Wineskins Archive

December 18, 2013

Jesus Fulfills the Jewish Bible – Part 1 (Sept-Dec 2010)

Filed under: — @ 9:14 am and

By Edward Fudge

It is not as though the Jews were waiting, Bibles in hand (underlined and highlighted) for a long list of specific messianic predictions to be fulfilled. Had that been so, any would-be Messiah could simply copy the agenda, contrive the fulfillments, and claim the position for himself. Indeed, certain sensationalist authors have accused Jesus Christ of doing that very thing.

As Christians, we believe that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the Jewish prophets, but New Testament writers speak of “fulfillment” in a greater-than-simplistic way. The better way to say it is that the events that together comprise the story of Jesus “fill” the Old Testament “full” of meaning. But that is known by faith, and faith is better understood in retrospect.

God’s way of fulfilling tends to frustrate prophetic program-planners, whether in the first century or in the twenty-first. On the one hand, some of the most popular expectations did not materialize at all. Messiah did not thunder in on a white horse and chase out the Romans. The nations did not send representatives to Jerusalem as a world capital. The Pharisees did not inherit the earth.

On the other hand, what did occur took everyone by surprise. There is no evidence that anyone read Isaiah 7:14 and understood that the Messiah would be conceived by a virgin. To Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, Jesus’ death on a cross proved that he was NOT the Messiah. Not even Jesus’ closest and most perceptive disciples understood (much less “expected”) a bodily resurrection back from among the dead. Even today, most professing believers in Jesus are clueless about the pause in the end of the world–although that vision permeates and shapes the whole New Testament.


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