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Conference 2017: Part 3 - The Messiah presents Himself to the Gentile world.

Conference 2017 Part 3 17-06-18
length: 108:25 - taught on Jun, 18 2017
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Conference 2017: Part 3 - The Messiah presents Himself to the Gentile world.

 

We closed yesterday witnessing the transformation of the apostle Peter, which identical transformation was experienced by the other apostles to be, in that they came to see and identify the entirety of the Messiah, who didn’t just bring the crown to Israel, but also the cross.

 

In the scripture, the spotlight is placed on Peter, but the rest of the apostles would have come to also see, even Thomas who wouldn’t believe until, as he stated, he touched His scars.  

 

LUK 22:31 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;

 

LUK 22:32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

 

Peter would turn again when the Lord visited him alone, soon after the resurrection. Peter’s transformation would be remarkable, as it is for all who see and believe in who Christ is.

 

ACT 2:22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know — 

 

ACT 2:23 this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

 

ACT 2:24 "And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”

 

MAT 16:15-16

"But who do you say that I am?"  And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

 

Peter sees the One that he knew as the Son of God and Messiah as Jesus the Nazarene, who allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men.

 

Peter’s lessons were not over. There was one more foundational and vital lesson to be learned. The Gentiles were fellow heirs of grace with the Jews.

 

After receiving a vision revealing that the unclean foods of the law were unclean no longer, and after recognizing the faith of a Gentile house, Peter is forced to declare.

 

ACT 10:34 “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him.”

 

Soon after, coming to Jerusalem to report this important event, and finding some angry Jews when they heard that Peter had visited and eaten with Gentiles, Peter reports:

 

ACT 11:17 "If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?"

 

ACT 11:18 And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."

 

The gift given to Cornelius and his house was the filling of the Holy Spirit, clearly evidenced by their speaking in tongues, and openly witnessed by Peter and those who were with him.

 

One would think that Peter was the clear choice to send out to evangelize the Gentile world, but he was not. The calling on a man is the sovereign choice of God, but it may have also been a factor that Peter would still struggle with the Gentile culture and its contrast to the Jewish. Peter, an uneducated fisherman would struggle with this while Paul, a highly educated Pharisee, a term that means “separatist,” would not.

 

GAL 2:11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

 

GAL 2:12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.

 

GAL 2:13 And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.

 

GAL 2:14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?

 

GAL 2:15 "We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from among the Gentiles [constant breakers of the law];

 

GAL 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we [Jews under the law] have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.

 

God would choose the most unlikely man on the planet to be His apostle to the Gentiles.

 

He was the top persecutor of the church. He had already decided that Jesus of Nazareth was definitely not the Messiah, but a fraud. He was blind to the full revelation to the suffering Messiah.

Part 3: The Messiah presents Himself to Saul of Tarsus and through him to the Gentiles.

 

The final person that the Messiah personally presents Himself to is the apostle Paul, who was at the time called Saul of Tarsus. Paul would be sent to the world, to the Gentiles. He certainly evangelized a lot of Jews as well, but mostly outside of Jerusalem. He was sent to the world. The church was also going to need a whole new theology as well, and it would be largely Paul who would write it.

 

Paul went to Jerusalem at an early age to receive instruction from Gamaliel.

 

Paul's home was in Tarsus, which was in Cilicia, a Roman province at the western border of Anatolia (Turkey), but he was educated in Jerusalem.

 

ACT 22:3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, just as you all are today.

 

ACT 22:4 "And I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons,

 

ACT 22:5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify."

 

Being educated by Gamaliel, Paul spent years in Jerusalem. As a Pharisee with extensive experience in Judea he would have certainly become aware of the popularity of Jesus of Nazareth. We can be quite confident that he was in Jerusalem for the Passover in which Jesus died on the cross, since the Law mandated that the males in Israel attend the feast in the city. Some wonder if he was even in attendance at the Sanhedrin meetings, but it would be doubtful that he wouldn't have mentioned it in his writings. Certainly he knew of Jesus and the circumstances of His death. As a Pharisee he would have spent quite a bit of time in and around the Temple during Passover week and so we can safely assume that he was acquainted with Jesus' miracles performed in the Temple during His passion week and how He chased the money changers out of the Temple. But once Jesus died on a Roman cross, Saul, along with the rest of the Pharisees, would have thought the matter closed. This Jesus was certainly no Messiah.

 

Not long after Jesus' death, within a year or two, Paul persecuted the church relentlessly and viciously. He saw more and more of his fellow Jews calling a man God, calling Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah and God, that Jesus had resurrected and fulfilled the Law, and as the God/Man He was hung on a tree and cursed for us. To Saul of Tarsus this was the vilest of blasphemies and was deserving of death under the Law of Moses. The matter of Jesus of Nazareth was not closed and Saul set his heart upon closing it himself.  

 

Paul was like many more of his fellow countrymen who rejected the gospel of Jesus. He only saw the Messiah as a victorious king, coming in all power and authority. They had their own idea of a Messiah by reading into the scriptures what they wanted to, and certainly the Messiah was not this Jesus of Nazareth character. He believed similarly to Peter before Peter understood the entirety of the Messiah. And so Paul sought to destroy the church, doing what he thought was his duty and high calling as a Pharisee.

