Tag Archives: prophets

How Does Jesus Fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

Jesus does three things to complete what the Old Testament started

Jesus drew people to him. The words he spoke and the hope he communicated attracted them. Some people assumed he had come to replace the Old Testament Law and the work of the prophets, but revolution was not his calling.

Jesus didn’t come to do away with what the Old Testament taught. Instead his mission was to bring the Old Testament into fruition, according to God’s plan from the beginning.Jesus Fulfills the Law and the Prophets

Jesus made this clear. He said, “I have not come to abolish the Law and the prophets but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). How did Jesus do this?

Jesus Became the Ultimate Sacrifice: The Old Testament is packed with instructions for making sacrificial offerings, commands that showed the people’s relationship with God. These sacrifices had various meanings, but one key sacrifice occurred to redress sin. An animal had to die because the people had sinned. Because the people continued to sin, animal sacrifices continued to be required. These sin sacrifices happened over and over, year after year, century after century.

Jesus, in his sacrificial death on the cross, became the ultimate sacrifice for sin to end all sin sacrifices. In his once-and-for-all sacrifice, he died to make us right with God, to reconcile us into right relationship with the Almighty.

Jesus Turned Law into Love: Despite Jesus’s fresh way of looking at the understandings of his people, most of his followers still struggled to fully comprehend what he meant. They wrestled to reconcile his teachings with their traditions.

One such person asked Jesus to identify the greatest commandment in the Old Testament. Jesus’s answer was love. He said to “love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.” This stands as the greatest commandment, but then he added one more. He said to “love others as much as we love ourselves” (Matthew 22:36-40). These two simple principles summarize all the Old Testament Law and the writings of the prophets.

Jesus removed a set of impossible-to-please laws and replaced them with one principle: love.

Jesus Changed Our Perspectives. Jesus liked to review what the Hebrew Bible said, and then he would expand on it. He often made this transition by saying “but I tell you…” Then he would give his enlightened explanation about what God meant. We’ll do well to carefully study what Jesus said immediately after his words “but I tell you…” Look for more about this in the future post.Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament Law and the writings of the prophets. Click To Tweet

What’s important to understand when we consider that Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament law and the writings of the prophets is we must put the Old Testament in proper perspective. This doesn’t mean to ignore the Old Testament because Jesus fulfilled it, but it does mean we need to consider the Old Testament in the context to which it was given. In addition to teaching people how to live back then, the Law and the prophets also pointed them to the coming Savior, Jesus.

As we read the Old Testament we see allusions to Jesus and the freedom that he represents. And if we read the Old Testament with care, we will also see that this future revelation about Jesus applies to all people, not just God’s chosen nation of Israel.

Yes, Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament Law and the writings of the prophets. And we are the benefactor of that.

Thank you Jesus.

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How to Confront Someone: Lead with a Story

Nathan takes a wise approach when confronting David about his sins

How to Confront Someone: Lead with a StoryKing David, a man after God’s own heart, is far from perfect. After the Bathsheba affair and the subsequent murder of her husband at the hand of scheming David, God wants to deal with David and restore him to right relationship.

God sends his prophet Nathan to confront David. This is not an assignment I would want: to go tell the king, who as the power to summarily kill me, that he’s a filthy sinner.

Nathan could have marched up to David’s throne, pointed an accusatory finger, and yelled, “You’re a sinner, and you’re going to hell.” I don’t think this would have gone over well.

Instead Nathan takes an indirect approach. He tells David a story. If this tactic sounds familiar, Jesus does the same thing, teaching the people through parables, which give folks an identifiable tale with an underlying spiritual truth.

Nathan’s story begins with “There were two men…” One is rich and one is poor. One is greedy and one is righteous. The greedy one steels from the poor one and…

David can’t contain himself. He pronounces judgement, void of mercy, on the wealthy, greedy man.

Then Nathan drives his point to the heart of David. “You are that man.”

David feels conviction. He simply says, “I have sinned.”

His road to restoration begins. But David’s repentance doesn’t absolve him of the consequences. He will still face punishment. Though God is merciful, he is also just. The two go together. Though God is merciful, he is also just. Ask King David. Click To Tweet

Though the child of his adultery dies, David and Bathsheba later have another son. His name is Solomon and he succeeds David as king.

I wonder how events might have unfolded had Nathan not began his meeting with David by sharing a story.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 10-12, and today’s post is on 2 Samuel 12:1-8, 11-12.]

When God Says Enough

Despite God’s longstanding patience giving us time to shape up, judgement will eventually come

When God Says EnoughThe book of Ezekiel is an interesting one, packed with evocative prophetic imagery that portrays God’s power, patience, and eventual judgement. As follows through much of the Old Testament the people disobey God. He warns them to turn things around and is patient, hoping they will avoid the consequences of their wayward actions. He wishes for the best, and the people let him down.

But Ezekiel is confronted with a peculiar response to his messages of impending punishment. Like the boy who cried “wolf,” the people dismiss Ezekiel’s warnings (actually God’s warnings). They say, “Time passes on but these threats never happen.” They stop taking Ezekiel (and God) seriously, which they never fully did to begin with. They feel quite justified in ignoring the word of God because they think there is no downside for disobedience.

