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Bible Search
Acts #44 (chapter 13:23-27)
The Book of Acts
Paul Preaches Jesus, Part 2
Acts 13:23-37
 
We are in chapter 13 of the book of Acts where the Holy Spirit, working in collaboration with the church in Antioch of Syria, has sent out missionaries, namely Paul and Barnabas, to go preach.  They make their way to another town called Antioch, this one located in Pisidia in Asia Minor, which would be near modern-day Turkey.
 
They go to the local Jewish synagogue on the Sabbath and are given an opportunity to offer a word from the Lord.  And Paul stands up and begins to preach a message that focuses on Jesus Christ.  But he doesn't start with Jesus. 
 
Instead, as we saw last week, he starts with the rich heritage he shares with those in attendance as Jews.  And he just begins to march them along through Jewish history and how God has provided and led and protected and cared for them. And when he gets to King David, he reminds them of the promise of a Messiah, and then makes the announcement in verse 23 that Jesus Christ is that Messiah.  He is the One God raised from the dead.
 
Now last week, we worked under the topic of Jesus being the fulfillment of history.  Now obviously that doesn't mean history is over because time is still moving.  But it does mean that all of history, whether it is history past of history future, comes to a climax in Jesus.
 
 
Christ is the apex of history. From a Jewish perspective everything moved forward to Jesus as the crowning event of history. We look back to Christ as the crowning event of history, even as we look forward to his coming again. 
 
And what we'll see tonight is He didn't fulfill everything the first time. He fulfilled everything that pointed to his first coming, but he has to come again because there is some prophecy left unfulfilled. 
 
And that is Paul's second point.  Not only is Jesus the fulfillment of history, He is also
 
2.  The Fulfillment of Prophecy
 
I would guess there were those who were listening to Paul that day thinking, "How could Jesus be the Messiah?  After all the promise of God included a kingdom and even if Jesus did resurrect, He didn't establish a kingdom on earth.
 
And Paul anticipating that question answers it in his second point and says, He is the Messiah because of the fulfillment of prophecy.
 
And his argument will be if, in the Old Testament, God says such and such will happen, such and such will happen, such and such will happen, and Jesus comes along, and it all happens to Him, He is the fulfillment of God's prophecy. 
 
And to make his point, in verses 23-37, he just outlines a few of those specific prophecies regarding Jesus of Nazareth that qualify Him as Messiah.
 
 
And we'll have time to just touch on them and not spend a lot of time, but let's begin in
 
verse 23
 
Notice the word "promise" Let's begin in 23. "Of this man's seed...of David's seed... hath God, according to His promise, raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus." Notice the word promise.  God said, "I will raise up a Savior according to the seed of David."  SO does God keep His promises?  Obviously He does.  Paul had just reminded them that God was a promise-keeping God throughout their history.
 
Several times in the Old Testament we can either read that statement, "God keeps His promises" or see examples of how He did that.  And in JEremiah 33 was where the specific promise was given regarding a Messiah Who would come through David's seed.
 
So this is the basis off of which Paul chooses to operate.  God is a promise-keeping God.  He's proved it in the past and He made a specific promise regarding the Messiah being a descendent of David.
 
So how was that promise fulfilled in Jesus? 
 
The first prophecy that Paul deals with was that there would be
 
- a forerunner to Messiah
 
When it was time for Messiah to come, somebody was come before Him to prepare the way.
 
verse 24
So Paul identifies this forerunner as John the Baptist, literally, "the Baptizer".  
 
And notice the opening phrase of
 
verse 25a
 
"When John was finishing his course".  Older translations use the word "fulfilled".  John fulfilled his course.  That is an important word because it indicates there was a prophecy fulfilled. You see it in verse 29 and again in verse 33 and it's what should be used in verse 25. 
 
Prophecy was fulfilled through this forerunner named John and he says John was out there preaching before "His, capital H, coming.  In other words, John was preaching the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel before Messiah showed up.  He was preparing the way.
 
He was preaching repentance, a message that encouraged the Jews to get ready because Messiah was near., Messiah is coming.  Turn from your sin and prepare your heart to receive the Messiah."
 
