Peter’s preaching in Acts was shaped by Luke.
Acts 2 = summary of what Peter actually said.
Luke says Peter “warmed the crowd” with many other words (not recorded here).
Things of note:
1. Luke used the Septuigen version of the Scriptures (septuigenta = Latin = 70) – these Scriptures were made by 70 Jews. At that time, many Jews were spread throughout the world and didn’t know their mother tongue of Hebrew – so this was the Greek translation of the Scriptures. Most of the early church took most of their Scripture quotes from this version (LXX Version).
This was the main source of the Scriptures for the early church. Also, Joel is different (2:28 – “It shall come to pass afterward that I’ll pour out my flesh on all people…”) Afterward there = meta… = could be indefinitely. Peter here changes that word to “the last days” (it has a more specific time element).
For the New Testament writers, the “Last Days” began with Christ’s first appearance, and would end with his Second Coming. “You have been dreaming of the day of God – when he’d break forth into history – now the day is here in Jesus.” (William Barclay).
Peter obviously didn’t know how long it would be until Jesus returns. Even in 2 Peter, he defends the decades-long-no-Jesus-returning-period “In the last days, scoffers will come, following their own evil desires, and saying, ‘Where is this second coming?’ But they deliberately forget that in the Beginning, God formed the world and flooded the world with water and destroyed it. Now also the heavens are reserved for fire. But don’t forget that with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day. God is patient with everyone, not wishing any to perish, but ALL to come to repentance.”
Not everyone WILL obviously repent, but the opportunity WILL be presented.
Near the end of Peter’s life, 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near” he thought that the End was near – especially since there was so much time between Jesus’ resurrection and the Second Coming.
The Holy Spirit here has now been poured out and the Age of the Spirit had become. The times in Joel’s prophecy had come – it was now time to put faith in Jesus – because as Joel’s prophecy says, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The note here = every ONE – personally. Not just since you go to church, or since your family goes to church, or since your friend goes to church.
Peter is sure that these are the Last Days of which Joel has prophesied. So, now he turns his argument over to “Jesus IS Messiah” and he goes to show (in the Scriptures) how many things prove he is. This is also the emphasis of the early church’s preaching.
Jesus was a man of God, approved by God, and through his signs and compassion, that proves (outwardly) that he was of God.
Peter argues that what was God’s apparent “weakness” (the crucifixion) was actually the power and plan of God (Romans 1:16 = Paul also says this). Peter argues that by the Jews putting Jesus to death, the Jews actually have fulfilled the prophecies (especially in Isaiah). Then, he quotes a proof text (a Psalm of David) that Jesus’ resurrection was appointed and prophesied previously – AND that God would establish an eternal throne in David’s line.
Psalm 16:8-11 – this is an exact quote from the Septuigen Scriptures. He quotes it Messianically (proving that Jesus is the Messiah). It says that “your servant shall not see decay” yet everyone KNOWS that he died and did decay – so the verse MUST apply to a future descendant of David. The people (and Peter) acknowledge that David is a prophet so it is true that he should be able to see the future.
Jesus also says, “Everything in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms is about me.”
Peter argues that these prophetic words were about Jesus – and the apostles are witnesses to these facts. The proof that the Spirit was present = fire, tongues, etc.
Psalm 101:1 = another proof text.
“Sit at my right hand…”
This verse was difficult to understand – the explanation depended on the way you understood the “lords” – “the Lord said to my lord…” or “the lord said to my Lord…” or … etc.
The Saduccees debated over this, but Jesus debated with them – “how then is the Christ the son of David? He calls him ‘my Lord.’”
The proper understanding of the Lords = the key to understanding the text. Jesus interpreted it messianically as referring to himself.
In fact, this text is not earthly but heavenly, not about David, but Jesus – the disciples were witnesses to Jesus’ Ascension.
In Jesus’ trial, the Pharisees asked “Are you the Son of God?” Jesus, “You have said rightly.”
Peter uses 4 points to argue for Jesus as Messiah.
- Peter’s personal testimony
- Miraculous events of Pentecost
- Information about Jesus that the audience had themselves (he was famous throughout the land at that time)
- The Scriptural proof texts
Then Peter concludes with the point he made throughout – Jesus = Lord, Messiah, Anointed One. (Romans 10:9 – “if you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth” 1 Cor 12:3 “no one who is speaking by the Spirit says ‘Jesus be cursed’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Spirit.” Phil “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.”) – this (from Peter) became an early creed.
Peter’s speech produced a strong emotional reaction in the crowd – OBVIOUSLY, Jesus was the Messiah and they were convicted, humbled, and teachable and asked “What shall we do?”
