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Readings

Reading: Matthew 26:53-56

Supplementary Reading: Luke 24:36-53

Devotional

It has been suggested that Jesus, in his life, death and resurrection, fulfilled at least 324 individual prophecies given by the Old Testament pointing to ‘The Messiah’. The writers of the first four books of the New Testament, which we often call the ‘gospels’, meaning good news, share their own unique perspectives on the life of Jesus. Matthew, himself a Jew, at the time wrote with a Palestinian Jewish audience in mind, much more so than Mark, Luke or John.

Matthew wanted to help his fellow countrymen to know beyond a doubt that Jesus was indeed the fulfilment of the long-awaited and often prophesied Messiah. That is why Matthew begins his account of the life of Jesus with a detailed genealogy of Jesus. Straight out of the gate he is saying to his readers, make no mistake about Jesus being the legal descendant of David through the royal line.

One of the keywords Matthew returns to time and time again is ‘fulfilled’ pressing home the thought that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament promises and vitally, God’s redemptive plan for Israel and the world. Here are just 10 references he makes in regards to Jesus fulfilling Messianic prophecies

  1. Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2; fulfilled in Matt. 2:1-7)
  2. Messiah is to be born of a virgin. (Isa 7:14; fulfilled in Matt 1:18-2:1)
  3. Messiah is to be preceded by a Messenger. (Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1; fulfilled in Matt 3:1-3; 11:10)
  4. Messiah is to enter Jerusalem on a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9; fulfilled in Matt 21:6-11)
  5. Messiah is to be betrayed by a friend. (Psalms 41:9; 55:12-14; fulfilled in Matt 10:4; 26:49-50)
  6. Messiah is to be sold for 30 pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:12; fulfilled in Matt 26:15; 27:3)
  7. Messiah is to be silent before His accusers. (Isa 53:7; fulfilled in Matt 27:12)
  8. Messiah betrayal money is to be thrown “to the potter”. (Zec 11:13; fulfilled in Matt 27:5-7)
  9. Messiah is to be given vinegar to quench His thirst. (Psalm 69:21; fulfilled in Matt 27:34)
  10. Messiah is to be raised from the dead. (Isa 53:9-10; Psalm 2:7; 16:10; fulfilled in Matt 28:1-20)

Dr Luke records a moment when the resurrected Jesus had a meal with his disciples. Once finished he said; ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ (Luke 24:44) Luke then notes, He opened their minds to understand the Old Testament scriptures saying ‘it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’ (Luke 24:46-47)

At this tense moment in Gethsemane, surrounded by an armed mob sent to arrest him, he was faced with a choice. He could appeal to his Father for rescue, and within a nanosecond, twelve legions of angels would arrive to protect him or he could submit to God’s plan. With the words ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done!’ still ringing in his ears, Jesus chose to fulfil scripture.

Commenting on this passage Pastor John Piper says:

‘It is one thing to say that the details of Jesus’s death were predicted in the Old Testament. But it is much more to say that Jesus himself was making his choices precisely to see to it that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.’

Prayer

I thank you, Lord Jesus, that You didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfil it on our behalf. When you cried ‘It is finished’ on the cross, you had fulfilled every prophecy and lived in complete obedience to the will of the Father. Through your choice to obey in life and death, you became the perfect sacrifice for my sin. Today I praise you for so great a salvation, your righteousness gifted to me and allowing me to experience what you have always had, God’s favour! Amen.

Based on today's reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?

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