Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Proclaiming the Name of Jesus!

Part 3 – Prophecy Fulfilled

Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church

Read Part 2

(2/25) Now we’ve seen here in Acts chapter 3, how Jesus heals a man… all because Peter had the boldness to take the risk and invite the living, resurrected, Jesus into that moment. And so suddenly a man lame from birth is dancing around the temple grounds… its amazing… the people were astonished… and they came running… So Peter sees the crowd gathering and he seizes the opportunity to speak the truth. So, he’s going to preach… the Holy Spirit empowers him… like the Holy Spirit desires to empower you and I… and Peter preaches this amazing sermon. He proclaims the name of Jesus, pointing out the One who is the object of our faith… Jesus the Son of God, the suffering servant, the holy and righteous one, the author of life, and our Savior.

And then Peter goes on to say that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. So he talks a lot about the prophets. He quotes from Moses. He quotes from Samuel. He’s quoting the prophets… let’s read it in Acts 3:17-26

Verse 17, "Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'

24 "Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways." NIV

Peter says, "This is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets..." You see the Bible is the book that God wrote… its a book that God wrote for us… and God fulfilled, and God foretold, like an autobiography, from beginning to end its primarily about Jesus... its pointing us to Jesus. Which means, when we read it, it’s not like some sort of self-help book at Barnes and Nobles. You don’t come to the Bible and say, "What are some principles that might improve my life?" Instead, we recognize, we acknowledge that this book is primarily about what Jesus has done… a book primarily about who Jesus is… and as we come to grasp and understand who Jesus is, that changes who we are… that changes what we do… and so the primary purpose of the Scriptures is to share the good news about what Christ has done. And that, the good news, is what causes transformation… what causes life change.

So all of this is revealed to us in the Bible, in God’s Word, through what is called prophecy. Now some of you may know this, but when the Bible was originally written… it was a series of books and letters written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by around 40 different authors from all walks of life; over a period of some 1,500 years, from around 1450 B.C. (the time of Moses) to about 100 A.D. (following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ). So it’s written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit over hundreds of years, and about 20 percent of what is written, 20 percent of the Bible is prophetic in nature. It was God, who knows the future, who is "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 22:13), telling us in advance what would happen in great detail. And most of that prophecy surrounds the coming, the person, and the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Like, in the very beginning, Genesis chapter 3, the prophecy is given by God through Moses that Jesus would come as a son, the male offspring, of a woman.

Then in Isaiah chapter 7, God says, that his mom, this woman, would be a virgin. So now we’re really narrowing down the list of candidates, amen?

And Isaiah chapter 9 says that his name would be Immanuel. Does anyone remember what Immanuel means? "God with us" (Matthew 1:23) right? So the number of applicants has dropped off considerably.

There are many, many, prophecies of Jesus Christ and too many for our time this morning, but as we continue, the Bible says, that he would be born in Bethlehem, that he would be taken to the temple, a temple which was destroyed in A.D. 70. So, God promised that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come before A.D. 70, because he was supposed to go to the temple. Now there is no temple. It was destroyed 1,944 years ago. So, it’s over… it’s done… it’s taken care of… it’s in the rearview mirror, right?

Now, all of these prophecies point to the coming of Jesus in great detail; because this is the book that God wrote, and he knows the future and he brings it to pass. So what Peter’s saying is this: God’s people were waiting and listening to the prophets. They wondered, "When is Jesus coming?" And Peter says, "In your day, he came, all the prophecies were fulfilled, and you killed him!"

But death could not hold the Author of Life… "God raised up his servant..." Jesus rose from the dead, fulfilling more prophecies in Isaiah 52 and 53, that he would be crucified; that he’d be pierced for our transgressions; that he’d be buried with the rich; that he would suffer, but he’ll "see the light of life and be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11). He would be high and exalted! All of this predicted in the Old Testament. That Jesus is the Christ!

