I like reading sermon manuscripts! So, I thought it might be helpful for some if I shared some various manuscripts of messages I have preached from time to time. Now, I am not going to do the work of editing them, so please be patient the presentation, as I type them a certain way to make it easier for me as I preach. You can listen to the audio here. This particular message is about what it means for Jesus to be the Messiah.
If you will take your Bibles and open to Luke chapter 9, and we are going to be looking at verses 21 and 22 together, as we continue to learn from Luke’s presentation of Jesus.
Because, that’s what he is doing, really.
He is presenting Jesus to us.
And I was thinking this week.
I wonder as you go to talk with people about Jesus, what you would most want them to know about Him?
Because, that’s kind of what is happening here.
This is what Luke most wants us to know about Jesus, and I was wondering as you talk with others about Him, what is that you would say, that you most want them to know?
Which, I guess, just assumes, of course, that you do.
With other people about Jesus.
If you are not talking with people about Jesus, I think you probably need to go back and make sure you have really seen Him.
Are seeing Him, because He’s the kind of person, if you are seeing Him for who He is, that, you are going to be talking about.
There are certain people that are just so big and so important.
That you have to talk about them.
Jesus is definitely one of them.
And so the question, is not, so much, if, you are talking about Jesus, but, instead, as you are talking with other people about Jesus.
What is it that you most want those people, to know about Him?
For some of you.
It might be that He’s the Savior.
And for others, how He is your friend.
But as you read the Bible, it quickly becomes clear that one of the most important things the believers in the early church wanted others to know about Jesus.
Was that He was the Christ.
Or, you could say, Messiah.
In fact, John, you might remember, explains, this is why he wrote his gospel.
In John chapter 20, verse 31.
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have line in his name.”
And so, if you asked John why did you go to all this work to write this gospel, he would say, well, one reason is so that you would believe Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah.
Which I think.
As you look through the other gospel writers, while they don’t say it quite as explicitly, it’s pretty clear.
Their purpose is the same.
Matthew begins his gospel with this long list of names, linking Jesus to the Old Testament, specifically to David, which maybe seems boring to us, but serves a very big purpose, because he’s wanting us to see Jesus really is the Promised, Messiah.
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.”
And you know.
Mark is the same.
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
And it’s not just the gospel writers that felt this was important, we see in the book of Acts, the way the early church witnessed.
Peter’s first great sermon.
“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
And, then Acts 5:42.
This is a summary statement of the way the leaders of the early church went about doing ministry.
And Luke writes.
“And every day in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease from teaching and preaching.”
“Jesus as the Christ.”
Acts 8:5 gives us Philip as an example.
“Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.”
And Acts 9:22.
“But Saul (whose name was later changed to Paul) increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.”
If you went to hear Paul preach, it’s like you were going to hear him talking from the Scriptures about how Jesus really was the Messiah.
This was early on in his ministry.
And later as well.
“When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.”
And it makes sense that they spent so much time on this, because this is a big part of what the whole Bible is about.
As we open up our Bibles and start reading through the Old Testament, God’s giving us pictures of the Messiah and what He’ll be like and what He’ll do, so that we’ll be ready for Him when He comes, it’s like history before it happens, and then it happens, and in the New Testament, the writers are saying this is Him, this is the one we’ve all been talking about.
Which if you think about it.
Is kind of how Luke’s been organizing his gospel.
As he’s been bringing us back to the question, who is Jesus, over and over again, as he is giving us these pictures of what Jesus is saying and doing, and most of the pictures, honestly, are of Jesus doing the stuff in the pictures, we found in the Old Testament, and so, it’s almost like the tension is building up, who is Jesus, who is Jesus, who is Jesus, is this the One, when in chapter 9.
He is the Christ of God.
The problem of course that we have in our day as we go out to tell people that about Jesus, that He is the Christ of God, is that most people have no idea what that means.
Jesus is the Christ.
And it feels a little bit for a lot of people we talk to, they have a very warped understanding of what Christianity is about.
Even though they are familiar with some of the words we find in the Bible, you just can’t assume that most people, are really familiar with the actual story the Bible is telling about what God is doing in this universe.
And so part.
Of what we’ve always said you have to be doing when you are going to share the gospel with others, is you can’t just say words like you are saved by grace, you have to explain words, like what is saved, and what is grace, or and this is, I am saying a very important one, what does it mean that Jesus is the Christ.