Peter = the GOAL he’d wanted “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.”
Luke 24:47 Jesus foretells “Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be told to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Metanoia = a change of mind/behavior/heart/etc.
This word is used repeatedly in the NT and especially Acts to talk about repentance.
- Acts 3:19 – Peter preaches in Solomon’s colonnade “repent then and turn to God that your sins may be white and times of refreshing come.” These are God-fearers in the temple he’s talking to (church-goers)
- Acts 5:31 – Peter speaks to the Sanhedrin (counsel of Jews) who tried to stop them preaching about Jesus “God exalted him to his own right hand as Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness to the people of Israel.” Here, people in religious leadership.
- Acts 8:22 – Peter speaks to Simon the magician (the occultic magician). Simon wanted to offer money for the gift of the Spirit “Repent of this wickedness, perhaps he’ll forgive you for this thought.” Here, people in the occult also need to repent (today, many people are involved in the occult – wittingly or unwittingly – but whether we know it or not, God condemns the occult).
- Acts 11:18 – explaining the conversion of Cornelius (Roman Gentile seeking God – God led Peter to his house, he preached, the HS fell on them, and it was evident that God had accepted them) “When they heard this they had no further questions, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance.’” (This was pretty amazing – unclean GENTILES too?)
- Acts 13:24 – Paul in the synagogue gives a word of preaching/teaching – “Before Jesus, John preached repentance to Israel…”
- Acts 17:30 – to pagan philosophers in Athens (Aeropogas) – “In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent – for he has set a day to judge the world – and proves it with Jesus’ resurrection” – some believed here though most mocked him.
- Acts 19:4 – Paul speaks to some disciples in Ephesus “Did you receive the HS when you believed?” “The what?” “How were you baptized?” “Into John.” “John preached repentance, but said, ‘Look to the one who comes after.’ So, let’s baptize you into the one who comes after.” Now, they were baptized into the HS. (This is similar to Apollos who knew the Scriptures well but needed more info to help him be better.)
- Acts 20:21 – the elders at Ephesus “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in Jesus.”
- Acts 26:20 – before King Agrippa “first to those in Damascus, then Jerusalem, then Judea, then the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
Consider again the crowd that Peter was addressing, they were God-fearing Jews who worshiped and obeyed God already. They are presented as blameless in keeping the Law, so they didn’t really need to repent – they weren’t murderers, etc – but the one thing they needed to do was change their minds with regard to Jesus and enter a new relationship with him as Savior.
Do you have that relationship with Christ?
Have you repented from your sins? (There’s no real forgiveness without repentance – it’s not “cheap grace”).
We may have asked ONCE, got our “fire insurance” – but there must also be commitment to the Lord.
Paul “examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith.” We don’t need to be burdened with guilt, but this is an ongoing process of examination and repentance.
Let’s pray this prayer – if you’re not quite sure, you can join this prayer. It can help your heart.
Pentecost = from Greek (Pentecostas = 50th)
This was the only OT festival determined by counting days. On the day after Passover, the Israelites selected a sheif of grain that became an offering to the Lord (Leviticus). They then counted 50 days after that day, and THAT day became the day of Pentecost. It was also called the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34) – because it took 7 weeks after Passover for this event. They then harvested the wheat at that time. This was also called Feast of the Harvest, Day of First Fruits. They all describe this particular feast.
In Judaism, Pentecost came to be regarded as the anniversary of the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. So, Pentecost came to have symbolic meaning for the church – God would manifest himself in a unique way. 50 days after the Exodus Passover, the Law/Covenant was given. For Luke, this is also significant in that Pentecost (the giving of the NEW Covenant/Holy Spirit) for Christians was 50 days after the Passover (Passion) when Jesus was crucified.
Remember the Transfiguration? Elijah and Moses and Jesus were there talking about Jesus’ “exodus” from this earth when he would die/be crucified. They were likely encouraging him. Moses represented the Law.
- Elijah represented the Prophets.
- Jesus represented the Fulfillment of the Law & Prophets.
For Luke, this Pentecost was fulfilled in the giving of the Holy Spirit – the giving of the Law of the Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit replaces the Torah. The Law of the Spirit gives life – which comes through the new righteousness in Christ (Romans 8:1-2).
The new church continued to exist with some continuity with the Jewish church. They kept with some traditions, but there is a distinct difference between the Torah and Grace – the Torah had no power to bring anyone into communion with God because it couldn’t be followed by faith. Now, the Law of Grace of Christ can be followed by faith by sinners. “A righteousness apart from Law has been made known – to which the Law and the Prophets testify.”
