From The Pastor’s Desk
Have you ever been or known someone who has been a victim of some form of identity theft? These days, keeping your identity protected is a pretty important thing. We are not the only ones who are concerned about identity. Over 2,000 years ago, the son of a carpenter from Nazareth was faced with the challenge of trying to prove who He was, even to His own hometown (Matt 13:55). How would Jesus prove who He really was? He would do it by pointing people to the prophecies of Scriptures (which we know as the Old Testament) and to Himself as the fulfillment of those ancient prophecies. To put it another way, in the Old Testament, God provides a job description of what the Messiah would be expected to do.
So, what does it matter? Why is it important for you and me to know that Jesus is the Fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies? Is it so that you will be able to answer a question of trivia? “Who perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies?” “I know! I know! Jesus!” Right answer but wrong reason for needing to know it.
Here are three better reasons to know that Jesus is the Fulfillment of Prophecy:
1. It confirms for you that the Bible is a unified document. Everything that God foretold about the Messiah in the Old Testament was fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament. That’s no accident or coincidence.
2. The fact that Jesus is the Fulfillment of Prophecy proves that God keeps His promises. If God made good on His promises regarding what the Messiah would do, He’ll also keep the promises He’s made regarding what He’ll do for you. Promises like, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb 13:5). Or, “Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you.” (Ps 50:15) Or “I have called you by name; you are mine.” (Is 43:1).
3. The most important reason for you to know that Jesus is the Fulfillment of Prophecy is that He did it all FOR YOU.
Think about it. Everything that the prophets promised the Messiah would do, Jesus has accomplished FOR YOU. He’s set you free from eternal death. He has completely atoned for your sins. And what is really remarkable is that He has opened your eyes to see and believe that He is your Redeemer. In that sense, these prophetic words of Isaiah (Is 35:5) have been fulfilled in you. God has opened your eyes and mine to see Jesus for who He really is. Purely by the grace of God, you know that Jesus is exactly who the prophets said He would be. By the grace of God, you know Jesus’ true identity. And because you know Jesus’ true identity, you also know your true identity. You know that for Jesus’ sake, you are a dearly loved, fully redeemed, heaven-bound, precious child of God. Believe it and live it, for Jesus’ sake!
This is the message we hope to convey together in our participation in the live nativity exhibition along with the congregations of St. Paul and St. John this month (Dec. 17 & 18). Our role in this event will be to point to a handful of familiar Old Testament prophecies for the public. This is also the theme of the upcoming midweek Advent services (Dec. 1, 8, and 15, 6:30 pm) titled: “Before Christmas – The Story of Jesus From God’s Prophets.” For us to be able to identify Jesus as the Fulfillment of Prophecy, we need to 1. Listen to what He says through God’s Word and 2. We also need to and receive Him during this Advent season and in our celebration of His most holy birth, in the Lord’s Supper.
Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!
Pr. Cary Larson