That’s kind of the problem we face, that for many people Christ is just a word, with no meaning behind it.
Like if I say my name is Joshua Mack.
Mack doesn’t mean anything to any of you.
It doesn’t carry any significance, and so it just a sound in the air, that goes right past you, which is what happens with a lot of people when we say, Jesus is the Christ.
The problem the early believers often had though when they went out to share Jesus as the Christ was a little different.
If our problem is that many people have no concept of what we mean by Christ, their problem was that many people had the wrong concept.
In that they were often talking to Jews.
Which meant they did have some concept of what God had promised He would accomplish in the Scriptures.
And so their problem wasn’t so much that they had no idea what was meant by calling Jesus the Christ, but instead that their view of what the Bible said the Christ would come and do.
They were expecting a Messiah, and we are talking where the early church started, the Jews, in Jesus day were most definitely expecting a Messiah to come.
They had been expecting a Messiah, since God made that promise to Eve, about one of her seed, defeating Satan.
A lot of people think that Eve when she had her first baby, was thinking, is this the one? I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord, and actually in the Hebrew apparently, with the help of is not there, so it’s I’ve gotten a man, the Lord, as if she’s thinking, is this the Promised One, and of course, he wasn’t, but the point is she was looking for a Messiah, even if she didn’t have that word yet.
That’s just a very basic component, of what most serious Jewish people have always believed, in fact, when one rabbi around the year 1000 A.D. tried to compile a list of some of the most basic principles of the Jewish faith, one of the thirteen principles he came up with, was.
I believe with a perfect faith that the Messiah will come, and although his coming may be delayed, I will wait for His appearance.
And if is that people were saying then, in the year 1000, it would have only been something they were even were more passionate about in Jesus’ day.
They had been through a lot. Just their historical circumstances would have made them especially eager for a Messiah, because the Jewish people at that point had really suffered, specifically, in terms of being oppressed by foreign powers.
While it is true.
They were living in their own country, they were living in Israel, it was almost worse than being in exile, because it wasn’t their country actually, and I am sure, some of you know what that feels like.
To be living somewhere.
Where foreigners come in and they basically steal from you, so that they get rich, off of the stuff that actually belongs to you, while you have a hard time even surviving, and so as you can imagine, there was a very intense longing for deliverance from all this.
And as a result, most of common people, in Jesus’ day were looking for a Messiah who would come and be a warrior king.
That was pretty much the prevailing Jewish expectation of their Messiah.
Someone I was listening to recently said there were three components to it.
First, as I said the Jewish people were looking for a Messiah who would strictly and exclusively come a warrior king and destroy their non-Jewish, Gentile over-lords and exalt Israel to their place as a great nation.
And then, added to that.
And this is important.
Second, this Messiah would come for Israel alone.
And what I mean is, they weren’t sitting there thinking, what good is God going to do for people who are not Jews, I just hope the Romans get blessed, because of the most of them pretty much, hated Gentiles. And that’s actually part of why they got so upset with Jesus back in Luke 4, you remember, when he went back to his hometown and talked about being the Messiah, he didn’t emphasize what they wanted him to emphasize, which was this big judgment on people who weren’t Jews.
Instead, he was kind of confronting them, they felt, it’s like hey, and that just did not fit with the way they were thinking about the Messiah.
Because they were thinking the Messiah would one, be a warrior king, who, two, would judge the Gentiles, and three, demand nothing of the Jews, so long as you were the physical descendant of Abraham, you were in, and you would enjoy everything the Messiah had to bring, as a result.
Which is why Jesus doesn’t allow the disciples to just go around telling everyone that he was the Messiah.
I think one of the clearest proofs of the fact that people weren’t thinking about the Messiah straight, is the fact that after the disciples make this beautiful and important confession in Luke 9, verse 20 about Jesus.
The very first thing Jesus tells them is that they are not allowed to tell anyone.
Verse 20 and 21.
“Then he said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Peter answered, ‘The Christ of God.’ And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one.”
And you are like wait a second, what? He says it twice for emphasis. He strictly charged them and commanded them. It’s not just he told them. No, he strictly charged them and commanded them. Actually it’s he commanded them, how, by strictly charging them and the word strictly charged, one of the most common ways it is used, is as a rebuke or as one definition has it, “to command with the implication of a threat.”
This is a big deal to Jesus.