Many lambs were sacrificed for sins.
Jesus = THE lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
In the OT, the best the sacrifices could do was temporarily cover up the sins of the people. It took a divine sacrifice to cover up all sins for all people for all time.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus opened their eyes, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer and die?” He opened their eyes (and the other disciples) so that they could understand that ALL Scriptures point to Jesus. ALL Scriptures point to Jesus.
This righteousness from God comes from faith in Christ to all who believe. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
This new covenant makes it possible to experience oneness with God (Romans 5:5) “The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts…”
The OT was modeled after the Law (from Moses). This new covenant = a new law of the Spirit.
So, this festival, the Day of First Fruits, was an appropriate time for this gift/new covenant of the HS to be given. Isaiah 1:9? “The predators, wolves, who prey on others – they will neither harm nor destroy my holy mountain. For the waters will be full of my holy sea…”
In the house (household, building, temple), the Jews were gathered. In the last verse of Luke 24 describe the disciples continually at the temple praising/worshiping God. It might have also been the same upper room where the disciples met with Jesus for the last supper.
The began to experience supernatural phenomena.
The first: a hurricane sound of wind (neumar = wind/spirit) – it was a physical manifestation of the HS. Probably reminiscent of the appearances of God in the OT. Ezekiel 13:13 “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says, ‘In my wrath, I will unleash a destructive wind…’” This is where he is prophesying against false prophets – a rebuke.
Also the audience in Pentecost probably related this with the trumpets and wind that accompanied the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 30?). “When the people heard the trumpet and thunder, they trembled with fear.”
This awesome aspect of God’s presence was to help them avoid sin (fear of God).
This loud sound of the wind on Pentecost also attracted MORE God-fearing, religious Jews. They were in Jerusalem to attend the festival and temple.
They ALSO saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that came to rest on each of them. Exodus 3:2-5 (Moses and the burning bush). Fire = a sign of the divine. Exodus 13:21 (The Pillar of Fire and Cloud). There are also other symbols of fire in the OT – Elijah and the prophets of Baal. John the Baptist had also spoken of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. “The people were waiting expectantly and wondering in their hearts if John might not be the Messiah. ‘I am not – another is coming more worthy than I.’”
These signs were also instructive to the disciples (Luke 24) “Jesus said, ‘Stay in Jerusalem until you are clothed from on high with power.’”
Acts 1 “Jesus said, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father is sending.’”
This, Pentecost day, was the day.
So, the church was born through the Holy Spirit. On that first Pentecost, a third manifestation of the HS occurred. The HS enabled them to utter/say/speak in other languages. These uneducated disciples suddenly seemed to have skill in these other languages. The people were amazed by these “local languages” that were being spoken.
Why speak local languages? Many Jews spoke Aramaic or Greek (this is from Alexander the Great). Hearing languages in their home town dialects really grabbed their attention. It really brought home just how special all of this was.
were hard to ignore. Now, here’s the question “What does this all mean?”
But first, what of the international crowd?
There were Jews from every nation, there were converts (proselytes). They were there to celebrate Pentecost – many from Passover may have stayed (around 100,000 for Passover – estimated). Jews from the eastern kingdoms also came, the Roman Empire, Egypt, etc.
Some people wonder why Luke listed certain countries and why that order. He starts with 3 to the east of Jerusalem (Iran area), then some near Iraq, then some near Turkey, then some near North Africa (Egypt, Libya, Sireni?). He wanted to show how far from Rome they came.
As we read in Acts, the gospel had reached Rome long before Paul did. It was probably Christian teaching and opposition to that that caused riots there. Claudius (the governor there) had banned all the Jews from Rome at that time.
After the Roman Jews, Luke continues with the Mediterranean, Arabs, etc. Jews from all over were there. If these people were pilgrims and told people in their native lands, then word would spread quickly.
Obviously not everyone was impressed with these events saying, “they’re drunk!” But they obviously weren’t since it was 9am, much too early for that kind of behavior.
Peter begins to explain what this all means. He made a powerful and courageous witness to Christ. What a contrast from a few weeks earlier when he’d denied Jesus with oaths and curses (three times). Since then, Jesus had restored him, but he still needed the fullness of the HS to witness to others. Not only did he know Jesus, but he also wanted to witness.
Not only Peter had denied him, others had as well, but through this experience and the HS, Peter’s character changed dramatically.
Peter quotes from Joel and David (both well known to the Jews there) and he insists that this Pentecost is a fulfillment of the scriptures.
