Jesus Fills Prophecy
TRIED & TRUE: JESUS FILLS PROPHECY Daniel Lange 1st Assembly, Sermon, PCOC October 1, 2017 “All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”” Matthew 21:4–5 People are hungry for newness today. They’re watching and waiting for the new update to come out on their phones. They’re watching and waiting for the new technology that will enhance their work on the computer. They’re watching and waiting for the new piece of machinery that will cut their work-time in half and double their productivity. The hunger for newness is not done so aimlessly, rather it is sought after with the hopeful expectation of progress and practical benefit. In fact, for some newness is something that they enter with a great deal of caution and hesitation. I for one am someone who likes to see a product tried and true through a great deal of usage, amazon reviews, and the oft proven method, time will tell. What I hope that you will see in this study of God’s word is that Jesus is tried and true. He can be trusted. He is dependable. All of your greatest hopes and dreams can be fulfilled in Him. Who could ever make such a claim by the way as you consider this very important subject? I’m no student of Ghandi, or of Buddha, or of Muhammad, or of Taoism, but to my knowledge, no other teacher, no other religion, no other ideology that has made its way into the mainstream flow of belief and practice, has ever sought to make the claim that all spiritual blessings can be found in one person. And yet, that is the very claim that the New Testament authors make saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Eph. 1:3 I want you to turn in your Bibles if you haven’t already done so to the twenty-first chapter of Matthew. This is the beginning of Jesus final week on earth. For Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, that means almost a third of the rest of their writings. In just one week, our Lord is shown to have accomplished more than what rulers, and leaders, and governments, and kingdoms have not and continue not to do in the entire lifespan of their existence! “Hallelujah, what a Savior!” Philip Bless, 1875 The first account of Jesus’ final week is that of His entry into Jerusalem, “lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Each gospel writer is sure to speak of this account, but only Matthew is keen to point out that, “All this was done that it might be fulfilled [that] which was spoken by the prophet.” The Importance of Prophecy Prophecy is important in that it is a means of both revelation and confirmation. Modern day prophecy as we may see it today is nothing more than a spectacle. A means by which one may be given a hopeful expectation of his or her future, or be led down a path that will more or less fulfill their wishes and desires. In other words, it is really only concerned with revelation, and has very little interest in confirmation. Sadly, it would seem that the ancient world which has often been dismissed as a caveman, know-nothing realm of purely warmongering, food-hungry people, who have no interest in the intellectual accent of the mind, actually had more sense to realize, at least amid some ages and places, the importance of confirmation along with revelation. That is why even Moses told His own people so long ago, “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” Deu. 18:22 Confirmation was just as important as revelation. “Don’t you start believing that prophet,” said Moses, “until he can show his word to be true.” Once prophecy has been confirmed, it then saddles on the very important, beneficial, and trustworthy load of revelation. Revelation as seen through the biblical accounts, may carry a message of hope, or a message of doom, a message of salvation, or a message of condemnation, a message of joy, or a message of sorrow, a message of eager expectation, or a message of dreadful hopelessness, but usually it is both with one side of the saddle carrying warnings, and the other side of the saddle carrying blessings. What is unique about Jesus, along with His predecessor, John the Baptist, is that these two men not only spoke of things to come, revealers, but they themselves were the word, confirmers! They were the living, walking, fulfilled word of prophecy themselves. That is why John the Baptist was believed. Not because He performed signs and wonders to confirm his revelation. John did no miracles. John 10:41 But he filled, in part, the prophetic word. He prepared the way for the Savior to come, just as the prophet had said so long ago. Mal. 3:1; 4:5-6 Likewise, then Jesus came, fulfilling, not just some, but all of the prophetic word and performing signs and wonders! He was both the confirmed word of God, and the revealer of the word of God, which was again later confirmed. He was the prophetic saddle Himself sitting upon the donkey and the colt. He was the confirmed Word of God making His triumphal entry into the city of God’s people. That we might say along with the writer to Hebrew Christians, “that by two immutable things… we might have strong consolation.” Heb. 6:18 For Jesus was both the confirmed word, and the revealer of the word. Jesus Fills Prophecy Because