And I know we read things like this sometimes without really paying attention, but it actually is pretty strange, because here’s this amazing confession, and the disciples hardly get anything right in the gospels, but here they finally get something right, and we know it is right because Jesus says it is right in Matthew 16, he says this confession is revelation from God, and what would you expect after Jesus basically says, yes, you got it, you would expect Jesus to say, now, go, and tell everyone what God told you, but instead, He says the opposite.
Imagine if you came to me, and I was like do you understand the gospel, and you tell me the gospel, and I am like, yes that’s it, you’ve got it, and then I told you, whatever you do, don’t tell anyone.
And I am like, seriously.
And this is after Jesus had already sent them out, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and you are like, what’s changed?
What’s changed is that it’s becoming very clear the Jews are in the middle of rejecting Jesus because of their inadequate understanding of what the Messiah needed to do.
For two and a half years Jesus had been going throughout Israel, performing all these miracles and saturating the land with his twofold claim, to be God in the flesh, and to be the Messiah, and you know, in spite of the undeniable proofs Jesus had given to prove the truth of those claims, Israel wasn’t accepting Him for who He was and Jesus is seeing that.
Though the disciples are not, because there still is a lot of excitement around him, from the crowds, mostly about how they might use Jesus, but there have been these two great moments of rejection that have made it clear to Jesus, that this phase of his ministry is coming to a close.
And the first you can read about in Matthew 12, where Jesus quotes an Old Testament picture about the Messiah, explains how he is the fulfillment of that Scripture, and then does what is in the picture basically, healing a demon possessed man who was blind and mute, and the Pharisees, look at this very clear evidence of Jesus’ Messiahship, and say, nope, this is the devil’s work, not God’s, which is a huge rejection from the religious leaders.
And the second was what happened after the feeding of the five thousand, where the crowds were excited about what Jesus did, and they wanted to actually make Him king, but clearly not because they were interested in God’s agenda as laid out in the Scripture, but for their own selfish purposes, and that becomes clear when Jesus says what you need more than food is a relationship with me, and they are like, no, actually, all we want is for you to do miracles, when we ask.
And so I am saying one of the reasons Jesus is charging the disciples not to go around telling everyone he is the Christ of God right now, is because, the people had already made it very clear, they weren’t interested in listening to Jesus explain to them what that actually meant. They already had their idea, and they were passionate about sticking to it, and actually if they stuck to it, it would have made it more difficult for Jesus to do what God had sent Him to do.
Especially, because Jesus knew the disciples themselves, didn’t really fully understand what it meant for Jesus to be the Christ of God and that’s probably the biggest issue here. Even though Peter got it right, Jesus is the Christ of God, if you asked Peter to explain, ok, what does it mean for Jesus to be the Christ of God, his explanation at that point, here in Luke 9, would have been different than Jesus’ and we know that because, when Jesus gives his explanation, right after Jesus gives his explanation, Peter rebukes him. He literally takes Jesus aside, and he’s like, no, you got this wrong, this is not how it is supposed to work, and so of course, you can’t send out these men who are all confused, to explain what the Messiah was coming to do, to a people who, themselves, were also very confused about all of that.
It’s like in school sometimes when your friend tries to explain Algebra to you, and he doesn’t know what he is talking about, so you are both more confused at the end, which is why instead, of sending the disciples out once they made this confession, we see here, that Jesus takes some time to explain one key aspect of his work as Messiah that he knew they and everyone else was missing.
And that is that of, suffering.
“And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, ‘The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
The Son of Man is already a funny thing for Jesus to say. There are some things here that are very clear, but Jesus starting, the Son of Man, is already a little bit different because Peter’s just called him the Christ, the Messiah, and so, you might expect Jesus to charge them not to tell anyone, by saying, the Christ must suffer many things.
And it’s a hard word, honestly, the Son of Man, which I think is part of the point, it’s more mysterious than Messiah. If you heard Jesus calling himself that, you could think he was just talking about himself as a man, or a human, son of, meaning sharing the same nature, I am the son of a man, I am a man, and that wasn’t going to be offensive to anyone, and yet, if you were a little more in tune with the Old Testament, you might think about Daniel 7, “I saw in the night visions, and behold with the clouds of heaven, there came one like a Son of Man,” and we are reading here not just about another human, but about someone who is fundamentally, different than every other human, because when He comes before God the Father, Daniel says, “to him was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
And so I am saying, as Jesus is explaining what the Messiah was going to do, even here with his disciples, he’s being very subtle in the way he’s going about it, besides telling them not to tell anyone, even as he talks about it, he uses a term, that would be clear enough to those with a humble heart and who wanted to see, and yet, wouldn’t be so in your face, that those people who didn’t care about God’s agenda, would do something stupid and try to take Him and force Him to do something God wasn’t calling Him to do.
