What did the Jews expect?
We are in the second week of a group of messages that deal with the idea of “Classic” Jesus. Generally it is a plan to look and some of the questions or doubts that people might have about Jesus. I mentioned that I was totally surprised that the story of Jesus has survived at all. How did the story of Jesus survive in the telling of history when so many other great teachers and good people’s stories did not?
Last week we took the question that Jesus asked in Matthew 16 of “who to people say that the son of man is?” and looked at a few statements from the modern culture. I gave you examples from TV shows, movies, famous and infamous people, most of which differed from what most of us would say.
However the challenge for you to consider is to judge how the culture has influenced your view and your willingness to share what you believe in today’s anything goes…(except Christianity), culture that we live in. I shared with you a very small sample of 11 scriptures where Jesus states or demonstrates things about his identity.
Jesus Said He came down from Heaven
Jesus Said He was more than a good man.
Jesus said, He was the Son of Man.
Jesus performed miracles.
Jesus Said He was God.
Jesus said He was sinless.
Jesus forgave sin.
Jesus taught people to pray to Him as God.
Jesus promised to judge all people ad God.
Jesus said, HE was the only way to heaven.
Jesus claimed authority and superiority over all people.
In Jesus’ day some of these statements and actions could get you killed. Today they might get you a place in the Physiological Evaluation line at NW GA regional.
Jesus when challenged as to his authority and actions does not remind people about the OT descriptions of the “prince of peace” that would come.
He tells the questioners and accusers to examine his teaching and actions as proof of his origin.
The idea that came to my mind, he never should have needed to declare himself to be the messiah because, for centuries the Jews leaders had been looking for the promised messiah. They knew the scriptures….they had a set of expectations as to what the Christ would be like.
So it seems like they should have recognized the arrival of the Messiah based on fulfillment of Information in the Torah.
Today we will take a brief look at some Messianic prophecy.
The term "Messianic prophecy" refers to a gathering of over one hundred predictions in the Old Testament regarding the Messiah. They have an amazing degree of accuracy even though these prophecies were recorded by numerous writers in various books of the Bible over a period of 1000 years. We are assured that these prophecies were not conspired after the fact due to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint. These writings in our OT existed prior to Jesus’ time on earth.
-- This is another very large topic and today we are limiting the focus to:
What did the Jews expect and what should they have been looking for?
Basically, we are going to review the who, what, where and how using a few of the prophecies identified with the Messiah.
Isaiah is a prophet that God raise up in Israel at a time to tell Israel that their land would be laid to waste, everything destroyed did they did not turn back to God. He preaches destruction with the promise of a remnant that would survive and the ultimate reconciliation with God when He sends his anointed one.
Isaiah 11:1-4 and it identifies who – the linage of the leader that God would send. It contains a combination of genealogy and abilities.
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
Jessie is the son of Obed and the Grandson of Boaz and Ruth. He has 8 sons and 2 daughters. The reason he is remembered in scripture is because he is the father of King David. This prediction comes after the time of David so it is not talking about him. Isaiah is identifying that the line of Jessie will be restarted. This anointed king will be in the same line as King David.
-- In the same time period the prophet Micah predicts that Israel will be under siege but offers the hope of a ruler raised up by God. He predicts where this leader will come from.
Micah 5:2 “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.”
Jeremiah 33:15 - ’In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.”
-- So the Jews of the day were very aware of the linage that was required of a person were to claim to be the messiah.
But these were qualifications that lots of people could claim. Being in the line of Jessie – of David and being born in the same town as David.
The key word being claim…there were no birth certificates.
The family lines were recalled orally.
Perhaps some people might claim that heritage because it made them feel better about themselves.
--- So being from a place or family would not be enough to make any certain person stand out.
So the Jews of the day probably needed something more convincing more obvious, more tangible.
That moves us to the “what” prophecies about the messiah. The predictions of some things to watch for.
One sign comes from Isaiah 40, it tell the readers that me messiah will be announced. God will send a messenger to offer comfort to God’s people.
In verse 5, it says, “A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”
The arrival of the messiah would be announced – more specifically the coming of God would be announced.
