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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jesus speaks a better word - getting from the OT to Jesus (Sunday follow-up)

Wherever you open your Bible, you'll turn to some aspect of the life-transforming gospel of Jesus Christ. It won't necessarily be 4 points followed a closing prayer to trust your life to Jesus as Lord and Savior - but it might Moses' willingness to accept blame for sin he didn't commit (which in turn foreshadows us of Jesus' willingness to bear the blame for sin he didn't commit - Exodus 32:32; Isaiah 53:4, II Corinthians 5:21) or it might be an example of sin/idolatry for which Christ died (see also Exodus 32 - the golden calf).

God's prophets were called to speak his word rightly. But each, including Moses, was sinful and none spoke His word fully. Jesus is God's perfect prophet - speaking the words of eternal life (John 6:68-69). Whenever we read the Old Testament prophets, we ought to ask: Where does Jesus speak a similar but better word? This might require a good study Bible or at least a Bible with marginal references (ie. little numbers or letters with Scripture references attached - usually pointing you to the New Testament). I want to introduce you to an excellent resource. Both the online and the print versions of the ESV Study Bible has an amazing section in the back entitled - The History of Salvation in the Old Testament: Preparing the Way for Christ. 

I have posted below from this section a selection screenshots of the OT prophets (including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Zechariah). By looking through some of these and their corresponding references, you are training yourself for how to hear God's prophetic voice in the OT and connect it to an even better word spoken or fulfilled by Jesus.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Moses Points to Jesus (Sunday follow-up)

Jesus & Moses -
Prophets who get between God and Man
Yesterday I had opportunity to present the ultimate life-purpose of one of the great men in Jewish and Christian history - the prophet Moses. This man's ultimate life-purpose was to point people up-the-road to a better prophet who would speak to us a better word - the prophet Jesus. 

I couldn't yesterday share all or even most of the Christ-pointing references to Moses - and only shared a couple of Jesus' own references to Moses. My aim here is to simply present the Scriptures that display Moses clearly pointing people to Jesus as a prophetic mediator - one who gets in-between to speak the people's words to God, and God's words to people. Jesus does this even better and forever. 

Moses as a prophetic type of Christ
Moses: An evil King tried to kill him as a baby (Exodus 1:22)
Jesus: An evil king tried to kill him as a baby (Matthew 2:16)

Moses: Sent into Egypt to preserve his life (Exodus 2:3-4)
Jesus: Sent into Egypt to preserve his life (Matthew 2:13-15)

Moses: Went from being a prince to a pauper (Exodus 2:18-19).
Jesus: Went from being heaven's prince to earth's servant  (John 1:1-3).

Moses: Shepherd (Exodus 3:1)
Jesus: Shepherd (John 10:11).

Moses: Bears the blame that the people deserved (Exodus 14:15; Exodus 32:32)
Jesus: Bears the blame that the people deserved (Isaiah 53:4)

Moses: "So the people feared YHWH, and they believed in YHWH and his servant Moses (Exodus 14:31).
Jesus: "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me" (John 14:1).

Moses: Provided water for thirsty people (Exodus 15:22-25)
Jesus: Provided water for thirsty people (John 7:37-38)

Moses: Fed hungry people (Exodus 16)
Jesus: Fed hungry people in the wilderness (spiritual - John 6:31-35; physical Mark 8:1-9).

Moses: Fought a war with two outstretched arms and two men beside him (physical - Amalek - Exodus 17:8-16).
Jesus: Fought a war with two outstretched arms and two men beside him (spiritual - Satan - Colossians 2:14-15).

Moses: Finished the work God assigned him which led to God's presence (Exodus 40:33-34)
Jesus: Finished the work God assigned him which led to God's presence (John 19:30).

Moses on Jesus: 
Exodus 19:15-19

Jesus on Moses
At a count of 19x, Jesus refers to the person of Moses more than any other Old Testament character. Here are some significant ones:

  • In reference to people who preach Moses' law but don't practice what they preach (Matthew 23:2-3).
  • In reference to the resurrection of the dead being first spoken to and by Moses himself (Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37)
  • In reference to hearing Moses and the other prophets being enough to know how to gain eternal life and avoid hell (Luke 16:29-31).
  • "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, Jesus interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27).
  • "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up" (John 3:14 - referring to the cross, looking to Christ crucified brings healing; cf. Numbers 21:9)
  • "Do not think I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you set your home" (John 5:45 - everyone at some points places their hope on their performance with respect to some form of the Law which is based on the Law of Moses - since we are unable to live up to it, it "accuses" all who hope in it for the day of judgment).
  • "For if you believed Moses; you would believe me; for he wrote of me" (John 5:46 - cf. Deuteronomy 19:15-19).
  • With reference to food that will truly sustain you forever (John 6:32).

Be encouraged that you have a sure anchor that forever assures you who trust Jesus. God has had this plan all along to reconcile human beings to Himself. John 1:17 - "The Law came through Moses... (a mediator subject to death who gave people an temporary way to please the God who had delivered them from bondage) ...grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (a mediator living forever who gave people a permanent way to please the God who delivers them from bondage). 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I deserve anything...

When I ponder the grace of God, I often do so in terms of: "I deserve nothing...yet I've
been given every good gift" (cf. Romans 8:32). This is the passive reception of grace. There is another side of grace, which Tim Keller calls, the threat of grace. It says: "I deserve anything that is asked of me." This is the active response of grace. While re-reading Keller's The Reason for God I was reminded of this side of grace:
Some years ago I met with a woman who began coming to church at Redeemer. She said that she had gone to church growing up and had never before heard a distinction between the gospel and religion. She had always heard that God accepts us only if we are good enough. She said that the new message was scary. I asked her why it was scary, and she replied: "If I was saved by my good works then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be a like a taxpayer with 'rights' -- I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if I am a sinner saved by sheer grace - then there is nothing he cannot ask of me."
Here's a woman whose first response to the gospel of grace isn't sheer awe or wonder (as is/was the case for many of us) but: "I'll take any assignment!" I immediately think of Mary accepting her assignment of carrying then raising the Messiah under scandalous glances and rumors (Luke 1:38) or God's arduous assignment to Paul (then Saul) after rescuing him from his bondage to hate (Acts 9:16). 

Yet it is really no threat at all as we are increasingly gripped by what grace has done - you've been chosen! Not because of how good you are on the inside or out, but simply because you are undeservedly loved. A Bridegroom has chosen to wed you (Rev. 19:7) whilst a Father has chosen to adopt you (Ephesians 1:5). A friend of mine, who was adopted around the age of 10, can recall after putting a few of his things into his new home happily declaring: "I'm ready for my first assignment."

Are you ready to receive any assignment He might give you? Your answer will almost certainly depend on whether your heart has yet been gripped by the grace of God.