At that point.
Not because, and this is the part we don’t want to get wrong, not because, the people were just so crazy to think that the Old Testament was promising a great warrior King who would defeat their enemies, and do all of that, because it did promise that actually, but instead, because it was clear to Jesus, that in order for Him to be that warrior King, the Old Testament said, certain other things had to happen first.
And looking at verse 22.
Four things specifically.
He had to suffer many things.
He had to be rejected by the religious leaders.
He had to be killed.
And on the third day He had to be raised from the dead.
Which are words, you are going to be hearing, from this point on, over and over and over again. This is two and a half years into Jesus’ ministry, and as far as we know from the gospel of Luke, this is the first time, Jesus has told his disciples this, and yet, from this point on, as Luke records his last year of ministry with them, it seems like this is something he is constantly talking about.
“Let these words sink into your ears, ‘The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”
“I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished.”
“Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.”
The Son of Man “will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spat upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
Even the last supper.
“This is my body, which is given for you.”
And I think, we’ve become so used to this idea, it’s easy for us to miss how hard it was for the disciples to grasp what Jesus was saying, about His suffering.
He said it so many times.
And it’s kind of like, I don’t know if you have ever had an idea in your mind and you are just sure, that is the way it is going to go down, and you are so sure, that is the way it is going to go down, that even when someone else contradicts that idea, it’s like you don’t even hear them.
That’s the way it was for the disciples, anytime Jesus talked about suffering. It’s like he was talking a different language. Blank stares. And it’s good they went through this, this period of having a hard time understanding this, because later, after Jesus rose from the dead and sent them out as his witnesses, this was one the major stumbling blocks, for people when it came to believing that Jesus was the Messiah.
They were like Jesus is the Messiah, what are you talking about, He died.
And the way He died, too.
Rejected by His people.
Crucified on a cross.
And that’s what Rome did, to humiliate, you might say, would be Messiahs.
In fact, it’s like, the way this went down, is the opposite of what people were thinking would happen with a Messiah, which is part of what makes the fact there even is a thing, called Christianity, something you wouldn’t expect to happen, because while maybe during Jesus’ life, you could see people thinking He was the Messiah, if you look at just the common way people were thinking in His day, I can’t find anyone who was talking about a suffering Messiah.
There’s no one who would have looked at someone dying on a cross, and been like, oh yeah, he must be the Messiah, now, not because, they were reading the Old Testament correctly, they weren’t, and that’s kind of the whole point, I am making, because, the problem wasn’t with Jesus somehow failing to be the Messiah the Old Testament talked about, but instead with people’s expectations, of how he was going to accomplish that.
You have to catch this.
Because this becomes a main theme, in the gospels and the New Testament.
Even here in this text.
What does Jesus say?
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected and be killed and be raised.”
And the key word there is must, or as it is translated, in other places, it is necessary, and why was it necessary, not because, things were just getting out of control and Jesus didn’t know what to do or how to handle it, but, instead because, of what the Old Testament prophecies actually taught about the Messiah.
This is biblical.
A suffering Messiah.
It is there in the Old Testament, though it has to be pointed out and explained, probably because, if was too clear, the people would have used it as an excuse, we have to reject the Messiah, so that He can save us.
Which is why, according to Jesus, all this stuff that looked like a defeat, to everyone else, the Jews rejecting Him, being crucified on the cross, was actually a predetermined part of God’s plan, enabling Him, actually to accomplish His work as the Messiah.
Is this making sense to you?
I hope so but it became, a big part, of how, later, the apostles went about witnessing.
Paul, for example, in Acts 17.
Luke tells us.
He went into this synagogue where there were all these Jews, and this was something he normally did when he went to a new city, this was his custom.
Like his personal tradition.
“And on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures.”
This is verse 3.
“Explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead.”
In other words, whenever Paul went to a city, he would find where the Jewish people were, and he’d go and look for an opportunity to open the Old Testament, and prove to them that the Old Testament itself taught the Messiah had to suffer, and once he had convinced them of that, then Luke says, he would say, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you is the Messiah.” So it was a two-point sermon.
The Scripture teaches the Messiah has to suffer and Jesus is that Messiah the Scripture talks about.
