Summary: As we approach Christmas this year, I call on all of us to look at the 2 great examples of proclaiming Messiah that we find in Luke 2...
Date Written: November 24, 2012
Date Preached: November 25, 2012
Church: OPBC (AM) Sunday
Series: Approaching the Manger
Sermon: Tracing Messiah!
Text: Isaiah 53:2-6 [HCSB]
Have you ever heard of an auto-stereo-gram? Well it is one of those pictures that you are supposed to be able to look at and all of a sudden another image just jumps out at you?
Basically it looks like a bunch of dots or squiggles or some random pattern, but as you look at it an image like a horse, ballerina or something else suddenly appears. Some are easier to pick out than others.
I know that I have all sorts of trouble ‘seeing’ what I am ‘supposed’ to see in these pictures. However, the truth of the matter is this, once you CAN see the image, it seems to get easier.
Here are a couple of examples of what I mean. What do you think this 1st picture is about? Look at it carefully for 10 seconds. [count to ten silently] now do you ‘see’ it? It is “Jesus” – show highlighted version of picture…
Here is one a little bit harder, look at this picture and tell me if you can see 5 horses? I will give you 10 seconds [count to ten silently] Do you see them? Show the highlighted version of the picture now…
Finally look at this picture… Take a look at this picture! Stare at it for a few seconds and a 3D image of something should jump out at you… [wait 10 seconds]
Do you see it? Well I could NOT see it and was unable to find it on my own until it was pointed out to me! Show highlighted picture of dolphins…
Still don’t believe it is a picture of dolphins? Well I can tell you that it is and you can either believe me and take it on faith, or you can choose to NOT believe me and deny that the dolphins are there…
Now you may wonder what I am doing here…but this is basically the same concept the Jews of Jesus’ day was dealing with when it came to Messiah. What was their concept of Messiah in the 1st century?
Well according to Jewish teachings, the Jews saw and still see their coming Messiah through a human perspective. The do not see Messiah through the lens of a redeeming God as Christians do.
They use the term "mashiach" to describe “Messiah” which literally means "the anointed one," and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne.
They believe that their coming messiah will be anointed and accepted as king of the world by all people in the End of Days.
For the Jew Messiah would be:
A great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5).
He would be versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5).
He would be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example.
He would be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel.
He would be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15).
But above all, he would be human, not a god, demi-god or any other supernatural being.
He would NOT be a spiritual savior because the term they use ‘mashiach’ does not mean savior. The view of a spiritual savior is a strictly Christian concept and it carries no weight in Judaism
Along with those characteristics the Jews believed Messiah could be described in what He was to accomplish when He came:
Messiah would bring about political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing all exiles back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12).
He would establish a government in Israel that would be the center of world government, both for all people (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1).
He would rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship (Jeremiah 33:18).
He would restore the religious court system of Israel and Jewish law as the law of all the land (Jeremiah 33:15).
This is what they were taught as children about Messiah. This is what the Pharisees and the disciples of Jesus’ day would have KNOWN about Messiah.
To them, they believed that when Messiah came all hostilities would cease and Israel would take its rightful place back at the head of the world’s table as it had been in the time of King David, and they would be led by Messiah.
They believed and still believe to this day that when Messiah comes that all peoples of the world will simply believe as they believe. They believe that the people of the world will simply accept and believe that the Jewish faith was the right way.
They way they describe this is that they compare it to knowing absolute truth such as 2 + 2 = 4. This can be shown and proven… and when Messiah comes it will be shown and proven, and there will be NO MORE DOUBT or argument over the issue!