our section of Scripture concerns itself more upon the confirmation of revelation that has already been spoken, rather than the revelation of things to come and later confirmed, I want us to focus on how and to what measure Jesus fills up those things spoken before time. Most of you, even those of you who are young and beginning to learn Scripture, have already been taught and already understand that the Old Testament Scriptures contain hundreds of prophecies, and are primarily divided into three sections, the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets. This at least was the common division in Jesus time, and Jesus Himself stated that all things must be fulfilled which were written in these. Luke 24:44 Let’s read this together, and then we’ll give the passage a closer look. “Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”” (Matthew 21:1–11). Jesus Fills the Word of the Law I want us to think first about how Jesus fills the Law of the Old Testament, just from this passage of Scripture alone. We’ll begin by looking at what is more ambiguous, but then slowly make our way to what is most evident. First of all, let’s just notice the branches Matthew speaks of, that were cut down and spread upon the road as Jesus made His entry. John’s account in chapter twelve tells us that these were “palm” branches. I’m sure most of Matthew’s audience being Jews would have already knew that. In the book of Leviticus there is seemingly a subtle hint of this occasion coming to pass in some form or measure where it is said in the twenty-third chapter, verse four, “And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.” In verse forty-three, Moses makes known the purpose of this feast saying, “that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.” It was a seven-day feast reminding the children of Israel of their deliverance, and the humility with which they were humbled, being forced to dwell in booths. Now we see Jesus fulfilling the prophetic portrait of that great Exodus out of Egypt, and the Law which was established to remind the people to bring their branches of palm trees to rejoice before the LORD Himself for seven days. Now even though I may speak of this as being that which subtly hints of the Messiah’s entry and manner into Jerusalem, I’m not sure that this would’ve been so subtle for those Jews who came to these feasts every year, waiting for the Messiah, wondering what do all these feasts ultimately point to, and if they did not somehow look to something greater, but still in a similar vein. Maybe I’m giving some of the Hebrew children too great a benefit, but I cannot help but think that perhaps there was just one single Jew waving His palm branch, wondering, “Is this really the entirety of God’s salvation for the Jews, or is this not looking forward to something greater?” Of course, we can’t help but see the glaring irony, how the people in Jesus time will ultimately fail to rejoice before the LORD their God for seven days, and within the span of those days, will have actually put the LORD to death! This kind of inversion in the physical reality of the Messiah’s coming is not completely uncommon by the way in Old Testament prophecy. Moving now to what is the more evident of the Law that speaks of the Messiah, we have what appears to be a very early reference to the donkey and the colt upon which the Messiah would ride. In Genesis 49:8-12, we have what has been widely accepted by many as that which speaks of the Savior to come, but ironically in verse eleven it pictures one who is “binding his donkey… and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine.” Gen. 49:11 Notice that He is not loosing as we see in Jesus’ time, but He is binding. Also, He is washing his garments in wine and his teeth are whiter than milk. One gets the sense of a very indulgent Shiloh, or Messiah, rather than a meek and lowly peasant man. John Nolland compared it to “royal excess vs. humble restraint.” How then do we reconcile these prophetic visions of the future with what we’re actually witnessing in form during Jesus time? What is important to keep in mind is that prophecy can speak of things both in a spiritual and physical sense, and still give us an accurate portrait of the future. Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49 is packaged in the context of his son Judah ruling over Israel, and he does not depart from that theme, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah.” Though the gospel writers’ accounts may appear to be a very confusing view from a physical standpoint when looking at Jesus, from a spiritual standpoint everything Jacob speaks paints a very accurate portrait. He is the King as Matthew purposes to make very clear, and His majestic plan is unfolding just as He has intended. He is the true owner of the donkey and colt. He has bound them to that place which He has foreordained. In Luke chapter nineteen, the Bible says that while the disciples were loosing the colt, the owners, kurios, i.e. the lords over the colt, said, “Why are you loosing the colt?” When the lords’ asked the disciples this question, the disciples said, “The Lord [kurios, same word, but not the same type] has need