Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Scripture Must Be Fulfilled

When you think of Scripture, what do you think of? For some, it brings to mind an old book that has become outdated and irrelevant in the modern world we live in. For others, it is a very narrow-minded and intolerant book. For others, it is a book with some great sayings that they like to read.

But the Scripture is not just an old book. It’s not man’s sayings. It’s the Word of God. And it’s important that we understand the power of Scripture. In fact all Scripture must be fulfilled. Nothing in Scripture will be left unfulfilled. I’d like to show you why this is true and then demonstrate it by some of the things that have already been fulfilled.

How do we know that Scripture must be fulfilled?
Jesus taught that Scripture cannot be broken. He said, “The Scripture cannot be broken.” (Joh 10:35).

Isaiah prophesied: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Isa 55:8-11)

Jesus taught that He came to fulfill Scripture. He said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Mat 5:17)

We know that all the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah have been fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. When Scripture is fulfilled, then what was once spoken long ago by way of prophecy becomes history by the providence of God. That’s how Jesus could say, “today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luk 4:21). The only Scriptures that have not yet been fulfilled are those concerning his second coming, as well as the things immediately leading up to it and the things to follow it.

What Scriptures Have Already Been Fulfilled?
Much of Scripture has already been fulfilled. Here are some of the things that have already happened to fulfill Scripture:

The Spirit of the Lord anointed Jesus
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD." And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Luk 4:17-21)

The Virgin Birth of Jesus
"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US." (Mat 1:21-23)

Joseph and Mary's Escape to Egypt with Jesus
Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON." (Mat 2:13-15)

Jesus was a Nazarene
So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene."
(Mat 2:21-23)

Jesus settled in the land of Zebulun, in Naphtali, by the Sea in Galilee
Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES-- "THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED." (Mat 4:12-16)

Jesus healed all who were ill
When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES." (Mat 8:16-17)

Jesus proclaimed justice
Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"--so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them, "What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? "How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." Then He *said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!" He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them not to tell who He was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN; MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL is WELL-PLEASED; I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM, AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES. "HE WILL NOT QUARREL, NOR CRY OUT; NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS. "A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF, AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT PUT OUT, UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY. "AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE." (Mat 12:9-21)

Jesus spoke in parables
All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD." (Mat 13:34-35)

People did not believe in Jesus
But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?" For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, "HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM."
(Joh 12:37-40)

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey
When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. "If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, 'BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'" (Mat 21:1-5)

Judas betrayed Jesus
"I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.' (Joh 13:18)

"While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. (Joh 17:12)

"Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. (Act 1:16)

Jesus was Betrayed for Thirty Pieces of Silver
Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!" And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood." And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter's Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER'S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME." (Mat 27:3-10)

Jesus was arrested like a common criminal
And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" At that time Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. "But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets." Then all the disciples left Him and fled. (Mat 26:51-56)

Not one of Jesus’ disciples were lost
Jesus answered, "I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way," to fulfill the word which He spoke, "Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one." (Joh 18:8-9)

Jesus was counted among the transgressors
And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And He was numbered with transgressors." (Mar 15:28)

They cast lots for Jesus’ clothing
So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be"; this was to fulfill the Scripture: "THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS." (Joh 19:24)

Jesus was thirsty
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, "I am thirsty." (Joh 19:28)

Not one of Jesus’ bones were broken
So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, "NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN." And again another Scripture says, "THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED." (Joh 19:32-37)

Jesus died, was buried and raised from the dead on the third day
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1Co 15:3-4)

You Too Can Fulfill Scripture
Of course, may other things have happened to fulfill Scripture, but the ones I've just cited are a small sampling to prove a point.

And because he Word of God is living and active, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ today, you can fulfill the Word of God, too.

James wrote: If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well. (Jam 2:8)

The apostle Paul wrote: "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal 6:2)

Putting it All Together
So Scripture must be fulfilled. It cannot be broken. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Scripture concerning the Messiah. When Scripture is fulfilled, that is the providence of God.

I think Matthew Henry summed it up well when he wrote: “All the scriptures of the Old Testament that were to be fulfilled in the Messiah had their full accomplishment in the Lord Jesus, which abundantly proves that this was he that should come. In the providences of God, it is fit to observe the fulfilling of the scriptures. The works of God are the accomplishment not only of his secret word, but of his word revealed; and it will help us to understand both the scriptures and the providences of God to compare them one with another.”

I think this gives us great hope and comfort knowing that all the Scriptures yet to be fulfilled will certainly be fulfilled. And regardless of the circumstance we may go through, we also can fulfill the Scripture when we live for Jesus and walk in love.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." 


Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Him.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.



Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He is based in Eastern Europe, where he is helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, and planting churches that multiply. www.dmiworld.org. You are invited to view his collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.

2 comments:

  1. Why does God have to fulfill the scripture?Some of it seems very mean and unloving. The Story makes me feel sad....the way we humans treated Jesus our Lord. Why do we have to go through Jesus .....is not Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit One? Isn't Jesus just a manifestation of God as human?

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  2. Dear Questioner, God cannot lie, and he is bound to keep His Word. He must do everything He says in His Word. And the devil is very mean and unloving as you said, which is why mankind has been plunged into sin and darkness, and is destined for hell, unless they repent and follow Jesus. That's why we need a loving Savior who loved us first, before we loved Him. We needed a Divine Substitute who could take our place on the cross, and receive the full punishment we deserved for our sin. Jesus did that. Jesus is God, and so is His Heavenly Father, as well as the Holy Spirit. But the only Way to the Father is Jesus (read John 14:6), who can best relate to mankind, since He became fully man, while still fully God. Please read my blog on the Holy Trinity at http://spiritofthelordgod.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-holy-trinity.html. God bless!

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