Charles Wesley lived for eighty-one years of the eighteenth century and he wrote 6,500 hymns. Many of them are Christmas hymns. One of the most magnificent and one of my favorites is titled, "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus." The lyrics go like this:
Come, Thou, long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sin release us.
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art.
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King.
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone.
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne."
What distinguishes a hymn from all other forms of music is hymns are theology. They are theology, great truth about God and His redemptive purpose. And that hymn is certainly no exception to that.
Wesley chose to identify Jesus as the long expected Jesus. "Come, Thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free." What did he have in mind when he chose that title for the Messiah? Open your Bible to the 7th chapter of Luke, the 7th chapter of Luke. If you're going to be theological, you have to be biblical because theology comes out of Scripture. In the 7th chapter of Luke we pick up the story in verse 18. It says, "And the disciples of John reported to him about all these things."
Now let me explain that briefly. John here is John the Baptist. John is called the Baptist because he baptized so many people down at the Jordan River. Now you remember John. He was born just before Jesus was born. He was born to Zacharias and Elizabeth who were related to Mary, so he was sort of in the same family as Jesus. But there was no particular distinction in that. What sets John apart is that he was chosen by God to be the last and the greatest prophet and his job, which made him the greatest, was to announce the arrival of Messiah. And he had done that. He had done that. He had declared that Jesus is the Messiah and then the camera turns away from John and he fades into the background and the story is all about Jesus from there on.
But now, all of a sudden, Luke injects John back in and John’s disciples, some of the followers of John, have gone to tell him about the miracles Jesus is doing. And so, in verse 19 we read this, "Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord saying, 'Are You the Expected One or do we look for someone else?' And when the men had come to Him, they said, 'John the Baptist has sent us to You saying, "Are You the Expected One or do we look for someone else?"'"
This is the most compelling question that anybody could ever ask and the question that demands an answer more than any other question, because it has such immense eternal implications. Are You the long Expected One or do we look for someone else? Are You the One who is prophesied to set Your people free from fear and sin? Are You Israel's strength and consolation? Are You the hope of all the earth? Are You the dear desire of every nation? Are You the joy of every longing heart? Are You the One we look for? That was John's question.
Israel had long waited for the Messiah to come. And we wouldn't be surprised to have somebody in Israel ask the question, but we are a little surprised that it comes from the mouth of John the Baptist. Why is John asking this question since he would have known about the virgin birth of Jesus, because they were relatives, he would have heard stories that circulated in the family about the perfections of Jesus as a person, as a sinless child and a sinless young man and a sinless adult? And he did, after all, declare, pointing to Jesus, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." And he did on one occasion even say — and it's recorded in all four gospels — "You are the long Expected One." And he also heard a voice from heaven, the Father, saying, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," and the voice came right when John was baptizing Jesus. And he also saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus, further divinely affirming Him as the Messiah. So the strange reality is, why is he asking the question?
Well, because it's the most important question there is. And he had all of that evidence that Jesus was the Expected One, the Coming One, the long-awaited Messiah, but there were some things that just didn't fit. Where was the regal splendor of the Messiah? Where was His kingliness? Why was He not ascending to the throne? Why was He not establishing Himself as the sovereign? Why was He not overthrowing the Romans? Why was He being rejected and hated by the religious establishment? Why did things appear to be going in the wrong direction? Why was He not asserting Himself as a sovereign? So the doubts creeping into the mind of John: Is He really Israel's strength and consolation? Is He really the desire of every nation, as Haggai, the prophet, had called Him?
Well you can see if you look at your Bible in those two verses that I read you, verses 19 and 20, that the title, "the Expected One," or "the Coming One" is capitalized, is it not? And the reason it's capitalized is because it's not just a descriptive term, it is a proper noun, it is a title. "Coming One," or "Expected One," ha erchomenos, is a title for the Messiah. That was a name for Messiah. We find that name in the Old Testament. He is called the Coming One. The psalmist identifies Him as the Coming One several times. "Blessed is the Coming One who comes in the name of the Lord." And so John is asking, "Are You the Messiah? Are You the long-awaited Savior, Deliverer of Israel?"