Now, the question of course, is where?
There are lots of places you could go of course, if you wanted to talk about the Messiah ruling as king, it sometimes seems like the Old Testament is filled with prophecies about that, because of course that is part of His work as Messiah, and I want you to hear that.
The biblical view of the Messiah focuses on two aspects of his coming. First of all, his rejection and then second of all, his reigning or ruling, and for a long time, to a lot of people, this seemed like a contradiction, to the point where some thought there would be two Messiahs, the Messiah who suffered, and then the Messiah the mystery the New Testament reveals, is that this dual aspect of the Messiah’s work would actually involve two comings of the Messiah, coming the first time to suffer and die, and the second time, to rule and reign.
There’s the suffering of the Messiah, and then the glory, and the question, though, just to make sure, we are catching this, is where is this talk of the suffering and dying, and rising again?
There are five major passages in particular that prove this had to happen.
And the first is not subtle, even though I said, it’s sometimes a little harder to see the suffering part in the Old Testament, that’s not true here, in fact with this first passage, it’s almost like the prophet is there at the crucifixion with a pen in his hand, writing down what was happening to the Messiah, even though he is writing over 700 years before Jesus was even born, and I am talking of course about Isaiah.
Listen to the way he describes him.
Beginning actually back in chapter 52.
It’s like he introduces us to the Messiah.
“Behold my servant shall act wisely.”
Or you could translate succeed.
Look at my servant who has done what I wanted.
Look at the one who accomplished what I sent Him to accomplish.
“He shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.”
Which, obviously, is God’s great goal for the Messiah.
Isaiah looks back.
At what God did through the Messiah.
In verse 14.
“As many were astonished at you- his appearance was marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind.”
Which of course.
Describes what happened to Jesus at his crucifixion.
As he was beaten and tortured and hung on that cross, people would have been astonished, shocked to look at him, and yet, it was through that suffering, that Isaiah says.
“Sprinkle many nations.”
In other words.
Use his work not just to save Jews, but actually cleanse Gentiles.
The future result being.
That God eventually shock, even the leaders of the entire world.
When He establishes Jesus as King.
“Kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard, they understand.”
Of the fact Isaiah’s explaining how this is going to happen, there aren’t going to be many Jewish people at first who believe him.
In verses 1-3 of the next chapter, he starts to talk about how they would reject Him.
And he starts with almost like a challenge.
“Who has believed what he has heard from us?”
It’s like he’s looking.
Is there anyone who is going to believe the report we’ve brought the Messiah suffering and dying?
“And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
And, the arm of the Lord usually refers to his saving power.
As he’s talking about the way God is going to save His people, Isaiah is asking, who has believed it, and, it’s almost like it is going to be difficult to believe, it’s not necessarily going to seem like the way you might plan it, it’s going to require revelation.
To whom has the arm of the Lord or, the salvation of God been revealed? And, you know, why is it going to take this kind of revelation?
And he’s talking about.
The one God was going to accomplish this salvation.
“Grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground.”
The reason it’s going to take revelation is because the Messiah’s beginnings weren’t going to look like much.
He’s going to grow up.
Like a young plant, which could be translated, tender shoot.
The shoot that comes out the side of a stalk of corn.
It’s not even the main branch.
Or a root.
You don’t expect a great tree to grow out of dry ground.
And that’s how, the Messiah’s early days would be. That’s how he is going to grow up, in an insignificant place, among insignificant people, and you know, looking at him, from the outside, there’s going to be absolutely nothing all that physically impressive about him.
In Isaiah’s words.
“He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”
If you think when God sends the Messiah the first time the way you are going to recognize Him is because he looks so different than everyone else, you are going to miss Him, because that is not what is going to set Him apart.
In fact, Isaiah goes on.
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Which actually sounds to me a whole lot like the point Jesus is making to his disciples about the way the Messiah was going to be rejected.
It’s not going to be just like, they politely ignore Him.
They are going to despise him.
They are going to hate him.
They are going to be ashamed of him.
Why does the Messiah have to go through all of this?
In order to accomplish verses 4-6.
“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Which is describing, get this, substitutionary atonement, and I know that’s a big word, but it is so important, to know the Messiah going to come and die for the stuff other people have done.
And you know, Isaiah just lays this on thick.
“To be wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.”
“And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
“Stricken for the transgression of my people.”
“When his soul makes an offering for guilt.”
“And he shall bear their iniquities.” And verse 12.
