I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,

7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

Questions

1. WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING IS THE BEST MATCH FOR THE EXPLICIT REFERENCE OF ISAIAH 53 BY MATTHEW 8?

“He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” **, “He was despised and rejected by men.”, “He carried our sorrows.”, “He grew up like a root out of dry ground.”,“I will put my Spirit on him.”

2. IN MATTHEW 8, HOW DID JESUS HEAL THE MOTHER-IN-LAW OF THE APOSTLE PETER?

By praying for her, With a word, By offering a sacrifice in accordance to the law of Moses, By asking her to show herself to the priest, By touching her hand **

3. WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE OF JESUS TO THE LEPER IN MATTHEW 8 THAT PROCLAIMED THAT IF JESUS WAS WILLING THAT HE COULD CLEANSE THE LEPER?

“I will, be clean” **, He prayed for the leper, “You are forgiven”, He taught a lesson on the laws of cleansing in the Torah, “Go and sin no more”

4. WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING IS THE BEST MATCH FOR THE EXPLICIT REFERENCE OF ISAIAH 42 BY MATTHEW 12?

“He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”, “He carried our sorrows.”, “I will put my Spirit on him.” **, “He was despised and rejected by men.”,“He grew up like a root out of dry ground.”

5. ACCORDING TO ISAIAH 42 TO WHOM WOULD THE SERVANT OF THE LORD PROCLAIM JUSTICE?

To the people of Israel, To the house of David, To rulers in Jerusalem, To the Gentiles **,To the chief priests and scribes

JESUS, THE FORETOLD KING (Matt 2)

The birth of the Messiah as prophesied in the old testament was not only witnessed by Jews, but also Gentiles who were looking for a sign.

Wise men came from the east following a star.  (Matt 2 Tells the story )

Herod called his chief priests and scribes – they knew prophesies – born in Bethlehem

The wise men’s gifts were prophesied in Isaiah 60:6.  Gifts fit for a king (there is a massive teaching on this but that is for another Christmas).

Going to Egypt: (Hosea)

Killing of baby boys: – prophecy Jeremiah 31:15

How did they know about a coming messiah?  How did they know to look for “his star”?  Why were they looking for it? They weren’t Jews and therefore didn’t have the old testament scriptures.

Archaeology:

The answer may lie in a 3000 year old inscription.  In 1967 Archaeologists found the remains of an ancient temple, in a village called Deir ‘Alla close to Jordan.  On the wall of the temple was an inscription about Balaam the prophet (non-Isrealite) mentioned  in the Biblical book of Numbers 22-24.  The inscription contains “Balaam, son of Beor” in the title – the same as in the Bible (book of Numbers) who was visited by an Angel and told off by a donkey.  In the book of Numbers, Balaam was a free lance prophet who was hired to curse the nation Israel, but instead, he prophesied the coming of the Jewish Messiah (Jesus), the star of Jacob. 

Numbers 24:17

A star will come out of Jacob;

    a sceptre will rise out of Israel.

Only small fragments of Balaam’s inscription have survived.  It’s written in Aramiac and it talks about fire, terror and judgement on the land of Canaan from a deity named Shaddai – one of the Hebrew names for God in the Bible. Balaams prophecy in the book of Numbers describes a similar judgement on the Cananites, delivered by the star of Jacob – the Jewish Messiah.

Totally different context about Balaam – an archaeological one; one that is not the biblical story, but shows us that his reputation as a seer / fortune teller / prophet existed throughout the eastern side of the Jordan.

Balaam is one of the few old testament prophets with archaeological proof of his existence.

In the book of Matthew, the people who are familiar with Balaams prophecies are people that are coming from that side of the Jordan.

We also read about wise men in the book of Daniel.  These Babylonian wise men are from the same region as Balaam. If we are right, Balaam was some sort of “Ancestor” to the wise men.  In the book of Daniel, Daniel is made the leader of the wise men after he spared their lives from king Nebuchadnezzar.    Daniel also prophesied about the Messiah, so the wise men would have been influenced by Daniel.

Questions:

1. WHERE WAS A THREE THOUSAND YEAR OLD INSCRIPTION FOUND THAT MIGHT EXPLAIN WHY THE MAGI (THE WISE MEN OF MATTHEW’S GOSPEL) SEEM TO HAVE KNOWN JEWISH PROPHECY BETTER THAN THE JEWS?

Jordan *, Galilee, Israel, Egypt,Judea

2. THE THREE THOUSAND YEAR OLD INSCRIPTION REFERENCED ABOVE WAS ALSO MENTIONED BY WHICH PROPHET IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

Elijah, Elisha, Balaam **, Isaiah, Jeremiah

3. IN WHICH OLD TESTAMENT BOOK DO WE FIND THE PROPHET MENTIONED IN THIS THREE THOUSAND YEAR OLD INSCRIPTION?

1 Samuel, Genesis, Numbers  **, Exodus,Jeremiah

4. THE KILLING OF THE MALE CHILDREN BY KING HEROD WAS PREDICTED BY WHICH OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET?