We have determined that He is. John did as well after his doubts were removed and we'll see more about that next Sunday. But I can tell you that it is the testimony of every true Christian that we believe that Jesus is Israel's strength and consolation. Israel is the hope of all the earth... I should say Jesus is the hope of all the earth and Jesus is the desire of every nation. We believe that. That's what Christians believe. We believe that Jesus is the Expected One, the Coming One and the Old Testament description of the One who is to come is so complete and so clear that it actually describes the Coming One so well as to leave no doubt who it was. To anybody who is honest it is absolutely crystal clear that Jesus of Nazareth is the One prophesied in the Old Testament. As Christians, we believe it. That's what Christians believe. We believe that the long Expected One is Jesus and we acknowledge Him as our King and our Redeemer and our Lord and our Savior. And we do that eagerly and we do that unhesitatingly. We confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God.
What does it mean to say it? What does it mean to say Jesus is Lord? What does it mean to believe that He is the long Expected One, the Coming One, the Promised One, the King and Redeemer, the Lord and Savior the Old Testament describes? What does it mean when we say we confess Him as Lord?
Well let me just tell you what it means and I'm going to give you a description of a Christian. It means that we trust His wisdom beyond all other wisdom. It means that we believe that everything that He says and everything that is said in the Bible about Him is absolutely true and anything that contradicts any of it is wrong. It means that we desire to know His thoughts above all thoughts as supreme. It means that we long to hear and obey His Word over all other words. It means that we give Him our lives now and forever, we entrust Him not only with our time but with our eternity, believing firmly in a person and a reality that we have never seen, but the testimony of Scripture is sufficient to verify. It means we obey His commandments with joy. It means we love Him supremely and we love people who love Him and we even love people He loves who don't love Him. It means we give our lives to proclaim His gospel, the gospel of salvation. To say that Jesus is Lord, which is the Christian confession, is to say that we accept Jesus as our absolute authority and source for all that is true. It means that we desire always to do what pleases Him, though we fail. It means we fear Him, we worship Him, we obey Him and we proclaim Him above all others. To confess Jesus as Lord means that no area of our lives is unaffected by our relationship to Him. Our relationship to Him defines what we think. It defines our attitudes, it defines our emotions. It defines what we say. It defines how we act in every area of life. Our relationship to Him pervades all our being. To confess Jesus as Lord means that we trust His purpose for our lives and we trust His utter, sovereign control over all aspects of our lives including our failures and our successes, our blessings and our sorrows, our sickness and even our death. To confess Jesus as Lord means that we count Him as the source of all that is good and all that is right and all that is blessed, and therefore He is to be thanked for everything. To confess Him as Lord means that we believe that He created and controls the entire universe, that He has pre-written all history so that it is directed in its course toward perfect fulfillment of His intended desire when He re-wrote...when he pre-wrote it. To confess Jesus as Lord, to be a Christian, means to give our souls to Him, our bodies to Him as living sacrifices, our minds to Him, our time to Him, our abilities to Him, our money to Him, our prayers to Him. It means to dedicate our children to Him and to pray that everyone we know may love Him the way we love Him. To confess Jesus as Lord means to give our lives in service to Him, fellowship in the church, to engage ourselves in ministries of all kinds to the honor of His name and the spread of His gospel. To confess Jesus as Lord means that we are willing to live for Him no matter what it requires, and if asked to die for Him with an affirmation of His glory on our lips as our life leaves us.
We have never seen Him but we talk to Him every day. We have never heard an audible voice, but He speaks to us through His Word every day. We haven't seen His face, He is to us invisible and His Kingdom is not material. And even the heaven He promises to which we look we have never visited, nor has anyone else who can tell us about it. Only two apostles had a glimpse and struggled to explain what they saw.
You ask about what it means to be a Christian? That's what it means. It's not about going to church. It's about submitting everything to the lordship of Jesus Christ. We live in a very singularly defined life. Jesus Christ is everything to us and we are complete in Him. He is not some addendum to our lives. He is not some addition to our lives. He is not part of our lives. He is all of our lives. And to make that kind of commitment, you better be sure that He is the Expected One or do we look for someone else? John the Baptist understood what it meant to say, "Jesus is the Coming One." It meant everything. And if there was some lingering doubt in his mind because not all that he had anticipated or that had been promised was before his eyes being fulfilled, and if the question was there at all, then it was worthy of an answer. If you're going to be a Christian, you better count the cost. It's all about Christ and only Christ and always Christ. He is our all and all. He is our everything. That kind of singular devotion, singular love, singular obedience, singular trust, singular hope demands assurance. And for the moment, anyway, John was asking a question that any doubter should ask: Are You the Expected One?