“Yet he bore the sins of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
And in case anyone’s wondering, if the Messiah might have deserved this, as well, Isaiah tells us.
He’s going to be absolutely innocent.
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth, like a lamb that is led to slaughter, like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away.”
And that’s describing the process that would lead to his death, he’s talking about a legal trial, oppression and judgment, and ultimately execution.
“As for his generation,” Isaiah continues, “who considered that he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in him.”
Ultimately, of course, we know this was not an accident.
“Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him, he has put him to grief, when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” And suddenly, we are talking about the resurrection.
He was cut off.
Made a guilt offering.
He shall see his offspring.
Prolong his days.
Not only is he going to provide forgiveness of sins and righteousness for those who are united to Him.
“Out of the anguish of his soul shall he see and be satisfied, by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” Which is talking about what has happened to us now, because of Christ’s death. But look at what happens next.
“Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.”
In other words, he’s going to inherit the right to rule, as that great Messianic King, because He first came as the Messiah, to suffer and die, in our place.
Which is just incredible.
It’s like Isaiah, might as well have been the apostle Paul, the way he’s talking, and it’s not just Isaiah that pointed to the Messiah’s suffering and death.
There are other important passages as well.
Like, Psalm 22.
This is number two.
Psalm 22, 23 and 24.
All go together to tell the story.
Chapter 23 speaks of his work as a shepherd.
And 24, speaks of his future work as king.
And chapter 22, speaks very clearly of the Messiah’s work on the cross.
From the opening verse.
“My God, my God why have you forsaken Me?”
Which might sound familiar, because it is the very phrase Jesus cried out as he was being crucified.
And, in verse 6 and following David speaks of the way people would treat the Messiah,.
Even, as he was being killed.
“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All those who see me mock me, they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him.”
Which, reading Mark 15, is exactly what they did.
“And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross. So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”
And, you know, it’s interesting to read the two accounts together, one before it happens, one after, one this is what is going to happen, and one this is what is going to happen, and coming back to Psalm 22, and, reading verses 12-17, I think you’ll see, is a little like reading a poetic description of what actually happened at the crucifixion.
“Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.” Which is just a picture of a person in a very frightening situation. As if lions were surrounding him, with their mouths open, ready to pounce.
“I am poured out like water,” he goes on, and you can think of how all of these descriptions fit with the way Jesus died, “and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.”
“For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet – I can count all my bones – they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garment among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Which all are descriptions of experiences that go way beyond anything that ever happened to David, personally.
For example, David’s hands and feet were never pierced through.
And that’s actually kind of the point, because although David is speaking as if these things were happening personally to him, he’s really speaking of things that go way beyond his own experience, and are only fulfilled in the sufferings and death of, the Christ.
And since we are in Zechariah.
We’ll do three and four.
Also Zechariah 13:7.
But first Zechariah 12:10, because this is awesome.
In verses 1 through 6, Zechariah’s talking about this day in the future when the nations are going to come against Israel.
This is probably going to happen at the end of a period of time in the future, the Bible calls the Tribulation.
And, though these nations are coming to attack Israel, God’s going to actually judge them through Israel.
“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves.”
And all of that’s just poetic language to describe the consequences these nations are going to experience as a result of trying to wage war against God’s people.
And in verses 7 through the beginning of 10.
The prophet starts talking about exactly how God’s going to save Israel.
“And the Lord will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah.”
And maybe he’s talking about people from Judah who lived outside the land of Israel, in “tents” you know, like temporary housing, as they were in exile.
Verse 8 continues.
“On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them.”
Which is describing a great reversal that’s going to take place for those living in Jerusalem, as they were formally under siege, God’s going to deliver them so completely that, the even the weakest and smallest, is going to be so obviously glorious.
And then verse
“And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
Which is the kind of verse the people in Jesus’ day would have love to quote, because that is the kind of Messiah they were looking for, but stick with me.
What had to happen first.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy.”
This is a spiritual revival.
There’s no doubt.
They are not just saved physically, they are saved spiritually as well.
And what’s the proof of that?
When they look on me, on him who they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
And this is really a remarkable verse.
The word for pierced is used to describe an act that causes a violent death.
They are looking on someone they have killed, and who is that someone?
It is God speaking.
When they look on me.
On him who they have pierced.
The one who has been pierced is God Himself.
And how could God ever be pierced?
That’s not a difficult question.
He would have to take on human flesh.