Peter also appeals to the experience of the Jews who’ve been in Jerusalem – they’d have known of Jesus and his deeds as well as the events/circumstances surrounding his death. Finally, Peter appeals to himself and the others as being eyewitnesses of these events. Then he appeals to the other Jews to repent.
There are 6 themes.
- The Age of Fulfillment has come to pass.
- The ministry (death and resurrection) = made this possible.
- As a result, Christ is at God’s right hand.
- The sign of Christ’s guidance and power is the HS.
- The consummation of the Messianic Age = the 2nd Coming.
- The proper response to all of this = repentance and baptism.
God forgives sins, makes clean. Pentecost = the final step/key in this whole story/process.
God gives eternal (full) life. The disciples waited and renewed their strength. You can as well.
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
V.17 = Do not think…
OT = The Law and the Prophets, the Word of God
The Word of God starts with Genesis 1:1, not Matthew 1:1. Jesus didn’t come as a rabbi with new teachings, doctrines, but as the promised Messiah with a message heard from the Beginning. He didn’t come to abolish the Word of God. So, why did he say, “Do not think…?”
At that time, many thought that Jesus was breaking the Word of God, the Law of God, because Jesus didn’t keep the ceremonial handwashing before meals, and he healed deliberately on the Sabbath. So, he was eventually condemned and crucified as a Law breaker.
But those who condemned him were ultimately those who were condemned.
Please don’t misunderstand Jesus. Misunderstanding Jesus = total destruction, hell, etc. Jesus = THE way, THE truth, THE Life.
1 John “This is eternal life, that they may know God and … have eternal life.”
Many people think (today as well) that Jesus is a “good man” or “prophet” or “religious leader.” Don’t misunderstand him. He makes it clear that he’s come to fulfill and accomplish and complete the Word of God.
God bless all of us to be persuaded and convinced that Jesus came to fulfill the Word of God. Are you convinced?
Then what does that mean? Much can be said under this topic. Limited time = 3 things for us to talk about.
#1: To KEEP, confirm the promises of God in the OT.
- In Genesis 3:15 = the FIRST promise to send Jesus. “I will put enmity between you (snake) and the woman. You will strike his heel and he will bruise your head.”
- Isaiah 7:14 “The Lord himself will give you a sign – the virgin will give birth to a son, they will call him Emmanuel.”
- Isaiah 9 “To us a child is given, a son is born… He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
- Micah 5 “You Bethlehem, even though you are very small, out of you one will come who will be ruler, whose origins are of old.”
There are two lines concerning the prophecies:
- Christ = Savior
- Christ = King
Sonship and Kingship go together.
Our Lord has come to keep all the promises, all the Prophets, everything in the OT.
#2: To SHOW, reveal God the Father.
Who can see God? Not us. God = spirit, we = material. Jesus came to show God. We can NOW see God by seeing Jesus.
In Genesis, God = Creator, Governor, Ruler, Sovereign God, Mighty, Omnipotence, Omniscience,…
Jesus completes the revelation of God as FATHER.
John 1:18 “No one has seen God, but God the one and only who has seen him at the right hand has made him known.”
Philip said, “Show us God.”
Jesus said, “Don’t you know me?”
We can see God by believing in Jesus Christ. There are many people around us who “believe in ‘God’” without believing in Jesus.
There is no God but Jesus. We cannot “believe in ‘God’” if we don’t believe in Jesus.
#3: To SAVE sinners
His name Jesus = decided from the voice of heaven. “He will be called Jesus” Jesus = Savior, the Lord saves, Joshua = the Lord saves.
1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves to be accepted with full confidence: that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”
In the OT, from Genesis to Malachi, one of the biggest plans of God = to save sinners through Jesus. John 3:16 …
Please remember there is NO sin God cannot forgive in Jesus.
1 John 1:7 “The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin in Jesus.”
There is also NO sin God CAN forgive outside Jesus Christ.
John 16:9 “They sin because they do not believe in me.”
There are many sins, we have a sinful nature. Killing, lying, rebellion. Biggest sin of biggest sin – unforgivable sin against Father God = NOT believing in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save sinners.
Jesus says continually (v 18-19) “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen shall disappear…anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.”
- He says continually “I tell you the truth”
- Other translations “Verily, verily”
We know ALL his words are true.
These words signal that the NEXT words are of VITAL importance. Jesus ascribes the highest authority to the Word of God.
Until heaven and earth disappear, the Word of God will NEVER change.
There are 2 untils:
- “Until heaven and earth disappear” = the eternal validity of the Word of God
- “Until everything is accomplished” = the FULL plan of God
Not a single stroke will disappear.
