Scripture

All of Scripture reveals God’s plan to save sinners by the sacrifice of his Son

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Read: Matthew 26

“Do you not think I can call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve leagues of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54)

“But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. (Matthew 26:56)

Reflect:

Matthew began his gospel with specific reference to the Old Testament Scriptures that were fulfilled in the events of the birth of Jesus. Now, as the Easter narrative begins, Jesus’ own words draw attention to the fulfilment of prophecy.

Jesus predicts the disciples will desert him (which they do, v56) with the words, “for it is written” (v31). He quotes Zechariah, one of the last written books of the Old Testament. Jesus later refers to the Scriptures as a whole (v54) as well as to the prophetic writings as a collection (v56). Jesus knows Scripture, he knows when and how it will be fulfilled, and he knows it must be fulfilled.

Scripture is not solely a record of God’s interaction with his people, as if it was a plain historical text. (It is certainly not plain!) Nor is Scripture just God’s revelation of himself to his people, as if it were a dry theological treatise. (It is not dry at all!) Rather, Scripture is also a record of God’s plan to save sinners through the sacrifice of his Son – a plan now achieved by this sacrifice and awaiting only the triumphant return of Jesus to claim these people as his own.

crux:

All of Scripture reveals God’s plan to save sinners by the sacrifice of his Son.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

Thank you for your deliberate plan and foreknowledge whereby you purposed to save sinners – including me – by the sacrifice of your Son. Thank you for making your plan public in the written record of Scripture. Thank you for saving me from my sin by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Thank you!

Please help me when I teach on Tuesdays in my KYB group. Please help me to keep in mind that all Scripture is about Jesus and how you would save and did save sinners through him. Please help me to explain this, to make it clear from the text. Please help me to see Jesus in the pages of Proverbs, which we are studying at the moment. Please help me to keep pointing these ladies to how Jesus Christ fulfilled these Scriptures and all of Scripture.

Amen.

Religion

Jewish religion is fulfilled by Jesus, God with us

Read: Matthew 12

“I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would have not condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:6-8)

Reflect:

Jesus is greater than the temple. Up until this time, the temple was the symbolic dwelling place of God, the ritual meeting place of God with his people. But now: Immanuel! God was with his people in person.

Again, Jesus hints at his identity with a reference to Hosea 6:6, which calls God’s people to acknowledge him. It is God whose presence makes the temple great, not the other way around.

Jesus is greater than the Sabbath. He is Lord of the Sabbath, in authority over it. At this time, the Sabbath had become not so much a designated period of rest but a time to be cautious of all that was forbidden on that day. But now: Immanuel! God, who instituted the Sabbath at the time of creation, was with his people.

Jesus was able to establish “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (12:12). If the Pharisees acknowledged God as Hosea and Jesus admonished them to, they would not condemn people innocent of wrongdoing, people who did good on the Sabbath. They too would find their rest and peace in Jesus.

crux:

Jewish religion (both place and practice) is fulfilled by Jesus, God with us.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You designed the temple and provided the materials and the skilful, Spirit-filled workers to build it. You ensured the tabernacle erected in Moses’ time would be replaced by the temple Solomon caused to be built. You brought Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Joshua and Zerubbabel back from exile to rebuild a temple for your glorious name. You even used Herod, an ungodly Idumean, to redecorate your temple and make it shine with gold.

Yet all this was just building up to the time when your Son Jesus Christ would dwell in the Promised Land, when he would talk face-to-face with your chosen people, when he would bring joy and healing with his very presence.

LORD, help me to feel this same joy. You know I am tired today, but my physical weakness has no bearing on my spiritual strength.

Help me to focus on Jesus and all he has done and won for me: my election and regeneration, my justification and adoption, the indwelling of the Spirit within me and my new life in Christ, my sanctification and the glorification for which I look forward with hope. These are true treasures, far greater than the temple.

Amen.

Details

What the LORD said through the prophets was fulfilled in Jesus Christ

Read: Matthew 2

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written.” (Matthew 2:5)

And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:15b)

Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled. (Matthew 2:17)

And he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2:23)

Reflect:

It can be hard to re-read such a familiar passage in the Bible carefully, without my attention drifting. But when I think of the author of this gospel, Matthew (the disciple also known as Levi, who had once been a tax collector), I realise that this was a man who paid very close attention to his Rabbi’s story.

Matthew had the skills and talents necessary for being a tax collector: he could pay attention to fine detail, he could remember facts and analyse interconnections. He must have had an analytical brain, must have thrived on minutiae, or at least so it seems from his writing.

For Matthew, the most important details of Jesus’ birth and babyhood are found in the connection between the events themselves and Old Testament prophecies. Matthew finds four occasions in Jesus’ early life, five if I count the “virgin will conceive” reference (2:22-23), where the prophets predicted what Jesus’ life fulfilled. And it is not as if Baby Jesus could exert control over any of these events from the womb or his mother’s arms. The prophets’ words all came true by the sovereign will of the Father.

Isaiah, Micah, Hosea and Jeremiah spoke as the LORD spoke through them. They spoke (unknowingly) of Jesus.

Crux:

What the LORD said through the prophets was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Respond:

LORD God Almighty,

You are Sovereign: You make plans, you speak promises; you bring your plans to fruition and your promises to fulfilment. You are the Omnipotent God.

Thank you for your promises through the prophets that help me to see your plan and recognise your Son. Thank you for gifting Matthew with the talents and skills necessary to chronicle Jesus’ life and ministry. Thank you for equipping him to research and record the ways and occasions Jesus fulfilled the prophets’ words. Thank you for revealing yourself in the words of the prophets, in the words of Matthew, and in your Word, Jesus Christ.

Thank you for the skills and talents you have given to me. May I be faithful in using them to proclaim your glory, the glory of your Son. May I know the truth of your word as well as the details of your word, and be confident and capable to share this truth in speech and in writing. May I be faithful in obedience to your word so you are glorified by my words.

May you bless everyone who hears or reads my words with a better knowledge of you and a deeper love for you, for your glory.

Amen.