Summary: We see the fulfillment of OT prophecies culminate in the book of Matthew.
Christmas B.C.: The Fulfillment
Rev. Brian Bill
December 24, 2000 (Evening)
Kids, its great being out of school for a few days, isn’t it? Now that it’s Christmas vacation, no one needs to come up with an excuse to get out of classes – at least until January. I came across some actual excuse notes that were sent to teachers (I’m including the original spelling).
· Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on January 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.
· Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.
· Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.
· Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.
By the way, these excuses were actually written by parents! We live in a culture of excuses, don’t we? We’re quick to blame others or our circumstances. We try to get out of commitments. We excuse our behavior. And, we sometimes come up with excuses as it pertains to our relationship with God.
I want to state unequivocally that of all the things that Christmas is, the birth of Jesus demonstrates that there is no room for excuses. God has made it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the 300 or so prophecies and pictures in the Old Testament. That means that at Christmas, the Old and the New intersect, culminating in an extravagant explosion of fulfillment. In short, we have no more excuses.
During our “Christmas B.C.” series, we’ve identified four key prophecies that were fulfilled precisely by Christ. He is the Seed from Genesis 3:15 who would one day crush the head of Satan when He died on the Cross. He is the sacrificial Lamb who was pictured in the Passover in Exodus 12. The Place He was to be born was prophesied 700 years beforehand in Micah 5:2 and was fulfilled when Mary gave birth to her little lamb in Bethlehem. And, His Birth was miraculous in that it perfectly fulfilled Isaiah’s prediction that He would be born of a virgin in Isaiah 7:14.
Beginning in the book of Matthew we move from the realm of shadow, prediction, picture, and prophecy to the full sunshine of the presentation of the Son of God. You cannot read the Old Testament without being aware of this constant promise running through every page: Someone is coming! Someone is coming! Someone is coming!
Christmas According to Matthew
I want to focus my comments tonight on the first book of the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew carefully links the first part of the Bible with the second by citing 53 direct quotes, and 76 allusions from the Old Testament. The gospel writer clearly identifies Jesus as the promised and long awaited Messiah, or Savior. Without a doubt, the evidence is overwhelming. Jesus is clearly presented as the fulfillment of all that the prophets of old were longing for.
Matthew uses the phrase, “to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet” eleven times in his book. I want to start at the end of his gospel and work backwards to show how precisely the person of Jesus, and the events of His life, fulfilled everything that was written about Him hundreds of years before He was even born.
· The betrayal by Judas (27:9) was predicted by Jeremiah 32:6-9.
· Entering Jerusalem on a colt (21:1-7) was first pictured by Zechariah 9:9.
· Speaking in parables (13:35) was laid out in Psalm 78:2.
· Affirmation of His ministry (12:14-21) was predicted in Isaiah 42:1-4.
· Healing of people (8:14-17) was pictured in Isaiah 53:4.
· Origination of His ministry (4:13-16) was first mentioned in Isaiah 9:1-2.
· Living in Nazareth (2:19-23) some commentators say was pictured in Judges 13:5.
· Slaughter of young boys (2:16-18) was sadly predicted in Jeremiah 31:15.
· Flight from Egypt (2:12-15) was spelled out in Hosea 11:1.
· Born in Bethlehem (2:1-10) was prophesied in Micah 5:2.
· His virgin birth (1:22-23) was clearly foretold in Isaiah 7:14.
Matthew ties the Old to the New in order to tell us that we are without excuse. He also very clearly sets forth Jesus as the King. Thus, the Babe born in Bethlehem is not only our merciful and loving Savior, He is also the King who warns of judgment to come and expects right living to be manifested by those who claim to know Him.
The carols we sing this time of the year are filled with references to the fact that Jesus Christ was born a King.
Joy to the World “The Lord is come, let earth receive her King.”
Angels We Have Heard on High “Christ the Lord, the newborn King.”