Jesus in the Old Testament    Sermon by Pastor David A. Reed at Immanuel Baptist Church – June 11, 2017

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After his resurrection, our Lord Jesus appeared

on the road to Emaus

to two of his disciples

who were kept from recognizing him.

What did Jesus say to them?

Luke 24:27 tells us,

 "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets,

he explained to them what was said

in all the Scriptures concerning himself."

After he let these two disciples see who he was,

Jesus disappeared,

and those two disciples went and told the Apostles

what had happened.

While all of them were gathered together,

the resurrected Christ appeared again

and stood in their midst.

After he calmed their astonishment

at seeing him alive again,

Luke 24 goes on to say, beginning at verse 44

He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you:

Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

He told them, "This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."


This was important.

The disciples needed to understand,

not just the things they had seen Jesus do and teach,

but also what the Old Testament said about him.

Now, I know there are some people

who want to read just the New Testament.

In fact, I've met people who want to read

just the red letters in the New Testament,

the words of Jesus Himself,

which some Bibles print in red letters.

But those people are missing out

on the full force of Jesus' words.

And they're missing out on

the full revelation of Christ.

And that's because the full revelation of Christ

is not confined to the red letters

and not confined to the New Testament.


Jesus referred repeatedly

to the Old Testament prophecies about himself -

in the Law of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets.

These prophecies

strengthen our faith,

and enrich our understanding and appreciation of Christ,

and they help us bring others to faith.


Jesus began his ministry on earth

by publicly reading one of these prophecies,

and He ended his ministry on earth

with the words we just read a moment ago.

Luke chapter 4 tells us,

about how Jesus read from the prophecies of Isaiah

very early in His ministry.

[  READ   Luke 4:16-21   ]


That prophecy Jesus read

from the book of Isaiah

was JUST ONE of many prophecies about Jesus

in the Old Testament.


How many of these prophecies are there?

The count is somewhere between 300 and 400.

So, we won't be able to look at all of them today.


Some of them are single verses

scattered throughout the Bible.

For example

Micah 5:2  says the Messiah

would be born in Bethlehem.

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."


Isaiah 7:14 says He would be born of a Virgin:

"Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."


Isaiah 9:1-2  says His ministry would be in Galilee:

"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan- The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."


Zechariah 9:9  said He would be humble and would present himself to Jerusalem by arriving seated on a donkey:

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."


Zechariah 11:12-13  said He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, which would be thrown into the temple and used to buy the potter's field:

"And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD."


In order to understand these prophecies,

we need to understand the promise of a coming Messiah.


Our English word "Messiah"

comes from a Hebrew word MASHIACH 

which means "anointed one." 

Similarly, the word "Christ"

 comes from a Greek word for "anointed one." 


Both terms originally referred to a king chosen by God,

because the first Israelite kings

were designated as rulers

when God's prophet anointed them

by ceremonially pouring oil over their heads. 

So, the promised Messiah would be a future king,

one descended from the ancient kings of Israel.


1 Samuel 10:1 says,

"Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, 'Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance?'"

So, Saul was anointed with oil,

and that made him a MASHIACH or Messiah,

meaning an anointed one.

Saul later proved unfaithful,

and so God had Samuel anoint David, son of Jesse,

to succeed him. 


1 Samuel 16:12-14  tells us

"The LORD said, 'Arise, anoint him; for this is he.'  Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward."  


So David, too, was a Messiah or anointed one.


Kings from the house of David

ruled in Jerusalem for nearly 400 years,

but around 600 B.C. that rule was interrupted

when the Babylonian empire captured the city

and carried the Jews off as prisoners. 

From that point onward faithful Jews looked to God

to send them an anointed king - a Messiah.. 

They began hoping for the promised Messiah.


The prophet Daniel wrote of a future time

when all human governments would be destroyed,

and the Messiah would rule the whole world.

Daniel 7:13-14

 "I was watching in the night visions,

And behold, One like the Son of Man,

Coming with the clouds of heaven!

He came to the Ancient of Days,

And they brought Him near before Him.

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,

That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

Which shall not pass away,

And His kingdom the one

Which shall not be destroyed."


So, the promise was not just for an anointed king

over Israel,

but for a Messiah who would be the hope

of the whole world.


He would be "the son of man"

but would be brought up to heaven into the presence of God.

So, when Jesus referred to Himself as "the son of man,"

the Jews would have known

that Jesus was saying

'Daniel's prophecy is about Me.

I'm  "the son of man,"

the promised Messiah

Daniel said would become King.'


