Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Big Things, Small Packages

The Bible is replete with epic stories that show the power, purpose, and majesty of God. Stories like ‘Jonah and the Whale’, ‘Noah’s Ark’, ‘The Ten Commandments’, and ‘Sampson and Delilah’. Sometimes these stories take whole chapters or even whole books of the Bible, like the story of Job.

Additionally, though, there are places where true treasures are obvious (and not so obvious) in one or two verses.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”


Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Then there are some not so obvious treasures. Consider Acts 17:10-12. These three verses show us a great treasure. Verse 10 simply tells us where Paul and Silas where, a town called Berea (it is the only place in the Bible it is mentioned - Acts 20 mentions by name a missionary from Berea). Verse 11 says, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

First, who is ‘they’? They were the Jewish religious (and some Greeks). We know from verse 12 that study of the Scriptures led many to become Christians, “Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.”

Acts 17:11 is memorized and posted on the sidebar of this blog.

What a shock it was to realize one simple thing. The New Testament did not exist yet. Jewish religious leaders would not read it, even if it had. They certainly would not have been searching the New Testament to determine whether Jesus of Nazareth was THEIR Messiah! They went to ‘their’ Bible - the Old Testament.

Having read the account of the meeting on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32, Mark 16:12 & 13). The subject has always been “Christ appeared to them in the Flesh”. Repeatedly have missed verse 27, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Again, the Scriptures here relates to the Old Testament.

That one not so obvious treasure is simply that the primary purpose of the Old Testament is not to provide us with a history lesson of the Jews. The primary purpose is to ‘prove’ that Jesus of Nazareth was who He said He was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the means of Salvation. There are 109 specific Messianic prophecies in The Old Testament, a document that spans 5000+ years of history and whose manuscripts predate Christ by hundreds of years. There are prophecies as specific as the place and manner of His birth to manner of His death. The odds of all those prophecies fulfilled in one person are astronomical. (The estimate is that the number is somewhere approximately 10 to 157th power. To get an idea of how big that number is; 10 to the 100th power is the largest number we have a name for - a googol.)

How fitting it is that this is the Easter Season. How fitting it is that one of the first, best introductions of harmonizing the Old Testament and the New Testament into a cohesive whole is “The Sufferings and the Glory”. This is an account of the betrayal, arrest and crucifixion of Christ as recorded in the New Testament and prophesied in the Old, as well as the intimate thoughts of Christ as recorded in the Old Testament hundreds of years before He became flesh and died for our sins.

Jesus was made flesh, lived and died and was resurrected for one purpose. The Bible has one primary purpose. John 20:31, “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

I encourage you to read the “Sufferings and the Glory”, whether you are Christian or not, it is one of the best ‘books’ I’ve ever read and always wrenches my heart.

An odd note I knew but it never sank in before today: Loren Bishop at Pulpit of the Last Days compiled the accounts in “The Sufferings and the Glory”. He sometimes uses the blogger name ‘Cleopas’. Of the two men on the road to Emmaus to whom Christ revealed Himself in The Old Testament, one’s name was Cleopas.


Blogger Cleopas said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your kind words about the Sufferings and the Glory, I hope it will be a tool to show many people the heart of the Lord in His great love and sufferings for us all, this Easter season. I really wish there was a way for this work to get out there and grow, and reach more people. May the Lord's timing on this be soon.

Pretty soon I'll have to send you an email telling you everything that has been going on here. It's pretty amazing but it's bigger than just me, and I'm not yet at liberty to speak about it. It has been very time consuming as well, so I apologize that we haven't connected in a while.

I hope everything at your new house is going well, and that everything else is working out for you in your new circumstances. Nacy says 'Hi' and she says she hopes you are feeling better.

Your brother in Christ,

8:22 AM  

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