And how could they look on Him who they pierced. I think that verse implies a resurrection. I think Zechariah’s saying that there’s a time coming in the future when Israel will look on one whom they pierced in the past, and that one, we know is Jesus Himself.
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.
We don’t have time.
But two more.
And this is God speaking once again, and he’s talking to a sword, which is, basically a symbol of death.
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd.”
And shepherd is an Old Testament word that is definitely used, to describe the coming Messiah.
“And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them, and be their shepherd.”
So back to Zechariah.
This is God speaking.
And saying to death.
Now look at how he describes him.
“Against the man who stands next to me,’ declares the Lord.”
And that’s a very interesting phrase, the man who stands next to me, because, apparently, and I am quoting scholars here, every other time it is used in the Bible, it describes someone who shares the same basic nature as someone else, and so it might be like an Israelite, looking at another Israelite, and saying, we are brothers, we are fellows, we are united in a certain fundamental way with one another.
You know, some people have actually translated this phrase, my equal.
One man, looking at this verse said, if this was the only verse in the Bible, about this subject, it would be enough to prove the deity, the fact that the Messiah had to be God, because there’s no angel, no other person in the universe, who could be called God’s fellow, God’s equal, someone who shares God’s very nature, rights and privileges.
At what the prophet’s saying.
Or actually God.
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me, declares the Lord.”
“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
Which Jesus quotes, warning the disciples in Matthew 26:31.
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”
Which, of course, Peter didn’t think would happen, but it did, exactly as Jesus and Zechariah, said it would.
I was hoping to have time to look at Daniel 9:24-26, as well, but I guess, I am just saying, there’s a reason, Jesus was telling his disciples, it is necessary, for the Messiah to suffer, to be rejected, to die and to be raised again, and that’s because it’s a fundamental part of what the Old Testament said must happen.
To the Messiah.
And yet, pretty much nobody was getting it.
Not because it wasn’t there.
That’s the thing.
And it’s not just the prophecies either, it is all the sacrifices as well that God had instituted, God was making it clear, you know even through that they had a bigger problem, than just, the problem with like Rome.
And part of why they weren’t getting it, I think is a warning to us.
After Jesus told the disciples about his death, verse 22 says.
“And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Far be it from you Lord!’ This shall never happen to you.”
Which sounds nice, but Jesus knew it wasn’t that at all.
“But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
In other words, Peter didn’t like this talk of suffering, because he was looking at things from man’s selfish agenda.
And not from God’s.
Which I take as a big warning to all of us, because it is still so possible to miss what God is actually doing in this world for His glory and His people’s good, because we are so focused on what we want and how we think things should go.
It’s like we think we are smarter than God.
And yet, you know.
That’s not the only reason they were missing it, and there’s more, I am sure, but this is at least part of the encouragement.
Because part of the reason they missed, I am convinced, is because, this was part of God’s great plan to save us.
That’s what Peter says in Acts 2.
“Men of Israel, hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know, this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
You crucified him.
According to the definite plan of God.
You are responsible for your rejection, but God in His wisdom, used to accomplish exactly what He wanted to accomplish which was to make a way for us to experience salvation.
And here’s the good news.
This is obvious.
As we look at the Bible, God’s got this big plan.
To fix what man’s broken, and that plan involves, Jesus ruling as this mighty King, and dealing with all His enemies, and all the physical problems in the universe.
And even better.
God’s special presence.
That sweet communion with God, that was possible in the Garden of Eden.
Actually filling the universe.
We are talking.
A place with no more pain, no more sorrow, no more brokenness.
Which of course, is what we are all longing for, and the Messiah is going to make that happen, that’s clear, but, the thing is, if any one of us are actually going to enjoy that kingdom that the Messiah is going to bring.
God was going to have to do something about our sin first.
Because our sin separates us from Him.
Because our sin deserves punishment. It has to be punished. Heaven wouldn’t be heaven, if we go in in the state we are in. And if God brought that kingdom and set Jesus up on His throne, and we are still in stuck in our sins, we are not going to be able to enter into it.
We are going to be the people He judges.
And casts out of it.
Which is why.
Before Jesus comes as the glorious warrior King, the Old Testament promises, He had to come as this suffering servant, to be rejected, to die, and to be raised again.
So that you and I, and every single one of you who turns to Jesus Christ, who looks to Him in faith for forgiveness, can survive His return, stand on judgment day, be adopted into God’s family, and received the great promised Blessing the Messiah is going to bring.