That's why, when Jesus was on trial

before the Jewish Sanhedrin,

and the high priest said to Jesus,

"I charge you under oath by the living God:  Tell us

if you are the Christ, the Son of God."

Jesus' answer was,

"Yes, it is as you say. … But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One, and coming on the clouds of heaven." 

(That was quoted from Matthew 26:63-64)


So, every time Jesus referred to Himself as "the Son of Man,"

He had in mind that prophecy of Daniel .


Daniel's prophecy also told when the Messiah would come.

Daniel wrote at Daniel 9:25,

"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks"


Commentators agree almost unanimously

that Daniel meant "weeks" of years, not weeks of days.

That's based on the expression "each day for a year"

found at Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6.

It's too complicated

to explain the whole calculation in this sermon,

but the weeks of years add up to 483 years.

That "command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem"

was issued around the year 455 BC

So it would be 483 years

from then to the Messiah's coming.

and that takes us

to the very year when Jesus began his earthly ministry.


So, the Jews had made this calculation

and they were expecting the Messiah

at the time Jesus began preaching.

Luke 3:15 tells us that.

It tells us when John the Baptist began preaching

they were wondering whether HE was the Messiah.

They were expecting

the Messiah at that time,  due to Daniel's prophecy.


Besides the prophecies about Jesus

that are scattered throughout the Old Testament,

there are some extended passages

that are all about Jesus.

One of them is Psalm 22,

where this morning's responsive reading was taken from.


Although it was written 1000 years before Christ,

Psalm 22, verse 1

gives the words Jesus would speak on the Cross:

1  My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?


Verses 7 and 8

give the words the Jewish religious leaders would speak

while Jesus was on the Cross:

8  "He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;

Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!"


Verses 14 & 15 describe Jesus on the Cross:

His "bones…out of joint" and his tongue dry with thirst.


Verse 16 tells 1000 years ahead of time how

they pierced His hands and His feet;


Verse 18 tells how they would

divide Jesus' garments among them,

and cast lots for his clothing.


And verse 27  tells how nations at the ends of the earth-

far away from Israel,

would turn to Israel's Messiah.



These prophecies are especially important to me,

because they helped me come to faith in the Bible.

I was raised in a Unitarian church.

I remember as an 8th Grader

reading one of their pamphlets titled,

"What Do Unitarians Believe?"

It started out saying,

"Some Unitarians believe in God, and some do not."

Well, by the time I entered 9th Grade,

I did not believe in God,

and I thought the Bible was just a book of fairytales.

But some years later,

as I began to mature,

it was prophecies like these

that helped me realize

the Bible couldn't have been written just by men.

It must be the Word of God,

a God who knows the end from the beginning.


Besides the Psalms,

the book of Isaiah also has many prophecies

about the coming Messiah.


Isaiah chapter 9 has one of the most familiar

prophecies about the Messiah-often read around Christmas time.

It's found at Isaiah chapter 9, verses 6-7.

I'll read it from the King James Version:

"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, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever."

So, Isaiah has the same message as Daniel:

A child,  a Son of Man,

who would be called "the mighty God,"

"the Prince of Peace"

who would become King forever.


I'm going to open my Bible to Isaiah, chapter 53,

because that whole chapter is all about the Messiah.


   [  READ  from Isaiah 53  ]


So, to sum up these Old Testament prophecies,

the promised Messiah

would be descended from the King David,

yet would somehow also be the son of God.

He would be born in Bethlehem,

the child of a virgin,

would preach in Galillee,

would arrive in Jerusalem seated on a donkey,

but would be rejected, beaten, stripped,

and nailed up to die like a criminal. 

His betrayer would be paid 30 pieces of silver. 

He would rise again, immortal,

and non-Jewish peoples all around the world

would turn to Him as their hope.


Jesus of Nazareth fits every detail

of the prophetic description.

And no one else has ever

fulfilled those prophecies.



So, what can we do with this information?

We can study it

and meditate on it

to strengthen our faith.


These prophecies in the Old Testament,

and their fulfillment in the New Testament,

show that the Bible has one author, God-

that the Bible writers were inspired,

not just men writing on their own.


And we can share this information with others

to help them come to faith in Christ.


Acts 17:2-3 tells us that the Apostle Paul

used the Old Testament Scriptures

to lead people to Christ.

It says,

"Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,  explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, 'This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.'"


And at Acts 8:32-35 the evangelizer Philip

overheard an Ethiopian official

reading from Isaiah chapter 53,

and he used Isaiah's prophecies to lead him to Christ.


We can do the same thing.

May the Lord empower us

to imitate Paul   and  Philip

in sharing the Gospel

with all who will listen.