Gary: Dave and Tom welcome your doctrinal or theological questions and will try to address them in future broadcasts. Later in this program, we’ll let you know where to send them.
You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Now our next segment Understanding the Scriptures. We continue our exploration of the doctrine of salvation with a discussion concerning Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. Here again with Dave Hunt is Tom McMahon.
Tom: In this segment, as many of our listeners know, we’ve been going over the doctrine of salvation, and particularly we’ve been talking about Jesus, who alone is our Savior. He’s God, and He’s our only Savior.
But, Dave, one of the scriptures I’d like to address today that we can talk about is Luke:4:16-30. Now, I’m not going to read it all, but this is where Jesus, as you know, comes into the synagogue in his hometown. I’ll begin with v. 16: “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.”
Now, Dave, this is a proclamation by Jesus himself that He is the Messiah, God’s anointed one who was sent to save the world from sin.
Dave: Right. “The Lord God is upon me.” That is the statement that this is the Messiah who’s coming. And so Jesus is saying, “I’m the Messiah.” No doubt about it.
Tom: And they got really excited about it, didn’t they? They were well-accepting of Him, and they followed Him….No, that’s not what the Scripture says. “And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’ And He said to them, ‘You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ Then He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.’”
And then He goes on and gives examples of prophets who were rejected, and He makes the point that where there was no faith, Elijah was sent to the region of Sidon to a woman who was a widow. “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’” They got really upset with this, because He was demonstrating that they weren’t going to follow Him. They weren’t going to believe on Him.
Dave: He’s demonstrating that those who claim to be the people of God actually reject the prophets of God, and the blessing of God came to those who were outside of Israel, and that did distress them – disturbed them, angered them.
Tom: Well, to the point that they wanted to kill Him right on the spot.
Dave: They “rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way….” And that was miraculous, but His time was not come, and He was not going to be killed that way. He had to be crucified in fulfillment of the Scriptures.
Tom: But, Dave, one of the reasons I’m bringing this up, we’ve been talking about that Jesus as the Messiah had to fulfill prophecy after prophecy, more than 300 prophecies that God’s Word had given ahead of time as to who the Messiah was going to be. And here He stands up amidst His own in His own city, and they reject Him. Almost kill Him.
Dave: On the one hand, they were ready to believe that He was the Messiah – not in His hometown so much. In John 8 they certainly believed He was the Messiah, but they had a different idea of the Messiah. They believed the Messiah would, as you know we’ve explained at many times, will come on a white horse with a flashing sword leading a big army and rescue them from the Romans. But He came eventually, as He rode into Jerusalem, and that’s amazing that they hailed Him on a donkey! Meek, humble, bringing salvation the Scriptures said is the way He would come. But here, they’re upset because they see that He’s claiming to be the Messiah, but this is the carpenter’s son, so they think. “We know His sisters…” By the way, there were half-sisters and half-brothers. Mary did not continue to be a virgin. You would have to – you couldn’t take that from the Scriptures at all.
But anyway, they knew Him, so they’re rejecting Him. The scripture says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not,” this is John 1, “but as many as received him, to them he gives the authority to become the sons of God.” So I’m going to have to receive Jesus for who He is, and I think another thing that’s indicated here is, you know, He doesn’t appeal to the flesh, and if I try to create some kind of a Jesus that would be popular and everybody would love by nature, that’s not the Jesus of the Bible. Not that He was an unlikeable person, not that He was someone that you would naturally hate. He is the perfect man; He is the second man, the last Adam. He is the perfection of what God intended man to be. But He shows up our imperfection, and there’s a resentment against Him. He is so pure, He is so holy, He is so loving, He’s so kind, He’s so compassionate, that it angers the rest of us because it shows us for what we really are. And I don’t think He was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in the graduating class there in Nazareth, His high school, if they had such a thing. Of course they probably didn’t. But somehow, Jesus – He’s different from what we are, and if I’m going to follow Him, He’s going to change me.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3, he says, “We all with unveiled face,” because Moses came down and he had to put a veil on so that they – you know, I don’t know what was radiating from him, such a brightness from being in the presence of God – but now that veil has been removed, and now we can look upon Jesus. “We behold as in a glass…” we don’t see Him face to face, “just as when we see him face to face, we will be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” So now we look through – we see through a glass darkly, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13. But it says, “We all with unveiled face, with open faces, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed, we’re being transformed into His likeness, into His image. That’s the difference for the Christian who has come to receive Christ, whereas these people, they wanted Him in their image. They wanted the Messiah as they wanted him to be, and that’s why they rejected Jesus as He really is.
Tom: Yeah. Dave, as we mentioned earlier in the earlier part of our program, this is an idea of altering Jesus, of changing Jesus into not only our image, but so that He conforms to the desire of our heart.
Tom: So we really don’t want – when I say “we,” the general populous, and as we’re seeing more in these days, we keep redefining Jesus according to our own bias, our own interest.
You’ve mentioned in programs past that even John the Baptist, you know, he sent his disciples when he was in prison to ask Jesus, the individual, the person – I mean, his relative, basically, who he called “the Lamb of God” – he said, “Are you the one to come or should we be looking for someone else?” I mean, the idea of the Messiah – it’s really hard to separate our flesh and what we want with what the Scriptures actually teach, which is what we have to do.
Dave: They couldn’t believe that He would come as the Lamb of God to die for the sins of the world. With all the power that Jesus had and had demonstrated – to walk on water, to raise the dead – and here comes this mob, and Judas giving Him this ungodly kiss, and suddenly, Jesus seems to be weak, helpless! They bind His hands behind His back, they lead Him away – that shocked the disciples. It disillusioned them. He couldn’t possibly be the Messiah! This was not the Messiah they were looking for.
He died in our place. We had no answer to make – “Like a lamb before the slaughter he was led” because He took our place. But they didn’t believe this, they didn’t understand it, and today, it’s very difficult. So, Tom, you know, getting back to what we were talking about, if I can just get some great athlete or some beautiful actress or some muscleman or something – and again, Tom, I’m not trying to put these people down – then somehow that becomes the kind of Christianity that we embrace. You can be a Christian and hold up your head with pride, you can have self-esteem, and you can be looked up to by the world, and you can be admired by ungodly people and so forth…I think what we’re seeing here in Nazareth is that’s not the case. The real Jesus is not going to be admired by the world. He’s not even going to be admired by His own hometown people who knew Him. But there’s another perspective that I have to have that is only revealed to me by the Holy Spirit, and it reveals my sin, my guilt, my unworthiness. He didn’t die for me because I’m so wonderful, He died for sinners. And when I take that place and I see Him as He really is, He is so totally beyond me, and He does convict me, and I realize that I am unworthy of God’s mercy at all, and it generates within me a gratitude that I would never have, that He would stoop so low to lift me out of sin, and to, in fact, become the sacrifice for my sins. And somehow, this is not the Jesus that people want. They want a successful, powerful Jesus that we can all look up to. That’s not the Jesus of the Bible, and again, “Well, okay, so we’re trying to present something that isn’t going to be appealing to people….” No, it will be appealing to people who are His sheep. “My sheep hear my voice. I know them. They follow me.” So if I really want to be lifted out of myself and out of my sin to be what God wants me to be, then I’m going to begin to see Jesus as He really is.