22 alphabet letters in Hebrew. (24 in Korean, 26 in English)
Some are very small. The smallest is called “yod” – looks like a comma or apostrophe in English.
Jesus held up the full truth of EVERY letter and every word of the Word of God. This shows the ABSOLUTE authority of the Word of God.
Every word in the Scriptures looked forward to Jesus and pointed (still points) to Jesus. EVERYTHING will be done that has not yet been done, everything that has been done is a fulfillment of prophecy.
Revelation = encouragement and also warning.
If anyone adds anything to the Word of God, God will add to him the curses and plagues recorded in here. If anyone takes away from the Word of God, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life.
1 Timothy 4:16? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for rebuking, teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness.”
v. 20 “UNLESS…your righteousness…”
In conclusion, Jesus = our righteousness
Unless your righteousness beats everyone else’s on Earth for all time – (especially those professionally righteous Pharisees) – you won’t enter the kingdom of heaven.
“OH? Woah! OTL…”
Probably they were very surprised by this statement.
At that time, the Pharisees tried with all their might to obey and keep the Word of God. They were “angels of holiness.” So the people thought that these were the standard they should follow.
In reality, in Jesus’ sight, it was the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were actually abolishing the Word of God. By their hypocrisy and adding traditions to the Word of God, they were robbing the power of the Word of God. They were embalming the Word of God in their lives, so that there was no life in it nor them.
Jesus exposed the truth.
Here is a good illustration of that:
One day, some who were super arrogant and confident, Jesus said, “One day, two men went to church to pray. One is an awesome brother of yours, he stood in the middle of the square and prayed loudly. ‘Thank GOD I’m not like THAT dude~ I’m so awesome with my fasting and tithing!’ The other man was a big old sinner – tax collector. He couldn’t see heaven, bowed his head, and wept, and said, ‘God have mercy on me.’ The second man went home justified.”
He who humbles himself will be justified. (He who declares his unrighteousness will be justified by God.)
He who justifies his own righteousness will be declared unrighteous.
We cannot be righteous on our own.
Romans 3:20 “No one will be declared righteous by observing the Law.” (also Galatians)
We need ONLY Jesus Christ’s righteousness.
Romans 10:4 “Jesus Christ is the end of the Law so there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”
“Jesus is our righteousness, our holiness, and our sanctification.”
Attaining Jesus’ righteousness = justification
#1: Only by the Grace of God
(Romans 3:24 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (3:23). We are declared righteous, we are justified freely, by God’s grace through the redemption that came through Jesus Christ.”
Redemption originates in the heart of God, not our own hearts. By admitting our powerlessness to attain righteousness, God provides it through Jesus.
- God had regard to our guilt.
- God had regard to our misery.
The grace of God is the root for our justification, for our righteousness. Without a root, a tree cannot stand. But can you see it? No. The grace of God is the root of our justification.
#2: It is ONLY by the blood and power of Jesus.
- Romans 4:24 “Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our righteousness.”
- Romans 5:9 “We have been justified by Jesus’ righteousness, how much more will we be justified – God is able to restore us to his favor.”
In justification, our sins are not excused, but PUNISHED – in the person of Jesus Christ.
The blood and resurrection power = the ground, foundation of our justification.
#3: It is ONLY by faith
Romans 1:5 “Therefore since we have been justified by faith through our Lord Jesus Christ, we have peace with God…
Faith is not the ground – it is not FOR faith we are justified, but BY faith.
Ephesians 2:9 “It is through faith you are saved, not by works, so that nobody can boast.”
We must be better than the Pharisees in getting the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus came to fulfill the promises of God, to reveal God as Father, and to save us from sin.
May God bless us. Let’s pray.
Last time, we saw the genealogy of Jesus – the son of David, son of Abraham. His genealogy goes like this Abraham – Isaac – Jacob – Judah… “begot” being the keyword. In this story, mother did not begot sons, but father.
The bottom line is different in the case of Jesus – it does not say “Joseph begot Jesus” – it says, “Joseph, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus.”
In the history of the world, only two men had no human fathers – Adam and Jesus. In the future, there are no more like that. In the future, if a girl becomes pregnant and says, “Oh, it’s the Holy Spirit!” Don’t believe her. One is enough.
If you see carefully, verse 18 says “Mary was pledged” = engaged, not yet married. Verse 19 says, “Joseph planned to divorce her” – they were already called husband and wife.
