Was Jesus The Messiah?
Biblical Sermon Outline
By Pastor Ron Jones, www.titusinstitute.com
In the Gen.49 Jacob called his sons together and prophesied what would happen to each one of them in the future.
As he came to his son Judah, he gave a prophecy of the coming of messiah, that the power to rule in the tribe of Judah would not depart until the messiah came.
God had promised that the messiah would come before this event had taken place.
When the judicial power of Israel was taken away from the Romans, the Jewish leaders lamented that the prophecy had come to pass, but the messiah had not come.
But what they did not recognize is that God had fulfilled His promise and that several years earlier a child had been born in the city of Bethlehem, a child who was the messiah of Israel.
The messiah that God had revealed through His prophets that would come and redeem those who would believe from sin just as God had promised. His name was Jesus.
This is just one of the many prophecies God had made in the O.T. through the prophets of Israel concerning the life and ministry of the messiah.
These prophecies were to act as the credentials of the messiah.
God wanted His people to know that anyone claiming to be the messiah who did not fulfill the O.T. prophecies simply could not be the messiah.
Jesus Himself established His claims to be the messiah, the Savior of the world because He alone fulfilled the O.T. prophecies.
The Scriptures that talk about the Christ are prophecies of what the messiah would be and do.
Jesus pointed to them as talking about Him.
These prophecies were given hundred of years before Jesus was born and when Jesus came He fulfilled them.
In fact, he was the only one that has come forward claiming to be the messiah that has filled them.
Canon Henry Liddon, the brilliant nineteenth century Oxford professor found 332 "distinct predictions which were fulfilled in Christ."
This morning we want to look at some of the prophecies surrounding his birth that Jesus fulfilled provng that he indeed was the long awaited messiah, the savior of the world.
These are important also because Jesus could not have tried to fulfill these, all these prophesies were beyond any manipulation on his part.
I have selected prophecies relating to four areas:
1. When the messiah would be born
2. Where the messiah would be born
3. From whom the messiah would be born
4. Who the messiah would be
Each of these prophecies that Christ fulfilled gives evidence that Jesus was everything He claimed that He was.
Let's look at the first point.
1. When the messiah would be born
There are two major prophecies that relate to when the messiah would be born into the world.
Both relate to the fact that it would have to be before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.
Israel had come under Roman rule and by 11 A.D. a few years after the birth of Jesus, Judaea had come under direct Roman rule by a Roman administrator.
In 70 A.D. Titus Vespasian with his Roman legions destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem in squashing the Jewish revolt against the Romans. Thus, he ended the religious worship and identity of Israel as a nation.
There are two major prophecies that predict that the messiah would come before this happened. And only Jesus fulfilled these prophecies.
The first one is
"scepter" = tribal staff
Each of the 12 tribes of Israel had its own particular "staff" with its name inscribed on it. Judah was one of them.
This scepter came to be understood by the Jews as a symbol of the national identity and judicial power of the kingdom of Judah which was the southern part of the land of Israel and which included the area the Romans called Judaea.
"until he comes to whom it belongs" = lit. hebrew "until Shiloh comes"
"Shiloh" is a name that came to be understood as designation of the messiah by ancient Jewish interpreters.
As I said earlier, in 11 A.D., the Romans began to directly administrate Judaea. Coponius who preceded Pontius Pilate was appointed to administrate that area in the name of Caesar Augustus. It appears that it was at that time that Rome took the supreme power of the Sanhedrin, the power to inflict the death penalty away from them.
The Jewish Talmud, which was a collection of rabbinical laws, law decisions and commments on the laws of Moses records how the Jewish leaders reacted to being deprived of this important judicial power.
Rabbi Rachman says, "When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of the right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them; they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: 'Woe unto us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the messiah has not come.'"
(Reference: The Topical Josephus, p.51, Evidence, p.168)
This was a clear indication of the feelings that this prophecy had been fulfilled. Little did they know that the messiah was in their midst.
If they were accurate concerning their own Scriptures, then messiah would have had to come before that time. Even if the elimination of the judicial power of the Jews to inflict the death penalty was the not the removing of the scepter of Judah, certainly, when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. the scepter of Judah, the national identity and judicial power of Judah was removed.
Israel as a nation ceased to exist. Certainly before that time, the messiah would have had to come if that prophecy was to be fulfilled. Only one person could fulfilled that prophecy at that time. Jesus.
The second one is
v.25 "Know and understand this..."
In 539 B.C. the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Daniel to answer Daniel's prayer that God would bless Israel in the future.
At this time, Jerusalem was in ruins and many Jews in captivity.