And in direct fulfillment of prophecy, John the Baptist was preparing a people so that when Messiah came, their hearts would be ready to receive Messiah.
 
verse 25
 
John knew what he was doing!  He fulfilled his course and he did it in such a humble way as we see in Paul's words.  John understood Who Messiah was and he knew it wasn't him! 
In fact, when Jesus finally came, John was the very first one to publicly announce Who Messiah was.
 
He fulfilled his course,  and Paul says in his sermon, "There was a messenger named John who fulfilled prophecy regarding the Messiah."
 
verse 26
 
He makes two distinctions. The children of the stock of Abraham would be Jews, and the whosoever fear God would be Gentile converts. And what he says is the salvation that comes through Jesus as announced by John is for us.
 
In fact, just to look forward a little bit, you can see Paul's outline for his sermon beginning to emerge.  In verse 23 he announces that "Jesus is the Savior."  Then here in verse 26 he says, "His salvation is for us." And the final point is in verse 39 where he says, , "And by Him all that believe are justified."
 
There's his three key points that come through the text. One, Jesus is the Savior. Two, He saves us. Three, He saves us by by faith, by believing. And so he says, "This Savior is sent unto us...Jesus is the promised Messiah, and He's promised to us. Don't miss Him," he says.
 
Now, at this point, we can see that Paul has a logical mind. Everything he writes is that way, and I know at this point, he's anticipating two questions would come to the mind of a Jew. 
 
First,  "If Jesus is, as you say, the Messiah, then why didn't our leaders recognize Him?"
Which is a good question!  Why didn't these men who were Old Testament scholars and students of God, why in the world would they kill the Messiah we've been waiting for for centuries?
 
And question #2, if, in fact, Jesus was the Messiah and our leaders killed Him, does that wipe out God's plan?
 
Now those are very important questions and Paul proceeds to answer them by giving prophetic reasons.
 
verse 27
 
Why did the Jewish leaders kill Jesus? They did not know Who He was.  And the reason they didn't know Who He was is because they did not know what the Prophets said. 
 
Do you know what Jews did every Sabbath day? They read the Prophets.  In fact, right here int he text in verse 15 we see their order of worship.
 
verse 15
 
That's what happened in every synagogue in every community on every Sabbath.  They said the Shema, and then they read the Law and the prophets.  But they didn't have a clue what the prophets were talking about. 
 
And before we get too critical just remember there are a lot of people in church today who continually read the Scripture and absolutely have no concept of what God is saying.
There are a lot of Baptists who've been going to church for years who don't know the Word of God.
. But Israel had read the Old Testament continuously, and the prophecies over and over; and they knew the qualities and the characteristics of their prophecy.
 
And I can understand not knowing some lesser doctrine or missing the truth of something controversial or vague.  But the doctrine of the Messiah was the most critical and vital truth they studied.  In fact, Jesus encouraged them to search the Scripture because they were all about Him!
 
But that brings up an interesting point. If you're ignorant of the written Word, you will inevitably be ignorant of the living Word, and they were. They read it without understanding.
 
So that answers the first question. How could our leaders miss Him? They've missed Him because they didn't even understand what they were reading.
 
Second question was, "If they killed Him, did that wipe out God's plan?"
 
verse 27b
 
What he's telling them is, "God knew what they'd do!"  God knew every detail of every single thing they'd do. All of the rejection of Christ and the condemnation of Christ was put in the plan from the very beginning.
 
In Isaiah 53:3, He was despised and rejected, right? God knew that...every detail was prescribed.
God knew from the very beginning that He would be fully rejected, that He would be executed. In John chapter 7 verse 5, says this, "For neither did His brothers believe in Him."...Verse 48, when they were arguing about whether Jesus was Messiah, it says this, "Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on Him?"...They fulfilled prophecy. God said they'll reject Him, and they did.
 
He was hated, incidentally, without a cause. Look at
 
verse 28
 
Isn't that amazing? They had absolutely no reason to kill Him, but they killed Him anyway.
 
Psalm 69 verse 4 says prophetically of Jesus, "Those who hate Me without a cause are more than the hairs of My head." There was no legitimate accusation that could hold up, and Pilate said that repeatedly, yet they killed Him anyway.
 