Everybody knew the Old Testament prophesied a Coming One. Everybody who knew the Old Testament knew that. The only question was, is it Jesus? Is it Jesus?
If you were to look at the Old Testament, you could paint a picture of the Coming One, the Expected One, and you would see that it would be Jesus. It would be sort of like...Did you ever paint by numbers? You could have the whole scene of the life of Jesus without the color and as you began to apply the color it would take form, unmistakably it would become Him. In fact, Jesus said that. He said, "Abraham rejoiced to see My day." What did He mean by that? Abraham was expecting Me. I am the One Abraham rejoiced ultimately to see. He also said, "Moses wrote about Me." And He said, "David called Me Lord." So Jesus picked the triumvirate of Israel's history — Abraham, Moses, David, you don't get any higher than those three — and said they were all talking about Me. And He said, "If you believed Moses, you would have believed Me for he wrote about Me." Jesus all along said He was the long Expected One, He was the Coming One. He made that point. It was on the day of His resurrection. He was on the road to Emmaus that day after He had come out of the grave. Two of His disciples were with Him. And the Bible says that He said this to them, "Oh foolish men, slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken." See they were moaning and groaning because Jesus had been crucified. And they thought that was the end of their dream and that obviously Jesus was not the long Expected One, He was not the Coming One, He was not the Promised One, He was not the Messiah. And Jesus says, "Your problem is, you didn't believe what's clearly indicated in the Old Testament." And then it says, "And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." "Search the scriptures," He said on another occasion, "for they are such as speak of Me." It was forty days after that resurrection day, the day of His ascension back into heaven, and He had another occasion to be with His apostles and this is what He said, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. And then He opened their minds to understand the Scripture."
When you study the Old Testament, you get this picture of the Coming One, the Redeemer, the Messiah, the King, the Savior of the world. When you read the New Testament you get the color to fill it in. It is unmistakably Jesus. It is unmistakably Jesus. All you have to do is compare the Old Testament to the New.
Well, in John's defense, he didn't have the New yet. He was putting together some of the pieces all the way through his life but there were some things missing that made him ask the question, "Are You the Coming One?" Even though he called Him that, Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:7, Luke 3:16 and John 1:27. He called Him the Coming One. On Palm Sunday the crowd in Jerusalem cried, "Blessed is the Coming One, the Expected One who comes in the name of the Lord," Mark 11:9. And Jesus referred to Himself as the blessed Coming One, the blessed Expected One, Luke 13:35, and in the 19th chapter of Luke the people called Him the Coming One. The writer of Hebrews, chapter 10 verse 37, calls Him the Coming One. That's a technical title for the Messiah, Redeemer. And those people knew the Old Testament and should never have been mistaken, never. All you have to do, He said to those disciples on the road to Emmaus, is recognize that you are foolish and slow of heart to believe. It isn't that you can't understand. It is that you refuse to believe. Not an intellectual issue, an issue of faith, submission.
So let me just proclaim a little from the Old Testament about the Coming One and help you to see that it couldn't be anybody but Jesus. The Old Testament begins, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The gospel of John begins, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And everything that was made was made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made."
The first time you meet the Coming One is in creation when God says, "Let us make man." And now you know it's not just God the Father, but somebody else, it's the Coming One, the Word who became flesh, of whom John says, He is the Creator. The work of redemption is not going to be done by many. It's to be done by one, one, the long Expected One. He was first promised in the Garden after Adam and Eve had sinned, been devastated by satanic deception, after curses had been pronounced upon man, God then said this, "There will come One, a seed of a woman who will crush the head of Satan." That in Genesis chapter 3 is the first actual prophecy of the Coming One and the first thing He is said to do is to crush the destroyer's head. That is to overturn the kingdom of evil. He's also pictured in that same chapter. When Adam and Eve are sin sensitive, aware of their shame and guilt, they feel their nakedness and God wanting to cover their nakedness kills an animal; first death in history. God Himself kills an innocent animal, takes the hide and covers sinners. There is a picture of the Coming One there whose death as an innocent sacrifice and substitute provides a covering for sinners, preview of the Lamb slain for sinners.
