March 2, 2014
Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church
“So, What’s the Story?” or “The Word’s on the Street” (From Moses to Messiah)
“Patient and loving God, so often we live as though we were God. By Your Holy Spirit show us that You alone are sovereign and holy. Help us to see the foolishness of earthly wisdom, and to discover the joy of knowing Jesus Christ, God’s wisdom. We pray this Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Have you ever noticed that reading the Old Testament is not always easy. I discovered this again over the last the 3 months reading Genesis thru I Samuel. Ken Onstot, pastor at Hamblin Park Presby Church says, “There is more violence than a Bruce Willis movie”; and some of it seems to be initiated by God: the flood in the time of Noah, the plagues in Egypt, the destruction of Jericho, David’s wars against the Philistines, and Elijah’s slaughter of the prophets of Baal. Thankfully most children’s Bibles leave out some of the gory details, but our regular Bibles do not. It makes me anxious to get to the New Testament.
But when Jesus speaks of God, He is clearly talking about the God of the Old Testament: the God who created mankind in His own image, the God who called Abraham, the God who set free the slaves from Egypt, the God who gave us the Ten Commandments and was not hesitant to punish those who broke them. John Bright, a brilliant Old Testament scholar who died about 20 years ago once said, “I am quite unable to get around the fact … that the Old Testament was the authoritative Scripture for Jesus himself. Jesus knew no scripture save the Old Testament, no God save its God; it was this God whom he addressed as ‘Father.’”
Ken Onstot, again, reminds us that we cannot skip the Old Testament; it prepares us for Jesus in two important ways.
“First, [the Old Testament] reminds us in vivid terms that God cares deeply about earthly human life—all of it—family relationships, economics, politics, personal morality, social justice, and care of the earth—all of it! Believing in Jesus is not simply about going to heaven; it is about preparing for the new heaven and [new] earth that Jesus came to bring.
“Second, it reminds us how serious are the consequences of sin. We should not need such a reminder: the consequences of slavery in a bloody civil war, the consequences of aggression in the destruction of World War II, the consequences of greed when the economic bubble bursts, the consequences of addiction, abuse, and adultery in subsequent generations. The Old Testament reminds us that turning our back on God can have a horrible ripple effect on the world, and the damage cannot be undone with a simple apology. It took nothing less than the death of God’s own Son on a cross.
“Reading the Old Testament will make you glad for the coming of Jesus. In Jesus we see a compassion and love that is glimpsed only partially and intermittently in the Old Testament. But if we do not see the connection between Jesus and the justice of God or between the deadly consequences of sin and Jesus’ death, then we have not yet grasped what Jesus is about. We cannot skip the Old Testament, because without it we will not understand the New [Testament].”
This week begins the church season of Lent – we start to recognize the days getting longer (and warmer, we hope); but more importantly, Christmas becomes a distant memory of the baby in the manger and we remember that the whole purpose of Christmas was Easter – which is just around the corner. The season of Lent is meant to help us prepare for the power of the Resurrection story.
Those of you who have looked at your March newsletter, or at the calendar in today’s bulletin, may have noticed that starting this Wednesday we have Bible passages to read “together”, all from the Gospel according to Luke. These Bible passages will walk us through the last week of Jesus’ life before His arrest, illegal trial, and unfounded execution on the cross; and by Easter Sunday we will be at His resurrection – together. I do invite and encourage you to take the five minutes or less each day to read these passages, with your family if you have one.
Today’s Scripture reading starts at the end. This story starts off with, “Now on that same day …” – the day of Jesus’ Resurrection – the first Easter Sunday, the third day after His crucifixion and burial.
And the next phrase is, “… two of them …”, meaning two of Jesus’ followers, two of His disciples, one whose name was CLEOPAS (an otherwise unknown disciple) and the other whose name we are never even told (a still-unknown disciple), were walking home and talking about all the craziness of that day.
Now, before we start reading the story, I just want to say that the unknown-ness of these two disciples (not loud-mouthed Peter, not sons-of-thunder James and John; these two disciples) suggests that their topic of discussion was everywhere, and that Jesus chose to walk and talk with them just BECAUSE of their unknown-ness.
What does that say to you and me? I think what that suggests is that the value of the follower of Jesus is not based on how famous or well-known we are, but solely on how loved by God we are. We might be an otherwise unknown Cleopas, or even a lesser known un-named in history follower of Jesus – and our part in communicating the Gospel is no less important or vital to the world around us.