of them.” Now if these men that Luke speaks of are the lords over the donkey and colt, what greater “lord” could the two disciples possibly speak of? It’s like asking the question about David, the lord and king over Israel, who then said, “The Lord said to My Lord.” What greater “Lord” could David have possibly spoken of, being king over all of Israel? Jesus fills the word of the Law. Jesus Fills the Prophets Let’s continue to follow that order we read about in Luke 24:44, and move next to the Prophets. Starting again from what would appear to be perhaps most ambiguous or subtle in the prophetic fulfillment. Matthew makes note of these clothes Jesus sat on at least three times in a sort of cluster it would seem. First, he says that they “laid their clothes on them,” i.e. the donkey and the colt. Then they set Jesus Himself upon the clothes that laid upon the animals. Then Matthew says, “A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road.” Now one might just assume in his natural reading of things that this was a common expression of homage before anyone they considered to be of some kind of royalty. I do not doubt at all that this was the very natural reaction and order of business among men in Jesus’ time. But what I’m proposing is the possibility of something far grander that is unraveling before us, something prophetic, that continues to the fill the cup of the Messianic portrait. In 2 Kings 9, we have but one recorded instance in history where we actually witness in Holy Scripture the use of clothes to pay some sort of homage. Here in this part of history we find a critical moment where the Northern Kingdom of Israel has reached its climax with the rule of Ahab & Jezebel, and will now begin to make its descent into complete desolation, while the southern kingdom will then begin to make its ascent as the only kingdom left standing in God’s nation. It all begins with the man, “Jehu.” The Bible says in 2 Kings 9:13, “each man hastened to take his garment and put it under him on the top of the steps; and they blew trumpets, saying, “Jehu is King.” You know what the people are saying during Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem? “Jesus is King.” “Oh, but that doesn’t really impress me much preacher,” you say. “One Old Testament reference over there to some Jehu guy being crowned king with clothes laid before Him, and a reference over here to Jesus being crowned king in a figure with clothes laid before Him.” Ok, fair enough, let me share with you though just one little last tidbit that I do find to be very profound. Jehu was one of the few kings in Israel who had ever been crowned king, before the people had even come to realize it. In other words, Jehu was a king within their midst, and they didn’t even know it until later. Read the chapter for yourself and you will find that the Lord God had anointed him king over the people in verse six. Then Jehu came out among the servants of Ahab in verse eleven. Only until after questioning him diligently do they suddenly realize, “We’re standing in the midst of a king.” Well, someone will say, “But didn’t they want to make Jesus their king. Isn’t that why they’re spreading their clothes?” Yes, certainly they did, and certainly I would not dispute the claim that they were laying down clothes for that specific purpose, but again, it is this physical/spiritual inversion that they are unaware of. They think they’re in the midst of a physical ruler, but little do they know, they’re in the midst of a spiritual King! But let’s move next to something that is a bit more obvious. Let’s notice the actual prophecy that Matthew quotes and says was fulfilled. One immediately notices that the wording of Matthew’s quotation actually comes from a merging of two prophets who spoke in times past. Unlike some of our friends in the religious world who have an aversion to reading their Bible “flat” as they say, our Lord’s apostles saw no problem reading a flat Bible. Matthew sees what the prophet Zechariah spoke in Zec. 9:9 to be in a continuous flow of what the prophet Isaiah spoke in Isa. 62:11 (those Scripture reference numbers of course being provided for your benefit, and your benefit alone. Inspired Scripture was not written with chapter numbers and verses. In fact, it would appear to me more times than not that the inspired authors had an expectation that they were writing and preaching to men and women who were knowledgeable enough of Scripture to have an understanding of where those things were said, and who spoke them. I will leave that to you to chew on and contemplate, but let us not fall anymore prey to contention and dispute about these questionable things, mannerisms and approaches to the preaching of God’s word. Let’s just speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent). In a nutshell, Isaiah says, “Tell the Daughter of Zion, Behold your King is coming,” and Zechariah provides more detailed insight saying, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!... your King is coming… lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” But its not just this additional insight that is relevant to Matthew’s cause, but rather, we see Matthew bridging a