To this God says “enough.” He will withhold their punishment no longer and will fulfill all that he said. There will be no more delays.

I wonder how much we today are like these people of old, viewing God’s warnings as meaningless threats that will never happen. Since our wrong behavior receives no immediate punishment, perhaps we’re not so bad after all. Maybe God doesn’t really mean it when he says our wrong actions are sin.

To this I hear God again saying “Enough.”There are consequences for disobeying God, and our time is up. Click To Tweet

There are consequences for disobeying God, and I fear our time is up.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Ezekiel 10-12, and today’s post is on Ezekiel 12:21-28.]

What is the Cost of Obeying God?

Jeremiah said what God told him to say and suffered for it

What is the Cost of Obeying God?Jeremiah’s time as a spokesman for God is filled with frustration. Not only do the people ignore what he tells them, they sometimes do exactly the opposite. Though Jeremiah speaks God’s truth to his people, they criticize him for his negativity – even though he is merely relaying God’s own words to them. At various times they detain him, leave him to die, and try starving him.

In today’s passage their anger towards Jeremiah, as God’s messenger, erupts into a beating and then imprisonment in a jail made just for him. Jeremiah likely wonders why God isn’t doing more to protect his faithful servant and keep him from harm. Jeremiah may wish he had ignored God’s call for him to become a prophet or at least watered down God’s message in order to not inflame the people.Jeremiah suffered for his obedience to God. Might we suffer the same fate? Click To Tweet

Though we don’t know what Jeremiah was thinking, we do know he obeyed God – and suffered for his obedience. As God’s children, we want to believe he will always protect us when we serve him, but the Bible doesn’t show that to be the case.

Obedience doesn’t always equate to protection. Sometimes it results in persecution.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Jeremiah 35-37, and today’s post is on Jeremiah 37:15.]

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Are You Waiting For Christmas?

For a long time my wife has wanted a giant Christmas card to display in our yard during the holidays. She discussed the project with a local artist friend, but he moved before anything beyond talk ever happened. Then we lost touch. The Christmas card vision languished but never died.

Then we met another artist. She and my wife agreed on a price, and my wife started saving her money. The artist began work on it two and a half years ago, anticipating a Christmas unveiling. But other projects superseded our Christmas card.

The artist delivered it the following summer, just before we moved. The next Christmas – last Christmas – we were between houses so the long-awaited Christmas card remained secluded for another year.

Christmas CardThat brings us to the present. It is advent. We have a house and we have the card, coinciding with Christmas for the first time. At long last my wife’s greeting card is on display, welcoming everyone who drives by. It was a long wait.

It was an even longer wait for the first Christmas. For centuries the prophets foretold of the coming Immanuel, the one who would be “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Year after year, decade after decade, they waited in anticipation for the promised one. Their advent lasted most of a millennia.

Finally he came, but most of the people who yearned for his arrival missed it. They were expecting something else, someone else, not a tiny baby born in a barn to dirt-poor parents. After centuries of waiting for Christmas, it came and went with barely any notice

Before we criticize them too harshly we should pause for a moment of introspection.The trappings of Christmas threaten to overshadow the baby who came to be God with us. Click To Tweet

Today we struggle with the same issue. The trappings of Christmas have ballooned out of proportion, overshadowing the baby who came to be God with us. With the decorations, the parties, the presents, and the family traditions it’s easy to forget the real reason we celebrate. It’s all about Jesus – or at least it should be.

Are you waiting for Christmas? Will Jesus be the center of your celebration?

May your Christmas be a joyous one.

What do you look forward to this time of year? How do you keep Christ in Christmas?

Posts about the Minor Prophets

For the past several months, most of the A Bible A Day posts have been about the minor prophets. Recall that they are called “minor” not because their prophecy is insignificant, but because their books are short!Posts about the Minor Prophets

Though more posts may be added in the future, there are no more planned at this time. See all posts about the Minor Prophets:

Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

Read more about the Minor Prophets on ABibleADay.com.

Amos Protests and God Relents

Amos was a shepherd, called by God to be a prophet.His story is found in the book of Amos in the Bible.Amos Protests and God Relents

Amos says what God tells him, but after a while, the people of Israel—the primary target of his God-given proclamations—get tired of Amos and what he says, telling him to be quiet and go back home.  Interestingly, Peter, the disciple of Jesus, is given a similar warning by the authorities. Both Amos and Peter decline, insisting that they must do what God tells them to do.

At first Amos has no qualms about sharing God’s judgments regarding other nations, but he does eventually object. God shows Amos what will happen and Amos protests—and God relents.  (Similar things happen when both Moses and Abraham plead with God.)

God then gives Amos another stinging word. Amos protests and God again relents.

Then God gives Amos a third oracle. This time Amos says nothing.

I wonder if Amos gave up too soon.  I wonder if we sometimes make the same mistake.

[Amos 1:1, Amos 7:10-15, Acts 4:18-20, Numbers 14:11-20, Genesis 18:16-33, Amos 7:1-9]