Blessed… Prophecy Fulfilled

Now when Jesus heard that John was arrested, he went to Galilee. He left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum, which lies alongside the sea in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali.  This fulfilled what Isaiah the prophet said: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, alongside the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who lived in the dark have seen a great light, and a light has come upon those who lived in the region and in shadow of death. From that time Jesus began to announce, “Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven!” (Matthew 4:12-17, Common English Bible).

Wow! We are only four chapters into Matthew’s Gospel and counting the one here, there have already been seven occurrences of  words similar to, “This is the fulfill the words of prophecy.” Jesus has barely gotten started, there have been no disciples called, there has been no preaching, there has been no miracles. Yet we have already heard from the prophets seven times. It might just make some people think that someone was trying to tell us and the many generations between us and Jesus something! Inquiring minds want to know!! I know, cornball line. I just couldn’t help myself.

Without question, prophecy fulfillment in each case is at least part of the equation. Part of it also is a matter of practicality. In chapter 1, a virgin becoming pregnant. It fulfilled the prophecy but there was no other way to remove original sin from the life of the Messiah.

Then in chapter 2, Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem did fulfill prophecy. The birth needed to happen in Bethlehem to confirm the tie to the lineage of King David. Later in the chapter the fleeing to Egypt might have been to fulfill the prophecy of God’s son coming from Egypt but it also met a much more practical need. Jesus couldn’t even begin ministry if he was killed as a young child.

I could go on with each of the other prophecies but I don’t think its necessary. You can go back and read them and draw your own conclusions.

In the case of our lesson today, Jesus needed a base of operations. I think he had a pretty good idea where at least a good chunk of his disciples were going to come from, they were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Why not make their home your home base. Additionally, as we can see in chapters to come, Jesus really couldn’t have made Nazareth the home base, people weren’t going to accept him there. He had to pick another place.

Jesus also knew, if he were arrested, as the lesson tells us John had been, his ministry, in the way it had to play out, would not have been possible if he was sitting in jail. Any number of people could have identified Jesus with John the Baptist. And, if you think that isn’t a big deal, in the days of the Roman Empire people were arrested for less. Innocent until proven guilty didn’t exist in those days.

 There are a couple of conclusions I draw from these fulfilled prophecies. First, if we are to see the words of the prophets played out in succeeding history or in the future, we first have to know the words of prophecy. I have heard a number of folks say over the years, “We are a New Testament people. We don’t need to study the Old Testament.” That might sound good but it is wrong. We need to study the Old Testament because God had a great deal to say in those pages.

Second, I think God not only was speaking to those in the Biblical era but speaking to us as well. For me, what these fulfilled prophecies do is, show that God and the Word of God can be trusted. Just as God fulfilled and is fulfilling the prophecies of old and God was with those people, God can be trusted to be with us too.

Is there a place where you see God fulfilling prophecy today?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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