In yesterday’s reading of Knowing God, I encountered these insightful words from author Jim Reapsome …
“Fulfilled prophecy ranks at the top of God’s confirmation of Jesus as his fully divine son.”
Later the author adds …
“More than fifty Old Testament prophecies refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, from his virgin birth to his suffering, death, and eternal kingdom. Taken together, they provide an astonishing confirmation of his divine origin, mission and ultimate reign.”
Maybe it ‘s just me … but too often it seems we are more interested in prophecy yet to be fulfilled than we are interested in prophecy fulfilled … basically prophecy neglected.
No doubt Jesus wants us to aware of the signs of the times as this exchange with the Pharisees reveals …
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away. Matthew 16:1-4 (NASB)
“Red sky at morn … afternoon storm. Red sky at night … sailor’s delight.” I would say oftentimes we are just like the Pharisees and Sadducess … more interested in the signs of the coming weather than we are in the signs of the coming times … the coming Lord.
And yet note what Jesus said … captured in both the gospels of Matthew and Mark …
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. Therefore, be on the alert–for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning–in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!‘” Mark 13:31-37 (NASB)
Despite what many Biblical scholars would like you to believe, we do not know the day and hour of Christ’s return … we do know some of the signs of His impending return (As a starting point, read and consider Matthew 24, Mark 13). The best advice … Be on the alert and be ready!
But how can one be ready?
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes IN Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:38-40 (NASB)
Once again note what Jesus says to the Jews who were seeking to kill Him …
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” John 5:39-40 (NASB)
Too often we are just like the Pharisees … we search the Scriptures for the principles and morals we think we can perform to earn us eternal life. But Jesus says the Scriptures testify about who He is … and if we will just believe Who He is and come to Him … then we will have eternal life!
At the time Jesus said this, how was Scripture testifying about Him?
Through the very prophecies He was fulfilling!
Thirteen times in the first gospel Matthew points us all to how Jesus fulfills prophecy.
Too often we seem to think that a fear of the coming end should be the primary motivation in evangelistic outreach … and yet I find far greater assurance in knowing that from the beginning despite the fall of man, from fulfilled prophecies, from the life of Jesus … that in His love, mercy and grace … God has had a plan, a purpose and a will to be reconciled with me and with you … that we may dwell with Him forevermore … both in the here and now and the hereafter.
Perhaps we need to become more intimately familiar with the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus … perhaps we need to spend more time teaching and sharing those fulfilled prophecies … perhaps more people would get that assurance I do and choose to repent and believe IN Christ Jesus.
Perhaps those ensnared and held captive by the devil would be better drawn to life assurance than fire insurance …
Jesus told His disciples … tells us … “Follow Me.” In closing consider these words and actions of the resurrected Christ … first on the road to Emmaeus and later among His eleven remaining disciples …
And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:25-27 (NASB)
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures … Luke 24:44-45 (NASB)
Oh Lord, may the prophecies fulfilled by Christ Jesus become a banner of our testimony!