Thursday, 29 January 2015

Jesus Fulfilled Prophecy

Jesus Fulfilled Prophecy

This took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘Look the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”’ Matthew 1:22-23

How significant is Jesus’ birth story to the historical timeline of
human history? This is a question which defines Jesus’ birth through time. Prophets wrote of the messiah to come for many years and when Jesus came, Matthew and Luke record this event by sharing the statements of the Old Testament prophets in order to emphasize that Jesus’ birth just didn’t happen by chance.
Both Matthew and Luke use the theme of fulfillment of prophecy as they share the stories of Jesus’ nativity but they do so in different ways. Matthew uses the prediction-fulfillment formula five times in telling Jesus’ birth story using similar phrases. These statements are not predictions about Jesus but glimpses of what is to come. Matthew’s statement of Mary reads slightly different in Isaiah 7:14 when it is quoted. But the symbolic naming of a child with a phrase is unique and tells the king that God would be with him and the people of Jerusalem in the present crisis.
Luke proclaims the continuity of Jesus with Israel and his fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel in more than one way. Luke uses hymns and the singing of hymns to emphasize the joy of prophecy being fulfilled.  Mary’s Magnificat echoes a psalm of thanksgiving and reflects the joy experienced by Hannah (Samuel’s mother) and Psalms which emphasize joy and thanksgiving.(Ps 35:9) Luke also uses different literary styles to imitate the Old Testament’s law and prophecy and brings this into his story telling of Jesus’ birth. Through his writing, Luke using the style of Old Testament work tells us that what has happened in Jesus is the continuation and climax of the story of Israel.
Promise and fulfillment –through Abraham and Sarah and their many descendants. Slavery and freedom of the Israelites. Yearning for justice and peace with an ideal king leading them but for over 500 years this did not occur. When Roman imperial rule began the Jewish peoples seemed more oppressed. But then we read Matthew and Luke and the birth of Jesus who is the means through which God’s promises are and will be fulfilled..
Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy.not a means of a prediction coming true. This statement holds much hope and faith but why? Does it matter to you that Jesus fulfilled the prophets’ message of generations before? Does it make a difference how the story of Jesus’ birth comes to you or is the Jesus’ birth story just nice as it is? Mary sings, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, for he has loked with favour on the lowliness of his servant” She then recites how God’s promise is now being fulfilled. This is the hope of the Law and the Prophets= the world will be changed.
In looking at our world today has the world changed because of Jesus? What about your world (as you live it)? What about you as an individual? Has Jesus birth made a difference in your life as you continue to live in 2015?
Matthew and Luke wrote Jesus’ birth story in order that those who hear or read it will be forever changed because Jesus’ coming to earth brought God into our world. God into our every day life. Is this significant for you? How?

Holy God as we recall Jesus’ birth story we realize how prophecy has been fulfilled yet we somehow miss the significance of this each time we enter into Advent and Christmas. Jesus is amongst us and he walked this earth to teach and show us the depth of love. Enable us and call us to hear His words for life. Amen.

This reflection is based upon ideas of by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan.  The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really teach About Jesus’ Birth. New York: Harper One,1989, p.99-127, ch.8.  Watch next week as we begin a new study on Detours in life!

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