The Testimony of the Prophets
I’ve been walking on the Emmaus Road again this past week, trying to overhear the conversation between Jesus and two of His disciples.
If you were with us for the first sermon in this Emmaus Road series, you’ll remember that Cleopas and another unnamed disciple were making their way home. They had left Jerusalem in the early afternoon and as they walked on the road to Emmaus they were talking together about everything that had happened in the past three days. Their Master, Jesus, had been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, betrayed by a kiss. There had been a mockery of a trial. Even the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, had declared that Jesus was innocent, but the religious leaders had demanded that Jesus be put to death. Then there was the spitting and the beating and that dreadful flogging.
How could God allow Messiah to be treated like that? The Word of the Lord had been fulfilled, as recorded by the prophet Zechariah: “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” Zechariah 13:7.
As these two disciples talked together on the road to Emmaus, a stranger joined these two scattered sheep. We learned in the first message in this series on the Emmaus Road that this stranger was none other than Jesus, the Good Shepherd! He had come to care for His sheep!
But Dr. Luke tells us that these two disciples were kept from recognizing him. Jesus met them in the midst of their pain, in the midst of their disappointment, in the midst of their discouragement and in the midst of their doubt, and gave them a Bible study—the most amazing Bible study ever given! Luke tells us in Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
In the second message in this series on the Emmaus Road, we examined the testimony of Moses concerning Messiah. We discovered that every prophecy about Messiah written in the books of Moses was fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. If you missed that message, you can watch it or download the MP3 audio file at www.forestlakechurch.org.
Today, we are going to prayerfully attempt to reconstruct at least portions of the second part of that amazing Bible study. We read in Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all of the Prophets he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself!”
As I mentioned in our last study on the Emmaus Road, I always used to say, “I wish someone had written that Bible study down!” But I am convinced now that Jesus wants us to search the Scriptures for ourselves! What do you think? Jesus wants us to reconstruct that Bible study so that our hearts can also burn within us as we see from the testimony of all of the Scriptures that Jesus is indeed the Messiah!
So what prophecies concerning Messiah from the Hebrew Prophets do you think that Jesus might have quoted to His two disciples on the road to Emmaus?
Perhaps Jesus mentioned the prophecy of the prophet Micah concerning Messiah. That prophecy concerning Messiah was given 700 years before Jesus was born. Look at Micah’s prophecy with me, recorded in Micah 5:2. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” That prophecy of the prophet Micah was fulfilled 700 years later when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Listen to the testimony of Luke, in Luke 2:1-7. “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Matthew records in Matthew 2:1-2, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’” Jesus didn’t choose where He would be born! His mother Mary was living in Nazareth. Her betrothed husband Joseph was living in Nazareth. But at the right time, in the right place, a prophecy concerning Messiah was fulfilled, and Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah.
Perhaps Jesus mentioned the prophecy of the prophet Zechariah concerning Messiah. That prophecy was given more than 500 years before Jesus was born. Look at Zechariah’s prophecy with me, recorded in Zechariah 9:9. “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” That prophecy concerning Messiah was fulfilled more than 500 years later in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Luke records in Luke 19:28-40, “After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’
"Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’
"They replied, ‘The Lord needs it.’
"They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
"When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
"‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’
"Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’
‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’"
Prophecy was being fulfilled! A prophecy given over 500 years earlier about Messiah, fulfilled in every detail in the life of Jesus of Nazareth!
Perhaps Jesus mentioned the prophecy of the prophet Malachi. The prophecy was given more than 400 years before Jesus was born. Look at Malachi’s prophecy with me, recorded in Malachi 3:1-2: “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.” Who is that individual that the prophet is referring to? Exactly right. John the Baptist!
The prophet Malachi continues, “Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” That prophecy was fulfilled on two occasions, 400 years later in the ministry of Jesus.
The apostle John records the first time that Jesus, having begun His ministry as Messiah, comes to His Temple. That visit is recorded in John 2:13-19: “When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!’”
Why didn’t the religious leaders try to stop Jesus? The prophet Malachi had prophesied more than 400 years earlier that “who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.”
And the apostle John records in John 2:17, “His disciples remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ Then the Jews demanded of him, ‘What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’”
That was a clear prophecy by Jesus about His death and resurrection. But the religious leaders didn’t change their behavior. I’m sure that the religious leaders said to themselves, “We’re never going to let Jesus of Nazareth treat us like that again!” But three years later, Jesus came again to His Temple, and Matthew records in Matthew 21:12-16,
“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’ The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him, ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?’”
I’m sure that in His Bible study with the two disciples on the Emmaus Road that Jesus mentioned the prophecies of the prophet Isaiah. More than 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would take a special interest in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Look at Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 9:1-2: “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” That’s right before the great prophecy about Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7!
So Isaiah prophesied, 700 years before the ministry of Jesus that Messiah would take a special interest in Galilee of the Gentiles. That was totally contrary to the expectation of the Jews. The Galileans were social outcasts, a mixture of ethnic groups imported after the Assyrian invasion of the 8th century BC. But Luke records that the prophecy of Isaiah about Messiah was fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus.
Turn to Luke 4:14-15: “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.”
But most of all, I’m certain that Jesus mentioned the later prophecies of the prophet Isaiah when talking to His two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Remember the words of Jesus recorded in Luke 24:26: “Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
No prophet describes the sufferings of Messiah more vividly than the prophet Isaiah. I’m certain that Jesus reminded His two disciples on the road to Emmaus of the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah, recorded in Isaiah 50:6-7. “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.”
And then read with me from Isaiah 53.
"Who has believed our message
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
"He was despised and rejected by men,
"Surely he took up our infirmities
"But he was pierced for our transgressions,
"We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
"He was oppressed and afflicted,
"By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
"He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
"Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
"After the suffering of his soul,
"Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
And what does that have to do with you today? That same Jesus, that same Messiah, that same Savior who walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, that Jesus, your Messiah, wants to walk with you!
He loves you. He cares about you, wherever you are on life’s road. He will meet you in the midst of your sorrows, in the midst of your anxieties, in the midst of your cares, in the midst of your joys.
He wants to save you. He wants you to be a part of His kingdom that shall never pass away. He wants you to know Him whom to know is life eternal.
He wants you to experience an intimate encounter with Him. And when that happens, your heart will also burn within you! What a wonderful thought. Jesus, your Messiah, wants to walk with you.
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By Derek Morris, Pastor of the Forest Lake Church in Apopka, FL. Better Sermons © 2005-2009. Click here for usage guidelines.
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