1. The Christ

So today, you and I are in a privileged position, because Jesus came, he lived, he died, he rose, and he ascended. We’ve seen the fulfillment of prophecy. We’ve seen the birth of the church. We’ve seen the formation of the Bible, all 66 books in one big book, what is called the closing of the canon of Scripture. And now for centuries, the majority of the prophecies about Jesus have already been fulfilled; we’re leaning and straining into the future. We’re in a privileged place, but we’re still anticipating some to be fulfilled. We haven’t seen the second coming of Jesus. We haven’t seen the resurrection of the dead. We haven’t seen the judgment of the living and the dead. We haven’t seen the sentencing to eternal heaven or hell (Matthew 25:31-33).

So, we’re in the time between the times, we’re waiting, learning, yearning for the second coming of Jesus, He is the Christ, and He is the fulfillment of prophesy. Now this may be strange language for some of us, but his name is Jesus Christ; not a first and last name, it’s not Mr. Christ, so let me explain quickly. Jesus means "God saves." Christ is actually a title. It’s like a doctor’s title, M.D. And Christ means, "The Anointed One" he is the special one, the unique one, the chosen one, and our Jewish friends will call him "Messiah". Jesus is the Christ… the Messiah.

So the prophets foretold of our Savior, the one who is chosen to come, to save a people, and to usher a new Kingdom of God into existence. And we pray, and wait, and yearn for the Christ. You see, you and I have this deep longing for Messiah. We do… our hearts long for someone who will come save us and make it all better.

And we see this played out in our lives every election year… it’s messiah time, right? Every year it’s the same… we just change the candidates’ names. Things are really bad and we wonder… could hell be worse than this? So we’re looking for heaven on earth. We vote for the messiah. He’ll come and save us. He’ll bring hope… He’ll bring "Change we can believe in" He’ll make things better. He’ll crush our enemies. He’ll usher in a kingdom of peace. He’s going to take care of us. Vote for the messiah!

But it doesn’t work… that’s why we keep having elections. And it’s going to be like that until Jesus comes back and he puts an end to all elections. Then we’ll have our King. We won’t need to vote. But until that day, our souls are wired to want a messiah, and it’s so deep that we keep believing the promises. Yes, they’re like us but better than us… they’ve come to save us and give us a kingdom. And Peter says that God fulfilled what he had foretold, He sent the Christ. Jesus, is our Messiah. He is our Christ. And so we don’t have campaign promises; we have a Messiah. We don’t have a false kingdom and a false peace; but we have a real lasting kingdom.

2. The Prophet

And so now Peter says that Jesus is a prophet like Moses. Now to say that to these Jews in the temple was very daring. You see if you were a Hebrew boy growing up collecting trading cards, a Moses rookie card was a big deal. You see Moses was the first and greatest prophet. He is a big deal for the Hebrew people. He led them out of slavery to Egypt. He gave them the first five books of the Old Testament. So Moses is a big deal, I mean God gave him the Ten Commandments… and not just once, but twice!

So Peter tells the people, in verse 22, "Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people…" Now can you imagine the response? Somebody’s coming who’s like Moses. Can you imagine the speculation? Facebook and Google plus… the Twitter polls are blowing up… everybody’s trying to figure this out. "Who’s that? Who’s bigger than Moses?" but Peter’s quoting the Bible!

And so, there’s a succession of prophets leading up to Jesus, the One who is like Moses… He’s the prophet. He’s God become a man… but he’s also a preacher from God. And you know, in our culture, it’s popular to see Jesus as humble carpenter in a dress with long hair, hanging out with children, feeding people, and petting lambs, right? Everybody loves that Jesus.

But how about the preacher Jesus? The preacher Jesus said some controversial things like, "I’m God. You’re a sinner. Repent, or I’ll send you to hell." Seriously, that’s why they killed him… Then he got up, he walked out of the grave, and said, "Back to my first point," right?

You see, Jesus rarely got in trouble for what he did… but he often got in trouble for what he said. And so Jesus would preach, and some would believe and some wouldn’t, some would repent and some wouldn’t, some would submit and others refused. So there was a conflict between Jesus and those who were unwilling to listen.