What was the process for marriage in Judaism at that time? 3 steps:
- Engagement stage (made while the couple was young – only children – by their parents or professional match maker – regardless of the couple’s choice – they didn’t even see each other) In Korea, even up to the previous generation, they did this as well.
- Betrothal (ratification – legal approval of engagement – this stage lasted for one year. During this period, they didn’t live together, lived separately in body. During this time, they should keep their virginity and purity to prepare to be husband and wife – but legally they were already called “husband and wife” with legal binding. During this period, if a wife committed adultery, she was to be stoned. If a husband died, the wife would be called a virgin widow.)
- Proper Marriage (at the end of the year, live together in one house)
In this story, they were in the second stage when Mary got pregnant.
Brothers, if you were Joseph, what would you do?
Joseph was a “righteous man” (even though before God, no one is righteous, not even one). But humanly speaking, he was zealous to keep the Law. So, in this way, he should have divorced her – but he was also a gentleman, didn’t want her to be killed – so he was studying quietly, secretly to keep her alive. During this time, an angel appeared to him, and said, “Don’t be afraid to make her your wife. This child is of the Holy Spirit.”
If you see the book of Luke, an angel – Gabriel – appeared to Mary and said, “You will be with child and will give birth to a son – you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High and he will be given the throne of David and will rule over the house of Jacob, and his kingdom will never end.”
Mary said, “How? I’m a virgin.”
The angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.”
At that time, Mary responded “I’m a servant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.”
Both Joseph and Mary obeyed fully.
Humanly speaking, Joseph was a gentleman. Let us also be gentle men.
All this took place to fulfill the prophecy (Isaiah).
- Immanuel “God with us”
- El = “God”
He had no union with her UNTIL she gave birth. But after that…
If we summarize the whole Old Testament in one sentence: It is the bundle of prophecies concerning the Messiah and his substitutionary death and his victorious reign.
Since Matthew is the Book of the King, it has many more quotations from the Old Testament than any of the other gospels.
It has 130 quotations and allusions to the OT.
Another key of Matthew, “King” and “Kingdom of Heaven” – that’s why we should repent. More than 32 times, we can see “The Kingdom of Heaven.” No other book has that.
All the story, all the genealogy:
- Old Testament = prophecy
- New Testament = fulfillment
OT – born of woman (not father), through the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, the son of David, through the virgin.
- Genesis 3:13? – this is a curse from God to the serpent “I will put enmity between you and the woman – you will strike his heel and he will crush your head.” Ancient serpent = Satan. Woman’s offspring = Jesus – Galatians 4:14 “When the time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman.”
- Genesis 18 – to Abraham – “through your offspring, all nations on Earth will be blessed.” – fulfilled through Jesus.
- Genesis 44? – “The scepter will never depart from Judah”
- 2 Samuel – to David “I will establish your kingdom forever and ever.” – fulfilled in Jesus
- “The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son.” Isaiah 7:14 – almost the same sentence.
- “The Lord himself will give a sign – the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel.”
- Isaiah 9:6 “To us a child is born, a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders (kingship) – and he shall be called Wonderful Counsel, Everlasting Father, Mighty God, King of Peace.”
The name (word) Jesus = savior – comes from Joshua. Jesus = Greek, Joshua = Hebrew. The name Joshua = “God’s salvation”
- Joshua = Jesus = Jehovah is my salvation
- Christ (Greek) = Messiah (Hebrew)
- Jesus = human name
- Christ = official title
- Immanuel = describes his character
He was not a phantom, he was fully man – physically touchable. He was also fully God – sinless, born of a virgin, without original sin – because he wasn’t born of a father.
So, what is the purpose of the virgin birth? Why through the virgin?
5 purposes for this:
#1: To fulfill God’s promise – to keep his promise.
God is not a man, he is God, so he is very faithful in keeping his promises.
#2: To reveal God
Can you see God? You can in Jesus. We cannot see God – but God can show himself to us. John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God, but he has made him known. God is spirit, but can show something of himself to us through nature, history, conscious, dreams, visions, prophets. But God has shown ALL of himself through Jesus.”
Hebrews 1:1 “ In the past, God spoke to prophets, but in these last days, through Jesus.”
Colossians 2 “In Christ, all the fulness of the Trinity, divinity dwells in Jesus.”
Jesus = God’s final self revelation
#3: To bridge the gap between God and man
Like Matthew, the bridge between OT and NT, Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and man.
1 Timothy 5 “There is one God and one mediator between God and man – Jesus Christ.”
If I want to be a mediator to the Japanese, I can’t do it by speaking Chinese. If I speak English, it also doesn’t work. But, if I speak Japanese fluently, I can be a mediator to them.