OK, that seems like enough introduction to today’s sermon and this season’s series. My original title was “From Moses to Messiah”, but I changed it to either “So, What’s the Story?” or “The Word’s on the Street”. I couldn’t decide. Let’s hear the Word of God from Luke 24:13-27 …. —-
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him…. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “(Are you kidding us?) Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” … 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
On that very first Christian Easter Sunday, the only thing anyone talked about was the events of that weekend – including the annual Passover celebration, the arrest and illegal trial of the itinerant preacher named Jesus, his “conviction” and execution on the cross, and how on the third day he miraculously resurrected!
Of course, that’s all anyone talked about! What else was there?
Luke 24:27 tells of Jesus meeting with two men talking about the amazing feats of the day, and Jesus, “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets … expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
I wish I could have heard that Word on the street. What, exactly, did Jesus say?
When Luke records that description of Jesus’ explanation (beginning at Moses and all the Prophets), to what was he referring? This was that very same Old Testament we started talking about at the very beginning of this message. The authoritative Word of God Scriptures that Jesus held as His own rule for life and faith.
We do not know exactly which Old Testament stories, which verses or books, Jesus relied on or told about; but let me just list off a number of Old Testament references which definitely allude to the person of Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of those Moses and Prophet events. Listen carefully and write down a favorite or two of yours:
And maybe if some catch you as a surprise, which ones do that?
Genesis: The Seed of the Woman – Messiah would be born of the seed of a woman (Gen 3:15, Luke 1:34-35)
Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob (Gen 12:3, 17:19, 28:14, Luke 3:23-34)
Messiah would be a king in the line of Judah (Gen 49:10, John 1:49)
Typified in the person of Melchizedek (Gen 14:18)
The life of Isaac – the sacrificed son of Abraham (Gen 22)
The life of Joseph – the rejected brother (Gen 37)
Exodus: The Passover Lamb Typified in the life of Moses – the deliverer
The Passover Lamb (Ex 12, John 1:29,36)
The Manna from Heaven – the bread of life (Ex 16, John 6)
The Tabernacle (Brazen Altar, Lampstand, Table of Showbread, Ark of the covenant etc) (Gen 25-30)
Leviticus: The High Priest Typified in the sacrifices and offerings (Lev 1-7)
In the Jewish festivals (Passover, Atonement, Lev 16, 23)
In the scapegoat (Lev 16:7-9)
In the person and duties of the High Priest (Lev 16)
Numbers: Typified in the bronze serpent (Num 21:8-9)
The Water from the Rock (Num 20)
Deuteronomy: The Prophet Like Moses – Messiah will be a prophet (Deut 18:15-19, John 6:14)
Joshua: The Captain of Our Salvation Typified in the person of Joshua (our leader into the promised land)
In the Commander of the Lord’s Army (Josh 5:13-15)
Judges: The Judge And Lawgiver Typified in the Judges (for He is true Judge of the living and the dead)
Ruth: The Kinsman Redeemer Messiah would be a descendant of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:12-17)
I & II Samuel: Messiah would be a descendant of David (2 Sam 7:12-16, Matt 1:1)
Messiah would be the ‘Rock’ (2 Sam 23:2-3, 1 Cor 10:4)
Typified in the life of David – The King in Exile (1 Sam 22)
The life of Jonathon – the faithful friend (1 Sam 18:1-4)
I & II Kings: In the life and miracles of the prophet Elisha (multiplying bread 2 Kings 4:42, healing leper 2 Kings 5)
I & II Chronicles: Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah (1 Chron 5:2, Luke 3:23-32)
Typified in Solomon’s temple
In the Wisdom of Solomon (2 Chron 9:22)
Ezra: The Faithful Scribe Typified in person of Zerubbabel, the rebuilder of the temple (Ezra 4)
Nehemiah: The Rebuilder of the Walls Typified in the person of Nehemiah, the rebuilder of the walls of salvation
Esther: Typified in the person of Mordecai
Job: The Dayspring From on High Typified in the sufferings of Job and the blessings that would follow
Psalms: The Lord Who Is Our Shepherd Messiah would be the Son of God (Ps 2:7, 12, Matt 17:5)