So did the murder by the Jewish leaders wipe out God's plan?  No, that fulfilled His plan. It's a pretty overwhelming argument. Jesus fulfills every prophecy.
 
in fact, notice what Paul says in
 
verse 29
 
Jesus was no victim!  He fulfilled every prophecy given regarding His life and death on the cross.  believe me. And when everything that had been written about Him concerning Him, they took Him off the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
.
By the way, that fulfilled prophecy also. The Bible says in Isaiah 53:9 that "His grave was assigned to be with wicked men." They used to throw criminals in the same big place where they buried criminals. It was assigned to be there, "but with a rich man in His death." Jesus didn't wind up where the criminals were buried. He wound up in the tomb of a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea in exact fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah 53:9.
 
Jesus fulfills it all, and that brings us to the great climax of this area of his sermon. Look at
 
verse 30
 
As we've already seen before in the preaching of Peter, now Paul raises this great theme of Scritpure that declares that man killed Jesus, but God raised Him up! Peter used that phrase three times in three different sermons and now her is Paul saying the same thing!  They must have traded sermon notes.
 
God raised Him. In fact, the great proof that Jesus is Messiah, the crowning proof is His resurrection. Why? Because all of the promises God made would be unfulfilled if Jesus was dead. But when He raised Him, He made possible the fulfillment.
 
Paul would later write to the Romans 1:4, "He is declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead."
 
God gave His approval by raising Him from the grave. And then he gives evidence in
 
verse 31
Over 500 witnesses, according to 1 Corinthians 15, saw Jesus; and it couldn't have been a hoax for 500 people. So God raised Him, and they saw, and there are witnesses to prove it.
 
And then,
 
verse 32
 
I guess it is!  The promise God made has been fulfilled!  And what was the promise? Paul gives them three.
 
First promise, verse 33
 
Do you know that God predicted that He would beget His Son? That has to do, not only with His incarnation to begin with, but has to do with His resurrection.
 
God prophesied through David a resurrection. God said, "I'm gonna have a Messiah...a living Messiah, begotten...in incarnation and in resurrection." That's fulfilled when Jesus rose.
 
Then he goes to a second promise.
 
verse 34
 
What does He mean?  Well, He made all these promises in David, but if you’ve got a dead Messiah, what happens to the promises? They are of no use.  So he says, "I raised Him so that I could grant the promises to you through Him."...
 
 
In other words, David and his posterity could never have been fulfilled if the Messiah stayed in the grave. A dead Messiah fulfills nothing.But  He says, "I've got sure mercies. I've got blessings for David, and I raised Him to make them possible. I will give you the sure mercies of David."
 
And notice, He says, "I will give you." There is no condition.  He doesn't say, "If the Messiah can stay alive, I'll give you the mercies." "I will give you the mercies." That's why He had to raise Him from the dead, so that the mercies and the blessings could come through Him.
 
Then the last and great one is f
 
verse 35
 
That is from Psalm 16:8-10 where God promised that Jesus would rise from the dead. A lot of people will try to convince you that is talking about David, but if they d that, show them
 
verses 36-37
 
Wherever they buried David, his body never came out and it now corrupted beyond imagination.  In fact, no Jew ever believed in the resurrection of David.
 
But Jesus saw no corruption.  And you can trust that He is the Messiah because in direct fulfillment of prophecy, and even in His execution, when it looked like everything was going wrong, there was a fulfillment of prophecy after prophecy after prophecy, and ultimately even when He died, God raised Him from the dead.
Jesus is the Messiah. He is not only the culmination of history, He is the fulfillment of prophecy. I close with this statement.
 
We can only judge the future by the past, people; and in the past, God always kept every promise, didn't He? Fulfilled is the key word all through there. You wanna hear something? God has appointed a future day of judgment. The Bible says, 'That for every man who rejects Jesus Christ, there will be the judgment of eternal hell." Has God kept His promises in the past? Yes. Will He keep them in the future? Yes. God's predictions come true, for one who rejects Jesus Christ...it is a fearful thing to fall under the hands of the living God.
 
Let's pray.
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