“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! you refuse to come to me to receive this life.”
Prophets of God do two things. First, they speak for God. This is where God uses people to give his message.
Second, prophets speak forth. They predict the future.
How do you know if a prophet is speaking for God?
“But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord?’ If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared.”
According to Dr. Hugh Ross, astrophysicist and strong biblical scholar, there are 2500 speaking-forth predictions in the Old Testament. Out of these 2500, 2000 out of 2000 have been perfectly fulfilled. 500 are left reaching out to the future and will be fulfilled by the end time.
There are over 300 prophecies concerning Jesus alone.
Two examples. One well known, one not as well known, but amazing.
First, the prophet Micah.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,
whose origins are in the distant past,
will come from you on my behalf.
This was 700 years before the time of Jesus.
Dr. Ross predicts the odds of this happening by chance are 1 in 100,000
Second, the prophet Daniel. Around 500 BC, the prophet Daniel said the Messiah would begin his public ministry 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25)
Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Messiah—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times.
The decree to rebuild Jerusalem is issued by Persian King Artaxerxes in 458 BC. This is 483 years before Jesus started his Galilee ministry!
Then Daniel predicts the Messiah will be killed, and this event would take place prior to a second destruction of Jerusalem.
“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple.”
Jesus is crucified about 40 years prior to the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem.
Dr. Ross predicts the chance of these prophecies happening by chance as
1 in 100,000, again.
So for MIcah’s and Daniels’s prophesies alone to both be fulfilled? 1 in 1,000,0000,000. 1 in a billion. Well, that’s a lot but not impossible. Correct, but then you keep multiplying the other 290 some prophecies that have come true concerning Jesus alone and there is a better chance of you not really existing at all, than Jesus didn’t exist and fulfill God’s destiny.
So, the countdown on the Judaean leaders to believe has already begun. You see some of the prophesies like the Messiah’s birthplace have already taken place. Couple that with the miracles they have already witnessed and there is no excuse for their disbelief. Face it. They just don’t want to follow Jesus.
Read Isaiah 53 and think of how many times it points to Jesus.
“Your approval means nothing to me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.”
The scientific method was developed by Christianity. An important part of this is to examine the evidence. This is why there is no such thing as “blind faith” when it comes to Christianity. Faith = Trust based on evidence.
According to brain research, our identity is developed in our supra-conscious thought. Thought that travels faster than we can consciously think. This is why it is important for us develop the habit of using logical reason in gaining confidence in our trust in Jesus. We have to burn into our brains how much God actually adores us and how trust in Jesus is astoundingly brilliant. In this way we combat the easy skepticism that is so attractive in today’s society.
To be considered intelligent today when it comes to religion, all you have to do is doubt. Question whether there is a god or whether Jesus really existed and you will be considered brilliant in many academic circles.
Most Christians don’t want to be isolated by academia and they don’t want to be considered foolish at best or bigoted at worst, and so they go along with the skeptics.
I don’t go along with the skeptics. But, because of what I know about human receptivity, I don’t debate skeptics either. If they are ever ready, the Holy Spirit will appear and this won’t happen because I beat them in a debate. At the same time, Jesus didn’t have a problem telling those who are skeptical that they are foolish.
“Your approval means nothing to me.”
I want to think the same way as Jesus. I think Jesus is the most brilliant man who ever lived, let alone being God himself, so when someone is skeptical of the evidence I present for Jesus, I don’t debate. I wait and move on to someone who is receptive.
You see, God works for the good of all people. This is a good definition of love- to work for the good of another in as much as you are capable. God is always capable and so God is pure love.
God makes himself visible to everyone who actually wants to see him in their life. If they don’t have God’s love it is because, on purpose, they don’t want God in their lives. This is why I never consider someone brilliant who does not follow Jesus. They may be “book smart” but they missed the actual core and essence of wisdom itself. Jesus. Not too bright.
The latest research shows 8% of national journalists are active in any house of worship, compared to 39% of the general public.
