The Idea that a Messiah would come to earth, in fulfillment of hundreds of Hebrew prophecies, is not a new or unfamiliar concept to the Jewish nation. Beginning with Moses, he told the people that a prophet would come after him. They should expect His arrival and when He does come, they should “hear Him.”
The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear. Deuteronomy 18:15
Peter spoke these same words, quoting from Deuteronomy 18:15, to the people who were gathered in Jerusalem on the Feast of Pentecost. He said that Jesus was the Messiah that Moses had spoken of.
For Moses truly said to the fathers, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. Acts 3:22
Peter explained that what they had done to Jesus, was predicted by the prophets.
Friends, I realize that what you did to Jesus was done in ignorance; and the same can be said of your leaders. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had declared about the Messiah, beforehand—that He must suffer all these things. Acts 3:17-18 (NLT 1986)
Not long after Peter recited Moses prophecy of a Messiah, Stephen stands before the elders of Israel and repeats this text to these men, once again.
This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’ Acts 7:37
Stephen said these things so that the leaders of the Jews would understand that Jesus had fulfilled all of the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures, including the highly respected prophetic words of Moses. These men should not be surprised to find that Jesus had come to them, in fulfillment of all that was written. They did not believe Stephen, and they would not accept Jesus as the fulfillment of Moses words. In doing this, without realizing, these leaders of Israel—again fulfilled several more prophecies of the Messiah.
He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3
After Jesus asked his disciples; “who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” Then Jesus told these men that in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophet, He would be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law.
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 27:21-22 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”
Matthew 19:20-22 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
A King Rejected
Although there was great anticipation in Israel that the Messiah’s arrival was imminent, when Jesus stands before the leaders of Israel with all of the correct credentials, He is rejected. Despite the impossibility that this could ever happen; in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, Israel’s Redeemer is cast aside.
I have often pondered the fact that many people today still reject Jesus Christ. They do so of their own free will, with full knowledge of who Jesus is, and what the eternal cost is for rejecting Him as their Savior. What I find most perplexing is that Jesus is so incredible and wonderful in every way. How anyone could walk away from Him is beyond my ability to understand. It must be that the depth and darkness of the human heart is much greater than I can understand. How anyone could reject the Love that Jesus has offered them, I find unbelievable.
Perhaps it is true that many people do not see themselves as the miserable sinner that I see myself and how greatly I am in need of redemption. It is true that many folks simply do not think that they are bad enough that they require anyone to make a sacrifice for their sins.
The reasons for rejecting Jesus Christ are innumerable and incalculable. Only in eternity, when each person has had their opportunity to stand before the Lord at the Great White Throne judgment, will it finally be known what their excuses and reasons for not coming to Jesus were truly all about. It is likely that most of those who reject Jesus Christ as their Savior do not even know themselves why they are unwilling to come. Only when the Lord removes the veil of their heart will they, and all those who observe, finally see what the truth is. I for one would like to be present at this judgment so that I could understand why so many were not willing to take the Lord as their Savior.
At the time Jesus appeared in Jerusalem and was proclaimed as the Messiah, Israel was in dire need of their Savior. The Roman government had removed the right of self-rule from Jewish life. The people cried out to God in desperation for a deliverer, while He stood in their midst. It is often the case that people who need help the most, do not want the kind of help they need. God sent us a Savior from sin first, which is our greatest need. At His second appearing, He will save us from the oppression, tyranny, and corrupt governments of the world. Israel wanted the opposite: a conquering Messiah to free them from Roman oppression, but cared little for deliverance from personal sin.
Today, people of the world are searching for ways to make their lives easier and richer in material blessings while remaining poor and destitute in sin and moral failure.
Those who are financially well-off see themselves as having need of nothing, while the God who made them views their lives as wretched and miserable.
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”
The gold refined in the fire is an illustration of the process; whereby something of value, which is corrupted by pollution, is refined and made perfect by the fire which removes these pollutants.
What is most needed in the lives of all human beings—who are precious to the Lord, is that the fires of God’s judgement would burn away the sinful and useless things of this world, by the sacrifice Jesus made for us. At that moment when we come to Jesus and are cleansed of all our sins, we are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness, and the shame of our former nakedness is covered by God’s righteousness, having made us perfect.
We need to be saved from sin before anything else. This was the purpose for which Jesus appeared at Jerusalem in fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. He will come a second time to deliver the whole world from the corrupt governments of men.
Jesus called all of us to repentance and to begin a new life under His authority. The people of Israel earnestly desired a Messiah who would cast off the bondage of the Roman authority, sit on the throne of David and begin His rule immediately. Because Jesus allowed Himself to be brutally crucified, the Jews rejected Him as a weak and helpless failure.
Too bad for us when God comes to save us and we do not recognize Him because our expectations are different from what He brings us. Better that we are open to anything that the Lord wants to do in our life and to allow Him to do whatever He desires, in any way that He wants to do it.