Jesus is fully God and fully man, he speaks both languages fluently. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
#4: Through virgin birth to save us from our sins
Think about this: to get forgiveness is very essential – what should you do? From God? Repent. Confess our sins to receive forgiveness from God – it is necessary, essential, absolute to receive forgiveness.
But remember, confession is not enough.
First, the penalty of sin must be paid – the wages of sin = death.
So, to be a perfect Savior, he must be God to save us, he must be REAL man to die and pay our penalty, he must be sinless for his sacrifice to be effective.
Who is there in this world/life like that? Only Jesus.
#5: To show us the example of a sinless, holy life.
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. You will find rest for your souls.”
Who can say, “I’m gentle, I’m humble, you will find rest”? Jesus, he is holy and sinless.
1 Peter 2 “You are called to follow the example set before you by Jesus.”
Q: Is Jesus your Savior?
If True, he is our example, model, of what kind of people we should be in this world.
In the Bible, there are many human writers (40) – all the writers of the Word are PERFECT in their writings (only) but they are NOT perfect in their character. Only Jesus is infallible in his teaching and character.
There are 2 steps:
- Non-believer: Believe in Jesus and live.
- Believer: Follow Jesus’ example
For us the most important thing is Jesus’ example.
In Exodus, when Moses came down from the mountain, his face shown (glowed) – if we are real Christians, we are being transformed into that kind of person more and more as we walk with Jesus and follow his example.
If you “like” Christ, you should be LIKE Christ.
Do you like Jesus’ death?
As a Christian, what do you believe, or what can you say about the death of Jesus Christ?
If you are a Sunday school teacher / evangelist / missionary, what will you teach/preach about the death of Christ?
For humans, usually death is sorrowful news, there is no more work to be done.
But, in the case of Jesus, it is “good news of great joy for all the people, for all time.”
Good news of the gospel is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Without the death and resurrection, the gospel cannot be gospel.
Jesus’ death is a great work, the greatest work.
It didn’t come unavoidably, but by his definite choice according to his own purpose.
- “It is finished.” in Greek is only one word.
- “It is accomplished. All is paid.” etc.
This is one of 7 sentences he spoke at the cross.
- “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
- “I tell you the truth, today, you will be with me in paradise.” (Even at the point of death can you also preach to save souls as he did?)
- “Dear woman, this is your son.” To John, “This is your mother.”
- “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
- “I’m thirsty.” (literal thirst)
- “It is finished.” (all is done)
- “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
It is finished = with my death, I do all things I’ve wanted to do for all eternity for all men (in the past, in the future)
Actually, our whole lives are not long enough to fully meditate on the death and meaning of Jesus’ death.
6 Spiritual Meanings.
He did not bear his own sins, but substituted himself for our sins. Numerous scriptures say, “Jesus died for you…for others…for us.”
- Isaiah 53:5-6 “Christ was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities…by his wounds we are healed…we all like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way, but God laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
- Romans 5:8 “God demonstrated his great love for us in this…”
- 1 Corinthians 15 “What I received, I passed on to you as of first importance.”
- 2 Corinthians 5 “God made him without sin to become sin for us.”
- 1 Peter “God made him on the tree for us.”
- 1 Peter 3 “Jesus died for us all to bring us to God (once for all).”
There is no question Jesus died as our SUBSTITUTION – for our sins.
#2: Ransom (Redemption)
Literal meaning = an amount of money paid to set someone free (prisoner, kidnapped)
Redemption = deliverance of that prisoner to freedom.
Jesus death is our ransom price for deliverance from death to life, from child of Satan to child of God, from hell to heaven, from condemnation to forgiveness, from bondage of sin to freedom of truth, from Old Creation to New Creation.
Jesus already paid the whole price to get us as a child of God.
“You are not your own, you were bought at a price, therefore, honor God with your bodies.” (Romans?)
If we try to please ourselves, we are bad men, because we were already bought.
What must we pay to buy salvation? You cannot because it is too late. Already 2000 years ago, Jesus paid the full price.
How much must we pay? You cannot because it is too expensive, far beyond your ability to pay.
The price of salvation is priceless.
“The value of one soul is more valuable than the whole universe.”
“I did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for all.”
Galation 3 “Christ became a curse for us to destroy the curse, for everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed.”
“It is not from gold or silver we are bought but with the precious blood of the Lamb of God.”
- Ransom (cause)
- Redemption (effect)
#3: Propitiation (atoning sacrifice)
Literal meaning = covering or mercy seat or appeasing.