Then we find the Messiah is to come through the line of Abraham, through his son Isaac, through the tribe of Judah and He will be the one who will take the scepter and be a King, the one who is Creator, the one who will be born of a woman, the seed of a woman. Everybody knows a woman doesn't have a seed. That's in the man. And that's an implication of the virgin birth. He will come and He will offer His life as a sacrifice to cover sinners. He will also take a scepter and reign as King and the picture of the Coming One begins to fill out. He is even pictured in an Old Testament priest by the name of Melchizedek. Melchizedek appears in the 14th chapter of Genesis and Melchizedek was an ancient king of righteousness, king of peace and he was also a priest of the true God. So here was an amazing man, a king of righteousness, a king of peace, as well as a priest to God.
He had no genealogy, no beginning and no end, so He pictures a perpetual priesthood, a priest king who intercedes and mediates between man and God. And Jesus Himself was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. So says the New Testament. So He's pictured there.
He is also pictured and symbolized in that incredible story of Abraham going up to Mount Moriah to sacrifice Isaac. He puts Isaac on the altar because God has told him to, and certainly Isaac deserved to die, as does every sinner. And in this case Abraham was going to be the agent of judgment upon that sinful Isaac and when he was ready to drive the dagger into the heart of his own beloved son, God stopped his hand and provided an animal in the bush, didn't He? And the Coming One, the Promised One is pictured as that animal in the bush; that innocent sacrifice laid on the altar that gives its life in the place of sinners.
Joseph, rejected by his brothers, sold into slavery, hated and despised. For all his brothers cared, he could be dead. He goes to Egypt as a prisoner but God makes him a prince and a savior and the tables turn. Famine comes to Israel, later his brothers come down there and Joseph is their deliverer. Joseph is their savior. He forgives them, provides their necessary deliverance, the food they need to survive. Rejected, scorned, he becomes the savior. You see the shadow of the Coming One who came unto His own. His own received Him not. But He came to the cross. They put Him there to become the Savior of the very ones that rejected Him.
The Coming One is pictured in Noah's ark, a place of safety through the midst of divine judgment to drown the entire planet. The Coming One is the true lifeboat. The Coming One is the true ark of safety, the hiding place, the protector in whom believers ride above the waves of divine judgment.
The Coming One is seen in the dramatic account in Genesis 28 of Jacob's dream and he sees a ladder from earth to heaven and angels going up and down on that ladder. And he realizes that here is a picture of a bridge that is being built to God. That's a picture of the Coming One. Jesus is the Coming One who bridges the chasm between God and man. So confesses Nathaniel in the New Testament.
The Coming One even appears in the Old Testament as the Angel of the Lord in a pre-incarnate appearance, visiting Abraham and wrestling with Jacob. The Coming One is seen in every Passover lamb that was slaughtered, a spotless lamb without blemish that was used as a sacrifice for sin and the blood of that animal splattered all over the door prevented the angel of death from slaughtering the firstborn. And this was a great depiction of the fact that an innocent sacrifice could provide the blood atonement which could save sinners from divine judgment, and that was a picture of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God whose blood would forever perfect those who believe in Him, delivering all believe from the death angel.
The Coming One is pictured in the manna in the wilderness. He Himself said that He was the true bread, pictured by the manna in the wilderness. God gave manna to feed a hungry nation. God gave the true bread, His Son, to feed the souls of men. It was in the wanderings in the wilderness in the book of Exodus that water flowed out of a smitten rock into the wilderness and gave life to thirsty Jews. But that only pointed forward to the Coming One who was the living water and whoever drinks of Him, He says, shall never thirst again.
On the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, a sacrifice was made and blood was sprinkled inside the Holy of Holies to atone for sin, the blood of the sacrificed animal. That was just a picture of the final sacrifice, the true propitiation, the true hilastērion, the true covering for sin, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, whose substitutionary death satisfied God, and God met sinners at the mercy seat of the cross and forgave their sin because Jesus paid for it by His blood.