Zephaniah, Jeremiah  **, Isaiah, Malachi, Micah

5. THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW REFERENCING THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOK, HOSEA, REPORTS THAT JESUS AND HIS FAMILY FLED TO WHICH NEARBY COUNTRY TO ESCAPE THE WRATH OF HEROD?

Jordan, Asia Minor, Ethiopia, Egypt  **, Syria

JESUS, THE ONE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD

I’m not going to talk about this section too much, but I’m just going to mention that :  All three of the Synoptic (meaning – seeing it all together) Gospels (Matt, Mark and Luke) report that Jesus re-enacted the yearly ritual enthronement of the King of Judah by staging a triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But this entry was different in many ways to that which kings of old would do. 

Matthew 21:1-17 is the triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the events of that occasion were foretold by the prophets:

Zechariah 9:9 – that He would enter on a donkey.

Psalm 118:26 – Words that the crowd greeted Jesus with –

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

Isaiah 56:7 – Jesus quoted this when he turned the tables (My house shall be a house of prayer)

Jeremiah 7:11 – Jesus words when he said “my Father’s house has become a den of robbers”

Psalm 8:2 – The children shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David”

Questions:

1. THE TERM SYNOPTIC COMES FROM A GREEK WORD THAT MEANS?

Historical writings, Different accounts, Poetry, Seeing the whole together **,Narratives

2. WHICH OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET PROPHESIED THAT THE MESSIAH WOULD ENTER JERUSALEM ON A DONKEY?

Jeremiah,  Zechariah **,  Isaiah,  Micah, Malachi

JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE GENTILES

In the final section of this unit we will examine how Jesus is the light of the Gentiles.

The messianic expectations of the Old Testament all centred on the original call given by God to Abraham In this call God promise that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in the seed of Abraham. (God promises this in Gen 12:1-3 and then again in Gen 22 through the “angel of the Lord”)

Sidenote:

Who is the “angel of the Lord”?  The precise identity of the “angel of the Lord” is not given in the Bible. He appears throughout the bible (example: to Gideon, Hagar, Moses, Balaam)

There are Old and New Testament references to “angels of the Lord,” “an angel of the Lord,” and “the angel of the Lord.” It seems when the definite article “the” is used, it is specifying a unique being, separate from the other angels.

The angel of the Lord speaks as God (in the first person), identifies Himself with God, and exercises the responsibilities of God.

In several of these appearances, those who saw the angel of the Lord feared for their lives because they had “seen the Lord.” Therefore, it is clear that in at least some instances, the angel of the Lord is a theophany, an appearance of God in physical form.

The appearances of the angel of the Lord cease after the incarnation of Christ. Angels are mentioned numerous times in the New Testament, but “the angel of the Lord” is never mentioned in the New Testament after the birth of Christ.

It is possible that appearances of the angel of the Lord were manifestations of Jesus before His incarnation. Jesus declared Himself to be existent “before Abraham”.

(Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/angel-of-the-Lord.html)

The Book of Genesis reports:

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’

Abraham sacrificing his own son is a type and shadow of God giving His son.  And there it is, the “angel of the Lord” promising Abraham that through him, all nations will be blessed.

But during the time of Jesus, the contemporary Jewish hopes for a Messiah were based on a hope that he would be a political deliverer.

They didn’t realise that God’s plans were much bigger than that.  He’s promise was to bless ALL NATIONS – not just the Jews (according to the old testament prophets).

At the time of Jesus, the Jews were ruled by Rome and they were ready for a revolution.  Before that, they were under Greek rule, before that, Persian rule and before that Babylonian rule – they were ready to welcome the messiah.  If someone claimed to be messiah and aimed to overthrow the Romans then everybody would say – ok, you’re the messiah.

They wanted a political leader, but in stead, Jesus came as a miracle worker who reached out to Jews and Gentiles alike.

Jesus has to say – rethink your definition of messiah.

In the village of Nazareth, the son of a carpenter stood up in a synagogue and read the words of the prophet Isaiah:

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me  to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.

He then said “this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”.  Jesus was saying – “I’m the Messiah”.

The people of Nazareth rejected His claim just as the prophets had written.

There was not an expectation among the Jews in Jesus day that Messiah was going to die a criminals death and be rejected.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Psalm 69:4 Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.

Jesus own family said He was out of His mind. (Mark 3:21)

Psalm 69:8 I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children;

(Some of us have experienced that too from our own families after deciding to follow God whole heartedly.  Jesus knows what you’re going through.)