 

Paul was a strict monotheist who only knew of Yavah Elohim as God. And then Yavah presented Himself to Paul.

 

ACT 22:5 From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.

 

ACT 22:6 "And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me,

 

ACT 22:7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ' Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' 

 

ACT 22:8 "And I answered, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And He said to me, 'I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.' 

 

Perhaps we can see why the Lord uses this name when identifying Himself to Saul. He doesn’t say Yavah or Elohim or Adonai.

 

ACT 22:9 "And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.

 

ACT 22:10 "And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.'

 

ACT 22:11 "But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.”

 

We had the blind disciples in the boat, the blind man from Bethsaida, blind Peter who was from Bethsaida, and now a blind Pharisee from Tarsus.

 

These directly tie in with one of the Messianic miracles, which was the healing of the man born blind.

 

JOH 9:39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind." 

 

JOH 9:40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?"

 

JOH 9:41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.”

 

When we read Paul epistles we find that in his Christology that he regards Jesus as God come to earth for the redemption of man.

 

He did not form this opinion centuries after Christ's death when myth about Him would have had time to grow and memories of His life would have only been passed on from generation to generation, embellished along the way, grown out of proportion from hazy memories and fantastic imaginations. Paul’s calling occurs only a few years afterwards and soon after his calling, Paul spent much time with Peter and the other apostles who knew Jesus personally. They knew of Jesus' limitations and frailty, that He was truly a man who could thirst, weep, suffer, die, and … resurrect, to which they were witnesses and now Paul was as well.

 

Paul came to learn these things from eye witnesses.

 

Jesus only lived a few years before his conversion and Paul came to know His life clearly, and his Christology states that God certainly did become the man Jesus and hung on a tree as a curse for us.

 

GAL 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us —  for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" — 

 

GAL 3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

Plus, Paul did not abandon his beloved Old Testament truth that he mastered as a Jew. Instead, he put Jesus in the OT as the God of Israel and the Fulfiller of all prophecies and covenants.

 

1CO 2:6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;

 

1CO 2:7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory;

 

1CO 2:8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;

 

To Paul, Christ was the Lord of Glory, the Creator, the God of Israel. He came to know Jesus as Lord and Master.

 

Paul would become the author of the theology of the new covenant to both Jew and Gentile, of which he knew there was no longer any distinction.

 

Paul had  come to see the entirety of the Messiah in the God/Man Jesus and he was sent to the Gentile world to introduce the same Messiah.

 

ACT 22:14 "And he [Ananias] said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth.

 

ACT 22:15 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.

 

ACT 22:16 'And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins [symbolizing the washing away of his old way and understanding], calling on His name.'

 

ACT 22:17 "And it came about when I returned to Jerusalem [a number of years later] and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,

 

ACT 22:18 and I saw Him saying to me, ' Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.' 

 

ACT 22:19 "And I said, 'Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in Thee.

 

ACT 22:20 'And when the blood of Thy witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the cloaks of those who were slaying him.'

 

ACT 22:21 "And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'"

 

Saul of Tarsus was a man fully educated in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the writings, and he was also fully educated in Hellenism, the ways and learning of the Greeks. Far above all the other apostles was this understanding, which impassioned him to head down a course that would make him the chief of sinners, and in God's eyes he was perfect for this calling - to build the church of God and to present the Messiah to the world.

 

The Messiah presented Himself to Israel, to the disciples, and to the world and within each of these three groups there were those who did not believe, but within those groups, those who beheld Him were forever changed in ways that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and has never entered into the mind of man.

 

EPH 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles — 

 

EPH 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;

 

EPH 3:3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.

 

EPH 3:4 And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

 

EPH 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;

 

EPH 3:6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

 

EPH 3:7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.

 

EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,

 

EPH 3:9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;

 

EPH 3:10 in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

 

EPH 3:11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,

 

EPH 3:12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

 

EPH 3:13 Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.

 

EPH 3:14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,

 

EPH 3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,

 

EPH 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;

 

EPH 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

 

EPH 3:18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

 

EPH 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

 

 

EPH 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

 

EPH 3:21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

2. Casting out a demon that causes muteness.

 

Jesus cast out many demons and the people were astounded.

 

LUK 4:36 And amazement came upon them all, and they began discussing with one another saying, "What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."

 

LUK 4:37 And the report about Him was getting out into every locality in the surrounding district.

 

However, when He cast out the demon of the man who was blind and dumb, they wondered if He was the Son of David, a Messianic title.

 

MAT 12:22 Then there was brought to Him a demon-possessed man who was blind and dumb, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw.

 

MAT 12:23 And all the multitudes were amazed, and began to say, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?"

 

Some background in the belief of the Jews at this time will help us to understand.

 

Exorcism wasn't all that unusual in the days of Jesus. Jesus acknowledged that the Pharisees and their disciples cast them out, or so they believed they did.