And so Peter preached, "You must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people" (Acts 3:22-23). Again, some refused to listen, but today we need to listen to the words of Jesus and let him be a prophet who tells us the truth, because that’s what a prophet does. A prophet tells you the truth. But hear me in this: a prophet tells you the truth because they love you, they care about you, and they want to steer you out of harm’s way. That’s what the prophets do, and that’s what Jesus the Prophet did.

3. The Offspring

Then Peter goes on to say, God said to Abraham, "Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed" (Acts 3:25). So he says that Jesus is the offspring of Abraham. And here, Peter goes all the way back to Genesis, the very first book of the Bible. And you don’t have to read very far before you run into this guy named Abram. Now as far as we can tell historically, Abram was from an ungodly nation. He lived near where they created the Tower of Babel in rebellion against God. And yet the Bible says that God picked one of these rebellious, undeserving, pagan people like me… God showed up and said, "Abram, here’s what we’re going to do: I’m going to give you a son… through that son will come a nation… through that nation will come offspring… and through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed."

So God sought out Abram. God called him in his grace, he changed his identity, he changed his name to Abraham and allows this childless old man to have a child… offspring… descendants… and as Peter mentioned earlier saying, "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob", he’s talking about generations. And through that son comes the nation of Israel… through Israel comes the Offspring, the most important Son, the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and he is the blessing to the nations of the earth.

So this is super important for you and me to realize, because in that day, they tended to have national gods. So, these people in the hill country have their god… these people by the sea have their god… and they pray and offer sacrifices to their god for power to beat up on one another. But then the real God shows up and says, "You all need to repent. I’m the Lord over all the nations. I’m the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and you don’t get to war with me… you don’t get to war with one another… but what we’re going to do is make this new group called the Church. So you’re going to love one another like family and it’s going to be people from every language, tribe, tongue, and nation… it’s going to be people of every class, race, and economic background…. because a promise was made that Jesus Christ would be a blessing for all people."

So this is good news, right? That’s what he’s saying and that’s our Jesus. He’s the offspring of Abraham, the prophet like Moses, and the Christ. He’s the blessing to the nations.

And as we close I want to say this… today… Christians and non-Christians alike have a list of issues that we disagree on. There’s a bit of a war over the things like our current moral, spiritual, and cultural climate, but it’s actually deeper than that. Because a non-Christian begins with this assumption: "I’m basically a good person. I don’t need to change who I am. Maybe I need to improve a little of who I am, but I’m basically a good person."

Yet as Christians we believe that the highest authority is God, not us. And God’s Word, the Scriptures, are not preferences, we don’t pick and choose what we like. But we believe what God has said, and that we are the ones who need to change. Because God showed up and said, "You all need to repent. I’m the Lord over all the nations. I’m the King of kings and Lord of lords."

And so here’s what Peter says… we’ve rebelled against the God who made us… we ignored His warnings… and we chose death. But in his love God came for us… and we killed him. So God rose from the dead and said, "I will forgive you, embrace you, and help you. Together we’ll change. I’ll give you a new heart. I’ll make you into a new Creation." And so that’s what God’s call to the nations… to us is… "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened… and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).

It’s the same grace extended to Abraham… it’s an act of love… it’s an invitation to get out of the path of the wrath of God and to be embraced by the love of God, in Christ Jesus. And here’s the truth about the love of Jesus: Jesus’ love is recognized on the cross. It’s realized when we admit that his dying was for us, for our sin. So, we come to Jesus as we are, but coming to Jesus means we’re acknowledging that we need to change and we’re sorry for what we’ve done. So Peter says to the people and that’s repentance. "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19)

And God gives this great promise for those who repent.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Prayer: Father in heaven, I thank you for the opportunity to turn from sin… from darkness to light… from rebellion to obedience… from sin to Jesus. That’s what I want for your people…. That we would live under his authority, with him, for him, through him, and by him. Amen!

Read past sermons by Pastor John Talcott

Learn more about the Christ's Community Church