gap between the former prophets and the latter prophets. The prophets who were sent before Babylonian captivity, and the prophets who were sent after Babylonian captivity. For surely, there may have been some who thought maybe it was Cyrus, one of the kings of Persia, who set the captives free, or maybe it was Zerubbabel, the prince of Judah, who helped lead his people back into Jerusalem who was the prophesied king to come. No! Both the former and latter prophets continue to see visions into the future beyond that of Babylonian return. Jesus fills the word of the prophets from start to finish. Jesus Fills the Psalms Lastly, Jesus fills the Psalms. It is fitting that we would end here. For the Psalms are typically a response to that great thing, whatever it may be, whether of sorrow, or of joy, whether of despair, or of great anticipation and zeal, the Psalms help lead us in to the worshipful chambers of song, prayer, and meditation. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all record the multitudes crying out to Jesus during His entry with praises and adoration. While some quotations are omitted and others are added in each of the accounts, there is one statement that is a common thread among them all, Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The Psalm was certainly a Messianic one. Jesus Himself refers to it occasionally, “the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” Interesting, how some of the Pharisees would command Jesus to rebuke the crowds that were praising Him, according to Luke’s account, and Jesus would respond saying, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:39-40 It’s almost as if Jesus is saying, “Common guys, stones, your rejection, let’s make the connection here.” But you may still be asking, how exactly does Jesus fill this Psalm particularly. It is important to catch not only the bizarre coincidence that the people are verbalizing verbatim the words we find in Psalm 118, but also what the Psalm itself says in connection with the Messiah and His salvation. Immediately after the Psalmist speaks of this rejected stone, he goes on to say in verses twenty-five and following, “Save now, I pray (“Hosiah – na; This is actually the word Hosanna, but it is broken into two parts. The combined word did exist in the Hebrew language, but it was never actually used in the Old Testament, until it was transliterated into the Greek, and even then was only found on one occasion throughout all of the New Testament, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. For the first time in the inspired record, people are found shouting in unison, “Hosanna!” Save now, please!! And that makes it very special in my book. Continuing…) O LORD. O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity (Hosiah—na). Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! (Notice now) We have blessed you (who is that? The one coming representatively of the Lord) from the house of the LORD. God is the LORD, and He has given us light (Jesus said, “I am the light of the world”) John 8:12 ; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar (Bind the sacrifice with cords? Is that not a fitting description of what Jesus would do with the people’s sacrifices of palm branches? In a figure would He not bind them with cords and bring them into the throne room of God? The apostle John said on the island of Patmos, “After these things I looked and behold… all nations… with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne…” Rev. 7:9-10 Jesus indeed bound them in spirit and brought them to the Father above in heaven.) You are my God, and I will praise you. You are my God, I will exalt you. I’ll leave this to your own judgment, but answer this, is that two praises for one, or two praises for two? Those with palm branches in their hands in John’s vision said, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Conclusion I only came to remind you of this today, Jesus has been tried, and He has been found to be true. He fills prophecy. And if He filled it before under those covenants that were spoken before, spoken by another, then He will fill prophecy again, especially, especially that which began to be spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself. If that doesn’t give you strong consolation, I don’t know what will! If you’re not trusting in Jesus, then my friend I ask you, what exactly are you trusting in? Only one other time in the New Testament does Scripture record someone saying, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.” You know who that was? Jesus! Those were literally the last words He would ever say to the Pharisees, those who rejected and opposed Him. Jesus said, “You shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.” I think those are fitting words to summarize God’s pattern for salvation. Until you are willing to say that Jesus was God’s Savior sent into the world, and follow His command, you won’t have to worry about seeing Jesus, or maybe you will have to worry. Yes, you will have to worry. As we stand and sing this song, we invite you to come forward this morning and say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” He is coming again.