Summary: A consideration of whether Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament messianic prophecy; and, what it means if He did.
Title: Jesus Is . . .The Fulfillment of Prophecy
Series: Who Is Jesus? (Sermon # 2)
Text: Luke 22:37
Date: March 2, 2008
COPYRIGHT © Joe La Rue, 2008
A. An interesting thing about predictions is that they are very often wrong, even when they are given by so-called prophets and seers. Consider, for example, two well-known psychics’ predictions for 2007:
1. On Jan 4, 2007, the Associated Press carried a news story detailing the predictions of Jane Doherty, a self-proclaimed psychic and the author of the book, Awakening the Mystic Gift. She correctly predicted that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would still be together by the end of 2007. However, she also predicted that Rudi Gulianni would be the Republican nominee for president, and Barack Obama would be out of the race by the end of 2007.
(http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=websites&id=4906023 (last visited Feb 25, 2008)).
2. Television psychic Sylvia Brown, who appears regularly on the Montel Williams show, fared even worse. On the December 27, 2006 airing of Montel, Sylvia made her predictions for 2007. They were all wrong. Every last one of them. For instance, Ms. Brown predicted that a tsunami would cause flooding in the United States in 2007. No such flooding occurred. She suggested that a tsunami might hit New York City. It didn’t. She said that there would be a major volcanic eruption in Mexico. There wasn’t. She said that she worried about some type of terrorist attack involving trucks and trains in the United States. None occurred. All told, Sylvia Brown made 13 concrete predictions for 2007 on the December 27, 2006 episode of Montel, none of which came true. Yet she is regarded as an accurate psychic.
(http://www.progressiveu.org/192215-alleged-psychic-sylvia-brownes-2007-predictions-success-rate (last visited Feb 25, 2008)).
C. Of course, the best known psychic-predictor of modern times was Jean Dixon. She rose to fame by predicting in 1956 that the winner of the 1960 presidential contest would die in office, and when President Kennedy was assassinated, her popularity was assured. Of course, what was overlooked was the fact that she had also predicted that Richard Nixon would win the presidency in 1960, not JFK. Undaunted, Ms. Dixon convinced herself and the rest of America that she was a modern-day prophet. Every year until her death in 1997 she would issue her list of predictions for the coming year. Most people assume that most of her predictions came true. The reality is that most didn’t. For instance, she predicted that World War III would begin in 1958 and that the Soviets would land the first man on the moon. She predicted that the first George Bush would beat his challenger, Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas. For 1997, the final year of her life, she predicted that actor Alec Baldwin would become terribly ill, comedian Ellen DeGeneres would have a run-in with the Secret Service when she crashed the presidential inauguration; and a plane would crash in late October. None of these things occurred. Yet she is regarded as the greatest of the modern psychics.
(http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/9701/26/dixon/ (Last visited on Feb 25, 2008)).
D. Standing in stark contrast to these modern prophets are the prophets of the Bible. Time after time the biblical authors said that something would occur; and then, it occurred, exactly as they said. This fact lends great weight to the argument that the Bible really is true, and really can be trusted. We will more fully explore this topic in a few weeks when we talk about evidence for the trustworthiness of the Bible. This morning, though, we are going to consider one particular type of prophecy—what is known as messianic prophecy. This is the prophecy given in the Old Testament, long before the birth of Jesus, relating to the coming of the Messiah, the Anointed Savior, that God promised to send into the world. Look with me at a single passage from Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is speaking, and He says:
“Everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” (Luke 22:37, New Living Translation).
E. Jesus had a very real belief that (a) he was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy; and (b) that what had been written about him must come true. And the early church shared that view: they believed that the life of Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.
F. We know from the discoveries of archeologists that the writings of the Old Testament, together with their prophecies, were completed several hundred years before Jesus’s birth—all scholars agree on that fact, whether they are Christians or not. So there’s no chance that prophecies were added after the fact. Therefore, the messianic prophecies are very important; for, if they were fulfilled in Jesus, and no other, than it makes sense to conclude that He was the promised Savior.
G. Trans: So this morning we shall consider: was Jesus the fulfillment of prophecy?