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Friday, September 14, 2012

Men's Study @ Harvest - Lesson 1

Recently, I have been spiritually growing through the men's study at my church. We started our lesson with the beginning of Jesus' life. Here are some observations from the NT texts presented in the inductive study Lesson 1 at Men of Valor. The five texts included the birth and child narratives of Jesus: Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:22-24; Luke 2:40-52. I am not going to include all of them, for there is more references in some texts than others, and that would take forever! Therefore, below are just a few notes on some verses that have a huge OT background or reference (this book, Hearing the Old Testament In the New Testament, is outstanding resource by Stanley E. Porter).

Matthew 1:18-25
A. 1:22-23 is a quotation of Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
B. 1:23 ends with an allusion of Isaiah 8:8, 10 ["Immanuel" and "God is with us"]. Matthew applied these Scriptures to the fulfillment of the coming of Jesus.

Luke 2:1-20
A. 2:9 begins the narrative by (also cf. Matt. 1:20) mentioning the "angel of the Lord." (appears throughout the OT to authenticate a messenger of God; a theophany, especially in relation to Gen. 16:7-11; 22:11, 15; Ex. 3:2; Num. 22:22-35; Jug. 2:1, 4; 5:23; 6:11-22; 13:3-21; 1 Kings 19:7; 2 Kings 1:3, 5; Zech. 12:8).

B. 2:9 describes the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds just as it did in the OT to confirm the presence of Yahweh. These texts are explicit allusions: Ex. 16 (Pillar Cloud), 24 (Mount Sinai), 40 (Tabernacle); Lev. 9:6, 23 (Priesthood); Ezekiel 43:4-5 (Temple); Isa. 40:5 (Messiah); John 1:14 (Jesus)!

Matthew 2:1-12
A. 2:2 mentions the "star" that revealed the place Jesus was to be born, but there is no OT references that indicate it was prophesied by God (Jesus is called the bright morning star, cf. Rev. 22:16?)

B. 2:5-6 is a quotation of Micah 5:2 to prophesy where Jesus the Messiah was going to born, "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days."

Luke 2:40-52
A. 2:40 says Jesus become "strong in spirit," and was "filled with wisdom," and "the grace [favor]of God was upon him." These factors are allusions to the Messiah in Isaiah 11:2, "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord." (cf. Isa. 42:1; 61:1-3; Luke 4:16-21)

I love studying the OT background of the NT because it highlights and reveals the original purpose of the text. Studying Jesus and the OT fulfillments of his coming in the gospels has made me appreciate this statement in our lesson notes. I came across a verse that encouraged me to study and get in God's Word. Isaiah 34:16 begins with an exhortation, "Seek and read from the book of the Lord!" Therefore, I thought this was a good quote from our study which was relevant to the visible life of Jesus: "God wants us to see him for ourselves [primarily in his Word]. He wants us to be touched by his glory; to witness his majesty; to know him as a friend."

"Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked."
(1 John 2:6)

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