Posts tagged ‘messiah’

It’s All About Jesus

When attorneys are preparing a case for court, one of the things they normally do is to find witnesses to the event in question. A believable witness under oath is a powerful weapon they can use to prove their case. In addition, written testimony may be presented in the form of sworn statements. If someone wants to investigate Jesus of Nazareth, where can they find witnesses, since He lived so long ago? That testimony is found in the Scriptures, and in the First Century it was found in the Old Testament.

When New Testament writers refer to “the Scriptures” they are usually talking about the Law (or Torah), the Prophets (major and minor), and the Writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, etc). S why do I mention this? Because Jesus was talking about these Scripture when He said this:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; (John 5:39 NASB).

And later, after the resurrection, Jesus used those Scriptures to open their minds to comprehend what they had witnessed a few days before.

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27 KJV)

Phillip, and the road with the Ethiopian eunuch started in Isaiah chapter 53 and “preached Jesus unto him”, which resulted in salvation (Acts 8).
There is also a reason that the Apostle Paul was able to go into synagogues every Sabbath and prove from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

So why doesn’t everyone see the references to Jesus in the Old Testament? Mostly, it is because they don’t realize that He is in there! Just like some optical illusions, once you know where and how to look, the references to Christ become clear. For those who refuse to believe, they can’t find Jesus for the same reason a burglar can’t find a policeman. God only rewards those who “diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

What we as disciples of Jesus Christ need to do is to take a fresh look at the Old Testament. For one, it provides the context for the New Testament. But it also contains types and shadows that not only deepen the meaning of many passages in the New Testament, but also give us a glimpse into how the message would have made sense to those first Jewish believers who left all to follow Jesus.

Along with that, as you are reading, meditate and pray, and look for things that hint about, or downright shout about Jesus. I doing so we can gain a fresh appreciation for the depth and congruity of Scripture. Jesus is the Word made flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:12) and He still desires to take us deeper into the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that can only be found in Him (Colossians 2:3). And may The Lord open our eyes to discover great and marvelous things in His Word!

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Being Like Andrew

I like to do biographical studies in the Bible. It keeps things fresh and sometimes it helps when I get an overview of someone’s life instead of looking just at single instances. One person I find fascinating, even though little is said about him, is the Apostle Andrew.
Andrew was Peter’s brother, and actually became a disciple before him. While he is usually mentioned fourth in the lists of Apostles, it becomes apparent that his brother Peter was part of Jesus’ inner circle. Yet there is never any mention of envy or jealousy on Andrew’s part. Rather than let pride rule him and become resentful of Peter, he remains where Jesus has placed him, confident that God knows what is best.
Other than in lists, Andrew is only mentioned three times, all in the Gospel of John. And that is not surprising, since John and James were also fishermen and appear to have known Peter and Andrew. Let’s take a look at those three passages, and then draw some lessons from Andrew’s life.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He *found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (John 1:40-42 NASB)

One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, *said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” (John 6:8, 9 NASB)

these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip *came and *told Andrew; Andrew and Philip *came and *told Jesus. (John 12:21, 22 NASB)

So, what reason is there that these accounts are in Scripture? What do these stories have in common. After pondering and meditating on this for awhile, it became clear what they have in common.

Every time we see Andrew, he is bringing someone to Jesus!

First, he brings his brother, Peter. He is so excited about finding the Messiah, that he goes and gets the me closest to him and brings him to Jesus. How often all of us have seen someone newly converted, who in their zeal goes out and tells everyone they know about how wonderful our Savior is! As we mature in Christ, that wonder and enthusiasm needs to be stoked and kept hot.

Then he brings a little boy to Jesus at the feeding of the 5,000. There is nothing to indicate that he knew this boy. And yet the account doesn’t say Andrew grabbed him, took him kicking and screaming up to Jesus, and stole his lunch. Andrew had searched and found someone willing to bring all they had to the Master. We also should continue to seek out those who are inclined and willing to offer themselves to Christ and guide them to his feet.

And finally, a men came seeking after Jesus, who apparently knows who He is already. Andrew and Phillip simply assure them that Jesus is in fact there and do not hinder them. But these were not their kinsmen. The men were Greek proselytes who had come to the feast in Jerusalem. Yet there is no hesitation on Andrew or Phillips part. No sign of prejudice and thought that any man was less worthy to find Jesus. It is also worth pointing out that there was something about Andrew and Phillip that made it unnecessary for the men to ask them if they knew Jesus. He simply approached them and said, “sir, we wish to see Jesus. In our preaching and teaching, the only way we will be of any benefit to our hearers is for us to remember that what our audience really needs is to see Jesus. They don’t need to see our intellect or wit on display. They don’t need to be entertained. They just need to see Jesus!

We should all want to be remembered someday as an Andrew. Whenever people think of us, what a wonderful tribute it would be for them to say, “he was always bringing people to Jesus”.

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The Anointed One

The Anointed One
Jesus of Nazareth was and is truly the Son of God. Of this the Bible leaves no reasonable doubt. The angels proclaimed on the night of His birth that He was to be Immanuel, which means “God with us.” John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus was “The Lamb of God.”
He has always been Jesus. But when did He assume the title “Christ”?

Contrary to what some may assume, Christ is not Jesus’ last name. It is in fact a title which means “anointed one” in Greek, and is the Hebrew equivalent of “messiah”. While Jesus had been chosen to be the Messiah from the foundation of the world. It’s like someone who has been hired for a position but has not started work.
Let’s look at the biblical narrative to see what we can discover.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17 ESV)

So Jesus insists on being baptized, but not for repentance, for He has to sin. What was needed was for Jesus to begin His messianic ministry. Up until this time, He was growing up “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52 ESV)”. His baptism was the point at which he offered himself to God. It was a point of reference in his life, where His life as a carpenter ended and His true mission began.

As Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened to Him. At this point He has full recollection of His existence in heaven with the Father and all that His mission would entail. How significant that the act that began his ministry would prefigure the end of his earthly mission as he was buried in the watery grave and rose again to a new type of life.

The Holy Spirit then descended upon Him, anointing Him as the Christ/Messiah. So, while he had eternally been the Son of God, at His baptism He became the anointed One. Jehovah God sealed this anointing with an audible, spoken blessing, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Years later, that same Holy Spirit would descend and signal the beginning of the church. And now as members of that church, we can say with the Apostle John, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:” (1 John 3:1 KJV)

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