Gabriel predicts the future of Israel.
v. 24 is a summary statement.
The history of Israel is bound up in terms of God directly working with Israel as a nation in periods of "sevens."
v24 "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people..."
God says I am going to work with Israel as a nation directly in accomplishing my plan for seventy 'sevens'.
"Sevens" represents "seven year periods"
When God is done in this period of 490 years (70, 7 yr periods) in completing his plan for Israel, Daniel's prayer will be answered and God will "put an end to Israel's sin, atone for their wickedness, and bring in righteousness."
Then in v.25-27, Gabriel divides this 490 years into two major periods.
The first is seven sevens + sixty-two sevens which is 69 sevens. This equals 483 years. (7x69 = 483)
The second period is in v.27 which is one seven year period.
"The anointed one" in the Hebrew is "messiah" and he is also called "ruler."
Gabriel says that between the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the time that messiah, the ruler comes there will be 69 seven year periods or 483 years.
Then in v.26 after this 483 years the messiah will be cut off and will have nothing.
"Cut off" the Hebrew word here (root, karat) is used in the O.T. to express the thought of the execution of a person deserving the death penalty (e.g Lev. 7:20, Ps.37:9, Prov.2:22).
This seems clearly to refer to the death of the messiah. he is cut off and has nothing - no power or rule at that point that he is cut off.
Then after that something else is going to happen (v.26) "the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and sanctuary."
Another ruler is introduced here and that is "the ruler who will come" - this ruler can't be the messiah who is called a ruler in v.25, it is a ruler who is to come after the messiah (this is the antichrist as we shall see).
Notice, it is not the ruler who destroys the city and sanctuary it is the people of the ruler who is to come.
This ruler is not leading them to do this, it merely says that it is his people who are doing it.
Then in v.26 in the second time period that God says he will work with Israel as a nation, this ruler who is to come, he, will confirm a covenant with many for one "seven" or seven year period.
Now let me put this all together.
According to this prophecy, the messiah has to come after 483 years from the time of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the time he is cut off. Then after he is cut off people are going to come and destroy the city and sanctuary of Jerusalem.
Only Jesus could fulfill this.
No one after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (since the temple has not been rebuilt) could fulfill this.
The "people of the ruler who is to come" are the Romans. We find out in other places of Scripture that the antichrist will arise from what was the Roman empire.
The decree to rebuild Jerusalem probably refers to one of the decrees that the Persian ruler Artaxerxes gave. He gave one to Ezra in 458 B.C. and one to Nehemiah in 445 B.C. to go to Jerusalem and rebuild.
Rather than look at the details of the numbers. The messiah had to come 483 years after 458 or 445 b.c. and before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Only someone born in the early part of the first century A.D. and who died before the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. could fulfill that prophecy.
Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the time that messiah would come which were predicted five hundred years earlier.
The O.T prophets also foretold where the messiah would be born.
2. Where the messiah would be born
God had selected Bethlehem.
The chief priest's and teachers of the law told Herod, the messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
This is in fact where Jesus was born. God used a census by Quirinius to get Mary and Joseph to Bethelehem since they were residents of Nazareth.
This birthplace of messiah was common knowledge.
This shows that the Jewish people were comparing Jesus with the messianic prophecies which they knew if Jesus was the messiah he had to fulfill.
A third prophecy concerning Christ's birth
3. From whom the messiah would be born
The messiah must be born from the family line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, and King David.
God had clearly revealed the family line of the messiah, the key one was that he must be the "son of david," a descendent of King David
O.T. prophecies of the lineage of messiah
Gen.22:18 "seed of Abraham"
Gen.21:12 "through Isaac"
Num.24:17 "through Jacob"
Gen.49:10 "through the tribe of Judah"
Isa.11:1 "from family line of Jesse"
God promised David that his throne would last forever.
God foretold that the messiah would be a branch that would come from the Davidic tree - speaking metaphorically of the line of David as a tree.
The messiah must be of this family line.
The geneologies of Matthew and Luke are recorded for the purpose of giving this evidence that Jesus indeed fulfilled this prophecy.
In fact, in two ways.
One was physically through the line of his birth mother - Mary which is recorded in Luke.
And the other was legally through the line of his legal stepfather - Joseph, which is recorded in Matthew.
These geneologies are crucial in establishing for the Jews that Jesus was indeed their messiah. Without the credentials of lineage, he could make no claim to that great title.
v. 1 Matthew says it right up front
Jesus Christ (Greek equivalent for messiah), son of david and son of Abraham just as prophesied.
"son of " = "descendent of" in Jewish terminology
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to whom the covenant was given through the messiah would come.
v. 16 "and Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom (refers to Mary - feminine form in the Greek) was born Jesus who is called the Christ."