 

MAT 12:27 "And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?"

 

Jesus gave His disciples the power to cast out demons in His name.

 

LUK 10:17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."

 

From rabbinical literature we can see that a Jew trying to perform and exorcism followed a procedure. The exorcist first established communication with the demon who was using the voice of the person under its control. Then, after establishing communication with the demon, the exorcist had to discover its name. Once he knew the name of the demon, then he could order him out.

 

Procedure for exorcism from rabbinical literature:

Establish communication with the demon.

Discover its name.

Order him out.

[they believed that this was the only way]

 

In our part of the world where we don't see a lot of people claiming to be demon possessed we may find it easy to scoff at this. But I think the point is not so much whether the Jews who used this method were successful in casting out demons. It is that they believed that this was the way to do it. And because they believed that such a procedure could affect an exorcism, they also came to believe that it was impossible to cast a demon out of a man who couldn't speak, since the exorcist wouldn't be able to establish communication or find out the name of the demon.

 

So when Jesus cast the demon out of the dumb man, the people asked themselves, is this the Son of David?

 

We ask, did the religious leaders respond differently to this miracle as well? Decidedly so.

 

When the leaders saw that this stirred up the messianic expectations of the people, their hands were tied. They couldn't claim that it didn't happen. That it happened was undeniable. They were forced to either officially recognize Jesus as the Messiah or find some other explanation.

 

Their solution was to claim that Jesus was only able to cast out the demon of the mute man by the power of Satan (Beelzebub, the prince of the demons, another name for Satan).

 

Jesus quickly points out their illogic.

 

MAT 12:25 And knowing their thoughts He said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand.

 

MAT 12:26 "And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand?

 

MAT 12:27 "And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges.

 

Did Jesus say anything significant about Himself as Messiah?

 

The final test that this may be a specific miracle to identify to Israel that Jesus was the Messiah, is if Jesus Himself said anything significant.

 

MAT 12:28 "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."

 

Only the Messiah - King can bring the kingdom of God upon them.

 

Interestingly, when a man brought his son, possessed with a demon that made him mute, they could not cast it out.

 

MAR 9:17 And one of the crowd answered Him, "Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute;

MAR 9:18 and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and stiffens out. And I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it."

 

MAR 9:19 And He answered them and said, "O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!" 

 

MAR 9:20 And they brought the boy to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling about and foaming at the mouth.

 

MAR 9:21 And He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood.

 

MAR 9:22 "And it has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!"

 

MAR 9:23 And Jesus said to him, "'If You can!' All things are possible to him who believes." 

 

MAR 9:24 Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, "I do believe; help my unbelief."

 

MAR 9:25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again." 

 

MAR 9:26 And after crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, "He is dead!"

 

MAR 9:27 But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up.

 

MAR 9:28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?"

 

MAR 9:29 And He said to them, "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer."

 

The point of Jesus' answer would not be so much about prayer as it is that they could cast out demons in His name but not this one.

 

They would have had to pray for the Father to cast it out, for only God can cast out this kind. We notice that Jesus did not pray. He simply rebuked it and the commanded it. It obeyed Him because He is God.

 

The third miracle that is messianic, is the healing of the man born blind.

 

Once again we see a uniqueness to the response of the people and the Pharisees since it directly heralds Him as the Messiah. In the narrative it seemed fairly acceptable that a great prophet could heal a man who had gone blind.

 

Yet never had anyone thought or heard of a healing of a man blind from birth.

 

JOH 9:1 And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.

 

JOH 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?"

 

JOH 9:3 Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.

 

JOH 9:4 "We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work.

 

JOH 9:5 "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

 

As in the case of the other two, the uniqueness of this miracle is partly revealed in the response of the people and the Pharisees.

 

The restoration of sight to people who had gone blind was not thought to be messianic.

 

JOH 9:32 "Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind."

 

It is obvious that no prophet of the past could have done such a thing.

 

The man was a beggar, but so astonished were the people, he was taken to the Pharisees to get this explained.

 

The people around him knew that he was a beggar and they knew him well. So astonishing was the miracle that they took the man to the Pharisees, which led to an interrogation of the man and even an interrogation of his parents.

 

The Jews believed that if a person was born with an infirmity then it must have either been because of a sin of the parents or some sin that God knew that the person was going to commit in the future. Hence, verse 2.

 

JOH 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?"

 

JOH 9:34 They answered and said to him, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?" And they put him out.

 

This miracle led the man to believe in Jesus as the Son of Man, which is a purely messianic title.

 

JOH 9:35 Jesus heard that they had put him out; and finding him, He said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" 

 

JOH 9:36 He answered and said, "And who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?"

 

JOH 9:37 Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you." 

 

JOH 9:38 And he said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped Him.

 

JOH 9:39 And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind." 

 

JOH 9:40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things, and said to Him, "We are not blind too, are we?"

 

JOH 9:41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains."

 

The divine purpose behind these miracles was not to authenticate His priesthood or the fact that He was another prophet, but to verify that He was indeed the Messiah of Israel.

 

JOH 15:24 "If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well."

 

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