NT scripture makes a connection between this statement and John the Baptist. But it is not like this even was on the evening news. John was limited on how wide spread his ministry his announcement could be. His message was one of preparation and repentance in anticipation of god’s judgment of the world. He specifically spoke to Pharisees and Sadducees in harsh terms. His message was hard and yet he was popular with the people.
Maybe it came down to being in the right place at the right time. His preaching in the wilderness, by the Jordan river, he was dressed strangely. Scripture tells us that people came out form Jerusalem to hear him….That is about 20 miles from Jerusalem as the crow flies.
So while he did not have a Public relations team or a website, he did not get the attention of the Jerusalem gazette or the local public access channel. And he is a distance from the city.
All he does is speak about the coming messiah at the center of the Jewish faith, Jerusalem and the temple come to him to hear the message.
People notice – many respond in an act of baptism for cleansing. But it does not seem to last for too long….perhaps patience or wanting to see something happening.
-- Another thing that would be witnessed as a sign was what the Christ would preach.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
The messiah will preach the good News about the love of God to those that are poor, abused, handicapped and in mourning. He will restore their beauty – hope – and give them gladness.
They, the hearers, would become righteous and strong through his message. This kind of a preacher would probably draw crowds.
-- Another sign that would mark the messiah would be miracles.
Isaiah 35:5-6, “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
According to Isaiah, the anointed one of God will heal the physical ills of the people.
That is another what action that might catch the attention of people watching for the messiah and perhaps draw a crowd.
One additional “what to look for” is from Malachi (Malochee) That prophet describes the coming of the messiah, and a warning of what that might mean.
1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
5 "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty
The prophet Malachi some 700 years before the birth of Jesus – predicts a messenger, and the coming of the Lord to his temple. He also predicts that the people of that day would find the arrival of the person that prayed for, that the begged God to send would make them uncomfortable by his judgment of their righteousness.
-- So where is all this going to happen?
Isaiah offers a description of where the savior would minister when he came. -
Isaiah 9:1 “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 area from Galilee to Jerusalem between he sea and the rover Jordan.
One last scripture to identify how he might be recognized come form Zechariah 9:9 (500 BC)
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
These are just a few basic references that most Jews of the day would have known and accepted as they waited for God to free them from oppression. They would have been also aware of the suffering servant qualities that are also prophesied.
However, many of those end up being most useful after the fact. They are many of the signs that we Christians use to help us to do the math and see that the Parallels between Jesus’ life and the predictions are too close to be any kind of coincidence.
But, the Jews of the day did not have the same advantage of hind sight. They were living day to day with hopes that the messiah would come and change everything. A king that would bring justice and freedom for their oppressors and he has done so many tines in their past.
It would be easy to have doubts as to the claims of any person claiming to me the messiah.
What did the Jews expect?
They expected a great political and spiritual leader from the line of King David.
They expected him to be versed in the Law and observe all of its commandments…righteous.
That is the thing about human expectation compared to God’s plan.
They don’t always seem to match. All too often we decide what to look for and make personal judgments over what or who is holy. Over who is anointed by God and who is a complete sinner.
We sometimes miss Christ moving among us because we don’t see or feel or get what we expect in a given situation.
Many Jews witnessed the signs that were evident in Jesus’ life and responded to Immanuel.
But the majorities of Jews in Jesus’ day didn’t and were not supposed to get it.
They were not supposed to proclaim Jesus as the Christ.
Because God’s plan was different than most would expect.
--- What do we expect?
We have the advantages of have a scriptural account of the life of Jesus. It records the fulfillment of hundreds of OT prophecies. The prophecies proclaim what Classic Jesus would be and the NT offers confirmation.
-- I doubt that many people are convinced by a history lesson about the person of Jesus.
I believe that it is normally something more personal and less tangible that brings people to faith. I believe that the history helps us to find confirmation of what we see and feel.
But being a Christian comes down to having a personal knowledge. A personal acceptance. A personal relationship.
Do we know Jesus as our Savior? As king? As a good teacher? Do we know the classic Jesus? Or have we shaped who he is and what He cam for to match a personal expectation or a view shaped by a cultural influence?
-- If you need to be reminded about what classic Jesus is all about, you need to read your Bible and watch for the signs of His presence in your lives?
All Glory be to God