Notice, that the virgin birth is implied here.
After giving the whole geneology of Joseph, Matthew does not say that "Joseph, the father of Jesus" which would have been next logical statement if Jesus had been born by Joseph.
But of course, Jesus was not.
Luke gives a clue that he is about to give Mary's geneology rather than Joseph's in v.23.
"he was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph."
This is in the imperfect tense as was being thought by some with the implication that it was not true.
In Lu.1:26ff he presented the facts that Mary was a virgin and was miraculously impregnated by the Holy Spirit. in 3:22 just above this geneology he relates that God the Father called Jesus his son.
He is now going to give a disclaimer on why he is giving Mary's geneology rather than Joseph's. The man's geneology would be the one normally given. He is God's son although some were thinking that he is Joseph's son. “The son of Heli, refers not to Joseph, but to Jesus.”
Jesus was "the son of Eli" the descendent of Heli who was Mary's father. Remember, "son" did not always mean literal "son," but descendent. The messiah was the son of David, but not literal son, rather descendent of David.
Why doesn't he just say, "son of Mary, daughter of Heli"?
I think because that is not how geneologies were written. They always began with the male. In this case, it would be the first male in the physical line of Mary, which was her father, Heli.
If you notice, also, Luke is concerned with Mary and telling what happened with her in his gospel whereas Matthew is concerned with telling Joseph's story and what happened with him.
I have up to this point only been giving you the prophecies that regard non-miraculous ocurrences.
Let me give you one more that refer to who this messiah would be. God predicted that the messiah would be no ordinary child when he was born. He would have a supernatural conception based on his divine nature.
4. Who the messiah would be
The messiah would be conceived by a virgin and would be God come in the flesh
These two truths are inseparably connected and revealed.
Matthew under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says that this supernatural occurrence of Mary, a virgin, having the child Jesus by the Holy Spirit was a fulfillment of the prophecy of messiah and then quotes Isa.7:14.
There are two significant things to notice here. Matthew tells us 1) that the child Jesus was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit rather than a man because mary was a virgin and that 2) this child would be no ordinary man, he would be God with us. God who has come down to be with us.
This is what was predicted in Isa.7:14.
This prophecy has a double reference as often messianic prophecies have. The historical immediate reference and the future messianic reference. I want to focus only on the future messianic reference.
The historical situation that God has spoken to Isaiah about is the lack of trust by Ahaz, King of Judah in God to deliver him from his enemies.
God through the prophet Isaiah had told Ahaz earlier that God would deliver him and then asked Ahaz to place his faith in God's prediction by asking God for a sign to confirm this.
Ahaz refused to ask for a sign choosing instead to put his confidence in a confederacy with Assyria.
So Isaiah responds by saying that God will give you and the house of David a sign of the future of Judah and of the entire nation of Israel.
The sign would be a virgin who would bear a son.
The hebrew word "almah" translated "virgin" means "a young unmarried woman of marriageable age." There was an implied virginity in the usage of the word since young unmarried women in Israel were virgins.
The word is used nine times in the O.T. and the other eight times it appears, it always refers to young unmarried women who are virgins. (Gromacki, p.146)
When the translators of the Septuagint, the Greek version of the O.T. in the 3rd century b.c translated "almah" they translated it "parthenos" the Greek word for "virgin."
The word is always used in the N.T. of virgins.
This is emphasized by both Matthew and Luke in their inspired accounts of the conception and birth of Jesus Christ.
Mary did not have relations with any man is clear. Lu.1:24
This was the sign that no matter what Ahaz did, that no one could destroy Israel completely because of the messiah.
And this child would have a supernatural conception because He would be divine.
v. 14 "and will call His name Immanuel."
This reference which Matthew says refers to Jesus points to Jesus' divine nature.
This child has a supernatural conception because He is God.
"God with us" does not just mean "God is with us to help us along."
It is referring to this child as being God.
This child appears again. Isa.9:6 a clear designation of the coming messiah and his great kingdom.
This messiah has four descriptions here, one of which is mighty God or the literal Hebrew, "God that is mighty."
The messiah would be God. That is who this child was. He was the God-man. God who became a man to be with us and die on the cross for our sin. This is who the messiah was predicted to be.
This morning we need to consider that the messiah has come exactly as God had predicted through His prophets.
What we will do with Him?
We will recognize Him as who God revealed Him to be - the God in the flesh, the Savior of the world?
Or will we not recognize Him?
Will his birth, his life, and his death mean nothing to us as we go through another Christmas only to live our lives as if He had never come as God had promised?