For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them.
We have seen in the Bible that when you come in someone’s name, you come in their authority and power. Especially when it comes to God.
The Messiah will come and represent God for the people. When Jesus comes, he says he is the Messiah. John the Baptist declares this. Others follow Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus comes with the authority and power of God. But, people like the Judaean leaders in John chapter 5, reject Jesus. Even though he comes in the name of God, and has already shown the authority and power of God, they want someone else.
The Judaean leaders are waiting for someone to come in their own name to do things they want done. This is always the way it is for so-called Messiahs. If you are the Messiah, do what we want. What the Judaean’s wanted was military conquest of Rome.
So, after the time of Jesus, after the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem, there arose a leader whom some called the Messiah, Simon bar Kokhba. He would do what Jesus didn’t. Defeat the Romans and establish the Jewish kingdom in Jerusalem again. This worked! For three years. From 132-135 the Jewish people revolted under Bar Kokhba, and then everyone was slaughtered.
But the true Messiah has already come. In the name of Jesus, God continues to reign. But unlike the Romans, God doesn’t choose to destroy those who don’t follow him. He allows people to reject him. And so people do. So, many other things become God for those who don’t follow Jesus. When we put our hopes and dreams in anyone or anything less than God, we have created a false idol.
Who are the false idols of today? Why?
No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.
Here is one answer Jesus already predicted. People are looking for the answers by choosing things and people less than God and giving them godlike qualities.
We see this all the time. Just tack on the suffix -phobia and then you will gain the advantage over people who disagree with you. It works like magic.
Homophobia, Islamophobia, Xenophobia, and voila, by attacking you I don’t have to listen to you any more because I have isolated you into a negative category of my choosing. And the more I use attack rather than logic and reason to support my viewpoint, the weaker my viewpoint.
Notice how Jesus works. He isn’t naive. He knows those who oppose him will find plenty of ways to honor each other as skeptics and attackers. The more people oppose Jesus, or ignore him, the more unlikely it is that they will be able to believe in him.
As human beings, we become the sum of our choices. If people don’t want God in their lives they can become people who can’t want God in their lives.
This is choosing on purpose to be separated from God, which, of course, is a good definition of “hell.”
There is a limit to what we can choose. Unlike God, we do not have an infinite will. If you love Jesus and you want him in your life, he will be there. If you don’t love Jesus and you don’t want him in your life, he will honor that, as well.
“Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
If we choose to ignore Jesus, we are condemning ourselves. Jesus is declaring he is not the one who will judge us before God. We will judge ourselves and the conviction will come from the very scriptures we choose to ignore.
This is a real problem for the Judaeans. They took pride in their biblical scholarship. But, then, Jesus says, how can you be so blind to the places in the bible that talk about me?”
In the case of Moses’ writing, there are many key passages that point to Jesus. Deuteronomy 18:15-19 is probably the most direct.
Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you yourselves requested of the Lord your God when you were assembled at Mount Sinai. You said, ‘Don’t let us hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore or see this blazing fire, for we will die.’
“Then the Lord said to me, ‘What they have said is right. I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf.
Jesus is declaring this. If you claim you are seeking the truth and you have the truth right in front of you, then when you reject the truth you reject the one who brings it. And by rejecting Jesus, the people are rejecting God himself.
Things are no different today. This is why God puts us here in the middle of the Valley in 2017. We are a beacon of hope to all the people around us as we go to them and share the love and joy of Jesus. This is why we invite others to come and learn all that Jesus has taught us, and to come and try out the Christian life. Test it for yourself.
Jesus makes it possible for us to live in freedom from all that would oppress us. To live in hope in the midst of all that makes us anxious. Jesus makes it possible for us to be glad to be alive and glad to be with him and glad to be with each other, no matter what is happening at anytime or any place.
We can’t get real life from anywhere else. It’s all there right in front of us.
Which of your family members or friends is looking for a significant change in their life right now?