Jesus left Nazareth and moved to Capernaum (on the shore of the sea of Galilee) as prophesied by Isaiah:

Isaiah 9:1 in the future he will honour Galilee of the gentiles (nations)

The prophecy gets even more specific.  Isaiah predicted the name of the road that went through Capernaum.

Isaiah 9:1 in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

In Isaiah’s time this road was known as “the way of the Philistines”, but 600 years later, the Romans conquered Judea and gave the road a Latin name: “Via Maris” meaning “The way of the sea”.  This was the most important trade rout in the ancient world.  It brought travellers from Asia, Africa and Europe to the shores of Galilee.  Today, archaeology still marks the spot where the Via Maris used to be.

Jesus used parables as prophesied – Psalm 78:2 I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—

Jesus walking on water and calming the storm was prophesied:

Psalm 89:9 You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.

Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

100’s of years earlier, Isaiah also wrote that Messiah would be a light to the gentiles:

Isaiah 42:6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;   I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people  and a light for the Gentiles,

In Jesus initial ministry, he focussed on Israel. Then Jesus met a Gentile woman who asked Him to heal her daughter. (Matthew 15:21-28).  Jesus said that he was sent to the lost sheep of Israel,  and that it wasn’t right to give the children’s food to the dogs.  The woman replied that even the dogs eat the crumbs.  What she was saying arrested Jesus and He said that this understanding has hit Him to the core and he granted the woman’s request and her daughter was healed.  The woman was saying that she believed Jesus was the Messiah, but also knew that the promise to Abraham was also for the Gentiles.

Jesus said  the works He did, we will do also.  Today, 2000 years later, that promise is still being fulfilled.  Followers of Jesus are healing the sick, raising the dead and spreading the gospel.

A carpenter from Nazareth who basically never left his home land his entire life is now the best know name in the entire word.  We divide history in the western world based on His birth.  His own people reject Him and He goes to be a light to the nations to the end of the earth.  It’s all been prophesied.  It’s all been declared in advance.

Jesus positioned His early ministry in Galilee.  The Galilee that Isaiah called “Galilee of the Gentiles”.  The fulfilment of the original promise of God to Abraham that through his seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

Questions:

1. DURING THE TIME OF JESUS, WHICH TERM BEST REPRESENTS THE MESSIANIC EXPECTATION FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN THE FIRST CENTURY IN ROMAN OCCUPATION?

A righteous judge, A strong ruler, A teaching prophet, A political deliverer **,A pure high priest

2. WHICH PROPHET DID JESUS READ FROM IN HIS LOCAL SYNAGOGUE TO ANNOUNCE THAT HE WAS THE MESSIAH?

Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah **, Micah, Malachi

3. WHICH OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET PREDICTED THAT THE MESSIAH WOULD BE DESPISED BY ALL?

Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Malachi, Micah,  Isaiah **

4. WHICH GALILEAN TOWN DID JESUS BASE HIS MINISTRY IN?

Gadara,  Capernaum **,  Bethlehem,  Antioch, Bethany

5. WHAT WAS THE MAJOR TEACHING TOOL THAT JESUS USED IN HIS MINISTRY AS PREDICTED IN THE BOOK OF PSALMS?

Symbolic acts,  Parables **,  Speeches,  Sermons,  Poems

Conclusion

Jesus is who He says He is.  He can do what He says He can do. 

Father God loves you so much that He gave His most precious possession for you.  Why would He withhold anything of lesser value from you?

Why did He do it?  Why did He come to save you?  Why are you to die for?

Because He loves you.  There is nobody else like you. Never has been and never will be.  You have your own finger print, your own DNA.  He wants to live life with you and be close to you.

Don’t try and be anybody else, just be the best you that you can be because that is who God mad you.

The serpent Satan has been crushed.  The victory over Satan is a past tense victory.

The problem is that even though God adores us, sometimes we don’t love ourselves because we’ve believed the lies of the enemy.  Or, we’re distracted by the cares and lures of this world (idolatry). Or, we have “no regrets” and see no wrong with the wrong we are doing.  Jesus promises peace and joy, but if we’re honest with ourselves sometimes, there is no peace and joy.  Why is that?  Is it because we’re partial and not total?  Some of us struggle to hear God, but don’t want to spend time reading His words.

Imagine what could happen if the church lived totally for God.

I want to challenge us today.  I’m not asking that you put your hand up if you want prayer.  I’m asking you to give your life.  You say, “but I can’t, I’m not good enough” – that’s right, we can’t but He wants to live through us.  Lets not live a dead end cycle of life.  Let’s run to Him and learn to live and move and have our being in Him.  Then we can truly expect all His great promises.

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