THE SCRIPTURES HAVE TO BE FULFILLED
"Then He said, 'Everything I told you when I was with you comes to this: All things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.'" Luke 24:44 (The Message).
The prophetic fingerprints of Messiah are woven into the story of a nation, the Hebrews, from its beginning as a single and initially childless couple, through the growth of this family in Egypt, their miraculous deliverance from slavery and their journey to, and life in the Promised Land.
It is a record of their chequered history as a people who persisted in rejecting their God and living in rebellion against His teachings. Their disobedience and idolatry brought them back into slavery to another wicked and idolatrous world power, Babylon, from which God again graciously restored them to their own land although it remained occupied territory under Persia, Greece and Rome.
The most important details of Messiah's life, death and resurrection are encoded in this book, miraculously preserved and passed down over a period of four thousand years. It was written by some forty authors from every ancient walk of life and yet it is one story, a record of the Creator God's dealings with man, and specifically the Hebrews, whom He chose to be His own people, and their response to Him.
God's master stroke was to weave the story of Messiah into the story of His people as His signature of authenticity. What other religious book contains a signature like that - with one hundred per cent accuracy of fulfilment? Through the prophet Isaiah He claimed supremacy over the idols they so loved to worship, which were powerless to speak and act, let alone predict the future.
Apart from His resurrection, what else would have convinced His followers that He was who He said He was? For three years they had followed Him. They had walked with Him, listened to Him and watched him do miracles and interact with all kinds of people. Their experience of Him had brought the growing conviction that He was their Messiah, but the events of the previous few days blew their hopes apart. They thought they were the victims of a terrible hoax.
Jesus brought them back to the Scriptures they knew so well. He was the one of whom the writers of their sacred books had written, whose fingerprints were on every page of their carefully-copied scrolls. He took them through their Bible, book by book, and highlighted every prophecy that He had fulfilled until they were convinced beyond doubt that He was their long-awaited Messiah.
If these men, who were fearful and faithless until Jesus opened the Scriptures to them, were so convinced of His identity as Messiah and Lord that many of them paid the supreme price for the truth, can we not take their testimony at face value and trust the person and words of Jesus as they did? That conviction, empowered by the Holy Spirit who came on the day of Pentecost and took up residence inside them, energised their lives and gave them the courage to die for their testimony.
The same Jesus is Lord today and the same Spirit energises us to stake our lives and our destiny on Him because everything written about Him in the Scriptures is true.
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