Sunday, January 09, 2011


Today's message was about the predicting the messiah:

Isaiah 42:1-9
The Servant of the LORD
1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
5 This is what God the LORD says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
8 “I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”

Acts 10:34-43
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Matthew 3:13-17
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

- Survived the floods?
- Safe in Bargara
- Mum & Dad not being able to get back to the farm
- Wallaville cut. Splitters creek over.
- No Mackay trip
- Dam releasing water.
- Why? It's causing minor flooding already, why add to that?
- Prediction. There's more on the way.
- Watching the flood levels on the BoM site.
- pattern repeating itself down the river. Amount going over the dam was the same as the amount going over the weir, then the amount going under the bridge.
- There was more coming. Worse without releasing the water early?
- Weather prediction getting better?
- 9.4 metres predicted at Rockhampton
- Predicted same type of weather up to May?

What about predicting events 500 years in advance, or 1000 years or 2000 years?

Predicting the Messiah
In today's Old testament reading, Isiah lays down a glimpse of what is to come. Over 500 years before Jesus is baptised, God, through Isiah, speaks these words:
Isiah 42:1
1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.
Then in Matthew we read the baptism of Jesus:
Matthew 3:16
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
500 years. That's a big prediction. And it doesn't stop there. Matthew, of all the Gospels, points to the fulfillment of prophecy through the life of Jesus.
The book of Matthew starts by listing the Geneology of Jesus. An interesting tactic, but probably not a best seller:
Matthew 1:1
Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah, ...
Lots of begotting. Lots of names. The reason Matthew starts this way is also to do with prophecy. The messiah had been promised to Abraham in (Genesis 3:15), then through the line of Isaac instead of Esau (Gen 22:18), then to Jacob, Isaac's son (Numbers 24:17), Then through Judah from the 12 other sons of Jacob (Gen 49:10), all the way through to Jesse, father of David (Isiah 11:1), then to King David's line (Jeremiah 23:5). The israelites were waiting for a descendant of David to be the messiah.

Matthew continues with events surround Jesus' birth, with Mary falling pregnant as a virgin, and Joseph, a descendant of David, told to accept her as a wife and name the child Jesus by an angel. All this for another one of Isiah's prophesies. Matthew writes:
Matthew 1:22-23
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).
Next, men from the east appear proclaiming the stars have foretold a King of the Jews has just been born. More predictions, but this time ancient astrology pointing toward a momentous event.

Herod checks into it and finds that Bethlehem (King David's birthplace) is predicted by Micah (Micah 5:2) to be the birthplace of the messiah. He sends the Magi on their way to worship the new king, but then lays plans on wiping out all the kids under 2 for fear that the new king might take away his throne. A rather selfish thing to do, but it, too, fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah:
Matthew 2:17-18
Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
Mary and Joseph had been warned by an angel, and had fled to Egypt to escape the slaughter. Once herod had died they returned home back to Nazereth, which fulfilled another prophecy of Hosea:
Matthew 2:15
And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
So how many are we up to? 12? Is that enough? Not for Matthew. Even before we hear of Jesus approaching to be baptised we hear of John the Baptist's life in the desert, telling people to repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. This, too, fulfills Isiah:
Matthew 3:3
This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
You can almost hear Matthew pleading with our rational senses, and our faith in the Old Testament. How could all these things come to pass and you not acknowledge the messiah before you? And Jesus has only begun his ministry here on earth!

Apparently there are over 60 prophecies fulfilled by Jesus himself, and over 270 other phophesies and ramifications that came to pass during his time. That's a LOT of coincidences.

How much coincidence? 8 of the more notable prophesies of the messiah were examined mathematically in the 1950's. Nothing extravagent like being born of a virgin, but things like being born in Bethlehem, betrayed by a friend, for 30 pieces of silver, that they bought a field with. Things that could potentially happen to anyone.

Through conservative probability estimates they deduced the chance that this could happen to anyone that has EVER lived is 1 in 100 million, billion. Sounds big? Unimaginably big. Here's an example of how big that might be:

Imagine trying to pick the same book as me, from any book ever written, then turning to the same page, then finding the same letter on the page. 1 letter out of all the books ever written.
That's impossible? Sounds impossible. And that's 8 of the more definable prophesies out of the 60. No wonder Matthew directed us to the fulfillment of prophecy.

Jesus, too, discussed the prophesies throughout his ministry. Pointing to them as he fulfilled each one. Sometimes the disciples or the crowds gathered understood, but most times they did not. As Jesus approached Jerusalem for the last time, he became more insisent that the main prophecy was about to occur, that the "son of man was to die". He told them over and over again, but still they ran when the time came.

Alone, Jesus hung on the cross. The prophesies of Isiah from 500 years before ringing true:
Isaiah 53:3-9
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Jesus, broken and battered. Hanging there. The first part of the prophecy coming to pass. The reason for all that suffering and hurt is also made clear in Isaiah as we read on:
Isaiah 53
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

After he has suffered, he will see the light of life.
For he bore the sins of many and made intercession for the sinners.

This is the story we all know, predicted 500 years before it happened. THAT's amazing. That's the work of an all powerful, all-knowing God. Through the prophets God revealed his way of bringing us back to the fold. To send his one and only son to take the blame for our sin and its punishment. Death. Then to rise again triumphantly.

Jesus, after living with the disciples and opening their eyes to the prophesies, lays out a final promise for them, and for us as christians as he ascends:
Matthew 28:18
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
A promise to us. I am with you always. Through rain and floods. Always.