Christ in the OT- Part 5
1st Baptist Church,
Des Moines, NM
Itís Friday here at KLMX radio and Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines. Weíve been looking at Christ in the Old Testament this week and Iíve covered territory from Genesis to Revelation with stops nearly everywhere in between to show you that Christ is not a New Testament invention but occurs all throughout the Bible, from front to back. Let me remind you that if youíd like to read this entire series, visit our website at www.fbcdesmoines.org (spell and read it again). Or you can call us at 505.278.2421 and weíd be happy to send you a CD with this weekís series at no charge.
Today, letís go to John and look at a couple of fascinating allusions Christ makes. It was typical of Christ to answer questions in a non-direct way instead of with a simple yes or no. His answers usually gave far more information than the questioner initially requested, but answered their question in a far more satisfying way. One example of this occurred in his discussion with the Samaritan woman in:
The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? (12) Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" (13) Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, (14) but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
The woman asks him "Are you greater than our father Jacob?" and Jesus answers by offering her a greater water than Jacob provided and thus showing himself to be far greater than Jacob. His answer also prompts the woman to ask more questions and Jesus reveals more and more of Himself, eventually ending with this stunning revelation:
The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." (26) Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
Our passage today covers a similar ground. John the Baptist is in jail, and is experiencing some doubts. Remember that early in the book John, John the Baptist had said:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
However, we all have our moments of testing and John was having one of his in jail.
And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples (3) and said to Him, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" (4) Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: (5) The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (6) And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."
This incident is also reported in Luke:
Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. (19) And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" (20) When the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?' " (21) And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. (22) Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. (23) And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."
Here we have some disciples of John asking Jesus plainly "Are you the coming one, or do we look for another?" Instead of merely saying "yes" or "no", Jesus says, essentially, "Look at my works!" but these were not just any old works. These were specific works: "the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." Johnís disciples evidently returned and the Bible doesnít say for sure, but I bet John heard the report and nodded his head in satisfaction. Do you know why I think this? Because of what Isaiah 35 says:
The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; (2) It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God. (3) Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. (4) Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you." (5) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. (6) Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. (7) The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes. (8) A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. (9) No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, (10) And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
V. 2 says "They shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God" and v. 4 says "Behold, your God will come with vengenance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you." This is a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah and is referring to the coming of God Himself as Savior. Jesus, of course, knew this passage and He knew that John knew it, therefore Christ quoted it and sent that back as his message. This was an allusion and he was alluding to this section in Isaiah. We see that from v. 5-6: "then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing." Christ did all of these in his miracles and there was a reason for him doing those specific miracles. His miracles were not just random "Oh, hereís someone who needs help!" kind of miracles, but were done for a specific purpose. We can see a hint of this in:
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. (2) And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (3) Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
Christ is saying that this man was born blind specifically that the words of God should be revealed in him! What a humbling thought that is! Itís also a comforting one that God has a purpose and design for our infirmities and physical weaknesses.
Since Jesus was referring to the Isaiah passage, letís look back at it. There is obviously much symbolic language in action here: "The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall blossom as the rose." Think of this in context to issues like Gentiles vs. Jews. Biblical Hebrews were the physical seed of Abraham, through Jacob, grown during their Egyptian captivity. They were Godís chosen people. What hope did a Gentile have? Yesterday we looked at Christ in the book of Ruth- what hope did the Moabites have? They were a spiritual wasteland, a desert. Yet, when the Messiah came, He brought water to the desert. Recall the Samaritan woman!
"Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
She herself was puzzled as to why Jesus, a Jew was even talking to her. Yet, here he is, offering her water. Do you see the parallel in Isaiah 35?
Isaiah 35:6-7 "For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. (7) The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water"
v. 8 in the Isaiah passage says
A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.
See that word "highway"? Does it recall this passage?
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
"the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others." Does this recall:
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
"Whoever walks the road, though a fool, shall not go astray". Does this recall:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (28) And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.
"No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it" Does this recall:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (9) Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
1 Peter 5:8-9
The devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, but on the Highway of Holiness, on the way of Jesus, you are safe. No lion is found there.
Bible is deep and wide and we can go on and on looking at these things. However, we should see by now the significance of Jesusí reply to John. It goes far, far deeper than a simple yes or no would have gone.
Well, itís time to wrap up this weekís study. I hope youíve learned something and I hope weíve seen that Christ absolutely and definitely appears throughout the entire Bible, front to back. Remember, Christ is the only way. If youíre not on the Highway of Holiness, the path guarded by the Lamb of God, then youíre prey for the lion. Get on that path and set your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. In His name, to Godís glory, amen.
Christ in the OT- Part 4