In the OT, the cover of the Ark of the Covenant (with 10 Commandments) was called the Mercy Seat (propitiation).
If there is something bad, dirty, etc, and I cover it, then I can no longer see it.
The covering over us is Jesus’ death, is the propitiation for our sins so that God no longer sees the sins.
Appeasement = if someone is angry at me, and I relieve that anger by giving a gift, that is my propitiation.
Propitiation removes God’s wrath from us.
How can God declare the unrighteous righteous? Are you righteous before God? Can you say you are a perfect man?
If you are, then God is no longer righteous.
Propitiation is when God declares the unrighteous righteous because he believes in Jesus and his death for our sins.
Romans 3:25-26 “God presented Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins.” (KJV)
“God presented Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV)
“because in his long suffering, he had left sins before Christ unpunished. He did this to be just and to justify the one who believes in Christ.”
1 John 2:2 “Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world.”
The Bible encourages us and challenges us to be reconciled to God.
First, enmity (enemies) and then reconciliation (friends again).
2 Corithians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.”
God reconciled all human beings through Christ. If we are reconciled, then we are given the message and ministry of reconciliation.
The story of reconciliation goes like this:
At first, God and man stood face to face in fellowship with original koinonia (Genesis 1-2)
If God judged immediately because of human sin, there would be no more Bible because we fell in Genesis 3. So, the rest of the Bible is God’s pursuit of us to reconcile us and save us from condemnation.
- At first, Adam and God could talk face to face, and listen to each other.
- Usually, sinful man does not like holy God. So, man turned away from God and walked away.
- Also, holy God could not see sin, so turned away from man.
“The sinful mind is hostile to God, but Jesus Christ has fully satisfied the commands of God and has reconciled us to him.”
Still now, man is entreated, encouraged to be reconciled to God by believing in Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:3 “Be reconciled to God.”
Without reconciliation with God, there is no reconciliation with yourself, with others, with your parents, children, spouse, friends.
The key to all reconciliation with anyone is first reconciliation with God.
“Jesus Christ is our peace who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier between God and man.”
#5: Fulfillment (Satisfaction)
“It is finished.” “All is done.”
Jesus’ death is the fulfillment and satisfaction. His death is the fulfillment of God’s law, God’s justice, God’s holiness, God’s love, God’s prophecy, God’s covenant.
- In God’s law, sin must be paid by death.
- In God’s justice, must be punished.
- In holiness, must be removed.
- In love, must be forgiven and all things given up.
- In prophecy, nothing must be left undone.
- In covenant, all requirements must be met.
All these are met in death – perfectly in Jesus’ death.
“Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the Prophets, I have come to fulfill them.”
Romans “Jesus is the end of the law, the fulfillment of the law.”
#6: Our Story
All this mental agreement and mental knowledge is NOT enough to save us.
Even Satan knows and believes this and shudders. He knows and believes but is not saved, why? He does not commit his life to Christ.
Mental agreement is not enough.
#6 is our personal story, personal belief, personal relationship
Jesus’ death is MY death (personally).
Can you personally confess this?
“Jesus’ death is MY death.”
Can you be united with Christ in his death, really, truly? This is the full truth of Jesus’ death from the text this morning.
Visible things are temporary, but invisible things are eternal. If we really have faith, we must be able to see things that are invisible.
- Today, visibly, it looked like THEY killed him.
- Invisibly, Jesus killed death, the final enemy.
Yes, we say, “Jesus died for me.”
This is the first step (confession).
Unbelievers never say this because they don’t believe – so they don’t confess the real meaning, effect, blessing. For them, this is resolved until they believe.
- It looks (visibly) that Jesus died for me.
- In reality (invisibly) we died with Christ 2000 years ago.
Where Were You When Jesus Was On the Cross? (last sermon)
Galatians “The life I live in the body I live by faith…”
Romans 6:6 “I was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin was done away with…
This morning, did you see the sun in the sky?
It rises in the morning and sets at night – even the Bible expresses this.
But in the invisible world, the sun is constant, and the EARTH is moving. But we do not feel it, do not see it.
Visibility doesn’t always equal reality.
The Christian life is union with Christ (first) in his death. Then, if you are really united with him in his death, then you can be (second) united with him in his resurrection.
If you are not united with him in death, you cannot be united with him in resurrection, and nothing else that happens after (life, glory, etc).
But, if you are united with him in death, then you are also united with him in all things that come after.
Romans 6:4-5 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead for the glory of the father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death, we will also certainly be united with him in his resurrection.”
Let’s stand and confess and proclaim.
- If you do not believe, keep silent.
- If you believe, open you heart and mouth.