Summary: Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, present, predicted, and presaged in the Old Testament.
January 17, 2010
Judas of Galilee…Theudas…Simon bar Kokhba…Menahem ben Judah…Moses Botarel…Asher Kay…David Reubeni…Solomon Molcho… Mordecai Mokiakh…Jacob Querido…Judah ben Shalom…and the recently deceased Menachem Mendel Schneerson…ever heard of any of these cats? But they belong on a list with Jesus, because they all, along with a list about three times as long, share this in common: they claimed to be the Messiah of Israel. And then there is “Daddy”.
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The minister has the number 666 tattooed on his arm. But Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is not your typical minister. De Jesus, or "Daddy" as his thousands of followers call him, does not merely pray to God: He says he is God. "The spirit that is in me is the same spirit that was in Jesus of Nazareth," de Jesus says. O—KAY! The question for today is, out of all of the would-be claimants to the title “Messiah”, how do we know that Jesus fits?
If someone asked, “what sets your Jesus apart from other religious leaders”, how would you answer?
Boy, did Brit Hume step in it! He recently was commenting on Tiger Woods’ troubles, and what it would take for Woods to get a grip on his life, and Hume, who went through a bad divorce and the suicide of his son, and then found salvation in Jesus, dared to suggest, as a Christian, that Woods’ professed Buddhism wouldn’t serve him nearly as well as a conversion to faith in Christ. That sure ignited a firestorm. Buddhism doesn’t offer forgiveness of sin in the same sense that Christian faith does, and it’s pretty obvious that Woods is a pretty good sinner, right? Of course, we all are—and we all need, not enlightenment, but forgiveness—but Brit Hume’s ideas didn’t go over real well with the powers that be in the mainstream media, to put it mildly! Hume was excoriated by some for daring to suggest that Christian faith offers something that no other does: forgiveness.
Is Christian faith superior to other faiths? Indeed, is Jesus superior to other so-called “religious leaders”? Or is Jesus just one among many, and Christian faith, as some would suggest, just one other option in the cafeteria of faiths, as it were? How do we know that Jesus is the Messiah, that He is set apart from all other would-be deliverers? Here’s the Big Idea for this morning: “Jesus is seen in the Old Testament in many ways, confirming the fact that He is Israel’s Messiah.”
I. Jesus Present in the Old Testament
“Come again, Pastor? Jesus present in the Old Testament? Wait…didn’t He come on the scene in the New Testament? After all, we just finished Christmas, and I’m pretty sure the stories about His birth are in books like Luke and Matthew. What do you mean, Jesus is present in the Old Testament?” That’s exactly what I mean. And I mean it in more than the sense that Jesus is the storyline of the Bible, more than in the sense that we can find prophecies about Him (we’ll get to that in a minute). I mean that Jesus appears in the Old Testament—and He does so on many occasions! Follow me on this. The “Angel of the Lord” is the terminology and the term used in Hebrew, mal’ ak, means
“Angel” means “sent one” or “messenger”.
When we think of “angel”, certain images are conjured up in our minds—perhaps some that aren’t Biblical; what we ought to think of is God’s messengers. And we can name some of the angels, Gabriel and Michael coming to mind, but in the Old Testament, roughly 1/3 of the 214 usages of this term in the Old Testament refer to Christ.
The term we use is “Christophany”.
A “Christophany” is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament. “Pre-incarnate” means “prior to Jesus taking on flesh permanently as the man Jesus.” So what we’re talking about is Jesus being seen and referred to in the Old Testament as something other than Jesus, and the term is “Angel of the Lord”. Notice:
The “Angel of the Lord” is
When people encounter the angel of the Lord—we’ll note some of those instances in a minute—they often identify this Him as divine. In fact, He is often referred to as “LORD”, and as “God”; He speaks and acts as the LORD, and He accepts worship. Question, class: if this were an angel, and he accepted worship, would he be an angel? No, if he accepted worship due only to God, he’d be a blasphemer! But something else is critical:
o Distinct from another Person (“God”)
We see this happening clearly in some of the passages I’ll mention.
o Deputed to reveal God & His salvation
The task of the angel of the Lord is to reveal God and God’s salvation to men. And so notice some of the instances in which this happens: