Today is the first Sunday in December and we all are beginning to think about Christmas. Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the world, celebrating the birth of Christ. The date of December 25 was set in the 4th century. It was set at exactly nine months after the traditional date for the conception of Jesus, March 25. The celebration of Christmas is not commanded or even mentioned in the Bible. Yet, the Christmas holiday is here to stay. Rather than ignoring it, God would have us redeem the holiday for Him.
As Christians, we should help others reflect on the miracle of Jesus being born. Not just another baby, but God incarnate, fully human and fully divine. Jesus came to be born on this earth on a mission from God. A mission that led to our salvation and the possibility of eternal life for the entire world.
Today, we begin our Christmas message series, which I’ve entitled, Jesus the Messiah. So, let’s begin by talking about what the Messiah means. When you read the Old Testament prophets, you will see that they are looking toward to a coming Savior. A coming King who will bring the exiles back to the promised land. This Savior King is referred to as the Anointed One, which is what the word Messiah stands for. This Messiah would bring the Kingdom of God to this earth. He would bring justice and righteousness, along with judgment on all of God’s enemies.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
We see from the prophet Isaiah, that this Messiah would be a human child who would grow to be a King. From the Messiah’s titles, we see that not only would He be human, He also would be God. The Messiah would reign over the kingdom of God with justice and righteousness forever. So, the true believers in the Jewish nation had been longing for a Messiah for thousands of years.
In this message series, in each message, we will look at an Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messiah. Then we will see the fulfillment of that prophecy in the New Testament in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. For the title Christ, means the anointed one, just as Messiah does. We will see that Jesus Christ brought the kingdom of God near to His people. That kingdom and reign of the Messiah, will continue through the church until the Messiah returns to this earth. Then all the Old Testament prophecies will be completely fulfilled, as Christ judges His enemies and brings everlasting peace and joy in the new heavens and earth.
So, my goal in this series if for all of us to see Jesus in a new light. We will see Him prophesied as Messiah in the Old Testament, fulfilled in His life in the New Testament. We see Him continuing to rule and restore through His church in the present. Those who truly see Jesus for who He is will have a passion to help others find Him as well.
Today, our message is entitled “Messiah’s Miracles.” We’re going to look at an ancient prophesy by Isaiah that foretold the miracles that the Messiah would work. Then we’ll see how Jesus used His miracles to provide evidence that He indeed was the Messiah prophesied long ago by the prophet Isaiah. The miracles that the Messiah worked thousands of years ago are still being worked by Him through His church and the power of the Spirit. So, let’s begin by looking at …
The Messiah prophesied
The prophesy we’re going to look at today is was written by the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah prophesied during the final collapse and exile of the northern kingdom Israel and the moral decline of the southern kingdom, Judah. Things were not going well for the people of God during Isaiah’s ministry. Yet, He prophesied of a glorious future that the Messiah would bring. In the prophetic writings of Isaiah, the Lord God is speaking and revealing His will and the future through the prophet. First of all …
The Messiah will strengthen you
Isaiah 35:3 (NIV) Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way;
In times of trouble, in times when the future looks bleak, when you are discouraged, you don’t feel like doing anything. Even your knees are wobbly, you don’t know where to go or what to do. The whole of Isaiah 35 is about the wonderful things that the Messiah will bring. In response to the hope of the Messiah, God commands His people, and that includes you and me, to strengthen our hands and steady our knees. In other words, get ready for what is coming with the strength of the Lord.
He’s got things for you to do, He has a plan for you to carry out. There’s no time to waste, no time to be depressed. God wants to strengthen your hands today to do His work. He wants to steady your knees so that you will walk and run in His ways. You can be strengthened because of the Messiah.
The Messiah will save you
Isaiah 35:4 (NIV) say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
In the days of Isaiah, the people of Israel were afraid of the coming Assyrian invasion. They were afraid of their enemies who were coming because of the sin of Israel. Rather than being weak, they were to be strong. Why? Because the Messiah, their God was coming. He was coming to save them by carrying out judgment on their enemies. In other words, the Messiah was coming to save God’s people from the consequences of their sins and God’s resultant judgement. The Messiah was coming to banish fear and to instill courage.
Today, the prophet Isaiah still speaks to those who will listen. God commands those who are fearful and worried today about the future to be strong and do not fear. Your God is coming to save you from your troubles and your sins, which are often the cause of our troubles. Be strong, do not fear, the Messiah is coming.
The Messiah will heal you
Isaiah 35:5 (NIV) Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
When the Messiah comes, not only will fear be banished, but He will bring healing. The blind will see and the deaf will hear. This applies on the spiritual level, first of all. Those who had no hope, who couldn’t see God, will see the Messiah. Their eyes will be opened to see the King in His beauty. Those who have not been able to hear and understand God’s Word will now begin to hear and respond to the word of God.
But these truths of the Messiah’s healing power do not just apply to spiritual healing. They also apply to physical healing. There are those who are physically blind and they will physically see again. Those who are physically deaf will be able to hear again when the Messiah comes. Healing was prophesied of the coming Messiah in the Old Testament and as we’ll see, we can expect the Messiah to bring healing of all types and restoration into our lives and families.
The Messiah will bring you joy
Isaiah 35:6 (NIV) Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
Healing of the lame and the mute bring dancing and shouts of joy. The Messiah will replace sorrow and mourning with joy and gladness. The desert is a place of isolation, desolation and sadness. Water, a symbol of the Spirit, brings life to the deserts of our lives and our world. So, the coming of the Messiah brings joy and we see here hints of the involvement of the Spirit in His ministry. Whatever, you are going through in life, the Messiah brings joy.
Old Testament prophecies are repeatedly cited in the New Testament as being fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus. The fulfillment of prophecies written hundreds or thousands of years previously is powerful evidence of the God-inspired authority of Scripture. Not only should these prophesies encourage us in our own walk with God, they should also be used in our witness, to demonstrate the supernatural character of God’s Word. This morning, some of you need new strength. Others need to be saved from sin and fear. Others need healing and yet others need to be filled with joy. The answer for all those needs is found in the Messiah.
Jesus Christ is the Messiah
Matthew is the Gospel directed to identifying Jesus as the promised Messiah. Ten times, Matthew quotes Old Testament prophecy and shows how they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. This morning, we are going to look at a passage from Matthew 11, that fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy.
Matthew 11:1-2 (NIV) After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples
The background for this passage is that John the Baptist has been imprisoned by King Herod for publicly rebuking his sin. John had baptized Jesus and now was hearing reports about what Jesus was doing. However, John was beginning to wonder if Jesus was really the Messiah. You see, many thought that the Messiah would be a political King who would drive our the Romans. But that was clearly not happening. So, John sent some of his disciples to question Jesus. They were going to learn that one …
Don’t doubt the Messiah
Matthew 11:3 (NIV) to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
The question of John implies that He was doubting whether Jesus was truly the Messiah. Why would John doubt? First of all, he was in prison. Surely the Messiah would not allow that, John thought. Secondly, Jesus was doing nothing to overthrow the Roman government and assume leadership or build an army. John was still believing the Messiah would come, but he was questioning if Jesus was the Messiah. So, how did Jesus answer John?
Jesus brings healing
Matthew 11:4-5a (NIV) Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, …
Jesus reassured John that He was the Messiah by providing evidence of His healing ministry. Just as Isaiah had prophesied, the blind received sight, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the lepers cured and even the dead were raised. This was evidence of the power of God working in and through the Messiah. This healing power was evidence that the kingdom of God had drawn near through the ministry of Jesus the Messiah. Not only was Jesus bringing healing, but …
Jesus brings salvation
Matthew 11:5b (NIV) … and the good news is preached to the poor.
The good news is the Gospel, which means good news. Jesus’ ministry comprised of basically two things, healing the sick and preaching the Gospel. He preached the Gospel to the poor, both those who were poor financially and those who were poor spiritually. Only those who recognize that they are poor without the Messiah are open to receiving Him as their Savior. So, the Messiah came in the form of Jesus to bring salvation to both the Jew and the Gentile. As Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come to save His people, so Jesus Christ had come, preaching the Gospel that would save those who put their trust in Him. The blessing of the Messiah only come for those who …
Trust in Jesus the Messiah
Matthew 11:6 (NIV) Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
With this statement, Jesus informs us that there are two ways that people react to Him as the Messiah. The first way are those who fall away or who stumble on account of who Jesus is. With this statement, Jesus was warning John and others not to fall away from their belief in Him because He did not fit their picture of the coming Messiah. You see, the Old Testament prophets saw the first and second coming of the Messiah all together. So, they spoke of the Messiah’s healing ministry, along with the judging of all His enemies.
But the truth of the matter, was that Jesus’ healing ministry began with His first coming, but His judgement would only come with His second coming. Those who fall away and don’t keep believing won’t be blessed. Those who don’t fall away, those who keep on believing in Jesus as the Messiah are those who will be blessed. I believe that John the Baptist was encouraged and continued to trust Jesus as the Messiah
Thousands of years ago, around 700 BC, Isaiah prophesied the coming Messiah. Seven hundred years later, Jesus was born and fulfilled the prophetic word of Isaiah. He healed the sick, preached the Gospel and ultimately brought the promise of salvation to all who would believe and put their trust in Him. Jesus came as the anointed one, the Christ. He came as the Lord and the King. One day, when He returns again, He will judge everyone with justice. This Christmas season, Jesus, the Messiah, wants you to be strengthened, both in body and in Spirit. He wants to bring healing into your life and your relationships. It is Jesus’ desire to fill your life with joy as you work toward and anticipate His second coming. To receive the gifts of the Messiah, you must accept His salvation by putting your faith and trust in Him.