Messiah would be resurrected (Ps 16:8-10, Acts 13:30-37)
Messiah would be despised & crucified (Ps 22:6-8, 14, Luke 23:21-23, Matt 27:35)
Messiah would be hated without cause (Ps 69:4, Luke 23:13-22)
Messiah would be Lord, seated at the right hand of God (Ps 110:1,5, 1 Pet 3:21-22)
Messiah would be in the line of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4, Heb 6:17-20)
Messiah would be the ‘stone’ rejected by the Jews (Ps 118:22, Matt 21:42-43)
Key Messianic Psalms: Chapters 2, 8, 16, 22, 45, 69, 89, 109, 110, 118
Proverbs & Ecclesiastes: Messiah would be the Son of God (Prov 30:4, Matt 3:16-17)
Song of Solomon: The Lover & Bridegroom Typified in the Bridegroom’s love for, and marriage to, the bride
Isaiah: The Suffering Servant Messiah would be born of a virgin (Is 7:14, Luke 1:34-35)
Messiah would be Immanuel “God with us” (Is 7:14, Matt 1:21-23)
Messiah would be God and Man (Is 9:6, John 10:30)
Messiah would have the 7-fold Spirit upon Him (Is 11:1-2, Matt 3:16-17)
Messiah would heal the blind, lame, deaf (Is 35:5-6, Mark 10:51-52)
Messiah would be proceeded by a forerunner (Is 40:3, Luke 1:17)
Messiah would be a light to the gentiles (Is 42:6, John 8:12)
Messiah would be despised by the Jewish nation (Is 49:7, John 10:20, Matt 27:23)
Messiah would be whipped and beaten (Is 50:6, Matt 26:67, 27:26)
Messiah would die as a guilt offering for sin (Is 53:10, John 18:11)
Messiah would be resurrected and live forever (Is 53:10, Mark 16:16)
Jeremiah & Lamentations: Messiah would be a righteous Branch (Jer 23:5)
Messiah would be our righteousness (Jer 23:6, 1 Cor 1:30)
Ezekiel: The Son of Man Messiah would be a descendant of David (Ez 34:23-24, Matt 1:1)
Daniel: The Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven Messiah would be ‘a son of man’ given an everlasting kingdom (Dan 7:13-14, Luke 1:31-34)
Messiah would come 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan 9:25, John 12:12-23)
Messiah would be killed (Dan 9:26, Matt 27:35)
Revealed as the ‘stone’ (and His kingdom) that smashes the kingdoms of the world (Dan 2:34,44)
Typified in the 4th man in the fiery furnace – one like ‘the son of gods’ (Dan 3:25)
Hosea: The Bridegroom Typified in Hosea’s faithfulness to his adulterous wife (Hos 3)
Joel: The Baptizer With The Holy Spirit Messiah will offer salvation to all mankind (Joel 2:32, Rom 10:12-13)
Messiah would baptize people with the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32)
Amos: The Burden Bearer God would darken the day at noon during Messiah’s death (Amos 8:9, Matt 27:45-46)
Obadiah: The Mighty Savior
Jonah: The Forgiving God Typified in Jonah being 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a fish (Jon 1:17, Matt 12:40)
Micah: The Messenger With Beautiful Feet Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2, Matt 2:1-2)
Messiah would be from everlasting (Mic 5:2, Rev:1-8)
Nahum: The Avenger of God’s Elect
Habakkuk: The Great Evangelist, Crying For Revival Messiah would come from Teman at His return, full of glory (Hab 3:3)
Zephaniah: The Restorer of the Remnant
Haggai: The Cleansing Fountain Messiah would visit the 2nd temple (Hag 2:6-9, Luke 2:27-32)
Zechariah: Messiah would be ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech 9:9, Matt 21:6-9)
Messiah would be God (Zech 11:12-13, John 12:45)
Messiah would be pierced (Zech 12:10, John 19:34-37)
Malachi: The Son of Righteousness Messiah would appear at the temple (Mal 3:1, Mark 11:15-16)
Messiah’s forerunner would come in the spirit of Elijah (Mat 4:5, Matt 3:1-2)
Back in the day, historians record, that was all anyone talked about! We don’t live in that culture in Spokane in the 21st century – but maybe we can be the catalyst that starts a rebound!
What do you say? Let’s get the local news to report: “The Word’s on the Street”! Amen.
Bright, John (as quoted by Josh McDowell; “The Historic Reliability of the Old Testament”; Theology Matters; Jan/Feb 2014; Presbyterians for faith, Family and Ministry; P. 4).
Onstot, Ken; Hamblin Park Presbyterian Church, Spokane, WA; March-April 2014 newsletter.
Prophecy Source: http://www.messiahrevealed.org/book-index.html.
Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship; Faith Alive Resources; 2012; P. 350.
Wheeler, Mark; Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church, Spokane, WA; March 2014 newsletter.