The Expected One is also the ultimate great High Priest pictured in Aaron and all the priests who mediated between men and God. The Coming One is seen in all of the offerings of the book of Leviticus. He is the true offering for sin, the true burnt offering, the sweet-smelling savor that rises to God and a sacrifice that pleases Him and atones for sin. He is the ultimate offering who goes outside the camp and bears away the sin and reproach of sinners. The Coming One is also pictured in the brazen serpent that was lifted up. You remember, when the snakes bit the people they were told, in Numbers 21, to raise up a serpent on a pole and everybody who looked would be healed. And that was a picture of the one who would be lifted up on a cross to whom sinners suffering guilt and judgment could look and be forgiven. He is the Prophet of all prophets of Deuteronomy of which Moses wrote; that He would come and be perfectly faithful to the law of God and command people to obey the Word of God and He would warn those who didn't that they would be condemned.
All the judges and all the deliverers of Israel are humble illustrations of the Coming One who is the all-glorious Deliverer of His people. The angel of the covenant who appeared to Joshua and to Gideon may well have been the Coming One in a pre-incarnate appearance. And the man, Boaz, who was known in the book of Ruth as the kinsman redeemer who literally redeemed Ruth, taking her to himself in her destitution, is but a picture of the true Kinsman Redeemer who became one of us that He might rescue us from our deprivation.
You come into the historical books of Kings and Samuel, the Chronicles and you meet King David and King David is the great illustration of the Messiah because David is a shepherd king. What a magnificent combination. Therein you have the care and the tenderness, as well as the sovereignty and the authority is blended in David. But there is a greater Son of David, the Coming One, the Expected One who on a far greater scale is our Shepherd and our King.
When Solomon finished building the temple, the glory of God filled the temple but it was only a glimpse of the glory of God that came in the person of Jesus Christ who was full of grace and truth and we beheld His glory.
The Coming One is the Redeemer that Job said would live. "I know," he said, "my Redeemer lives." The Coming One is the theme of many of the psalms. He is the King and Son of Psalm 2. He is the resurrected one of Psalm 16. He's the crucified one of Psalm 22. And He is the Shepherd of Psalm 23. And I could go on and on.
He is the personification, the living reality of the wisdom of the Proverbs. He is the voice of truth crying in the streets. And when you've gone through all of that, you come to the prophets and the prophets write so marvelously about Him. Isaiah looked and saw Him as a great light who would shine on the people that walked in darkness. And as he looked closer he saw that that light would come born of a virgin and it would be a child and a son. And He would have the most amazing names, Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father, and the Prince of Peace. He would be a wonder of a counselor because He could perfectly diagnose the heart of every person and He knew the perfect cure for every issue. He would be the Mighty God. That is He would be powerful, omnipotent to accomplish everything He desired in every soul. That's why His name would be Emmanuel. Isaiah said His name would be Emmanuel which means in Hebrew, "God with us." He would be everlasting Father, the eternal Protector, the eternal support and provider of His beloved. He and the Father are one. And He would be the Prince of Peace. The New Testament says He is our peace.
The prophet also saw that He would eventually sit on the throne of His father, David, and He would spread out the kingdom promised to Abraham and to David. He would be born in the royal line and Jesus was. His genealogy proves it. In Luke and in Matthew it's recorded. But, and probably what John didn't see, before the time of His glory there would be a time of humiliation. The prophets saw it. They said He would come. Isaiah said He would come as a shoot out of a stock of Jesse and that when He came there would be no comeliness and no beauty that we would desire Him. And you get a glimpse of His poverty and His lowliness. Micah says, for example, He would be born in a nondescript place called Bethlehem. On the other hand, Isaiah saw the adoration of the magi. Jeremiah prophesied that at the time the Messiah comes babies will be slaughtered, and they were by Herod. Hosea prophesied in the 11th chapter of his prophecy that the family of the Messiah would have to flee to Egypt. "Out of Egypt,” he said, “have I called My Son." Isaiah writes of the meekness and gentleness of Christ, of the wisdom and knowledge which the Messiah would manifest through His life. The psalmist said that He will be angry and zealous for the holiness of God and that the reproaches that have fallen on God and zeal for God's house would eat Him up, and that's what happened when He went into the temple. He was eaten up by zeal for the house of God which should have been a house of prayer and He took a whip and cleaned it, right? Just as the psalmist had said. Isaiah said when He comes He'll preach good news to the meek, the humble, the poor, prisoners, blind, and oppressed, the brokenhearted, the captives. He'll bring the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. He'll turn mourning into joy. And He did that for those who embraced His gospel. Isaiah even pictured the sweet scene of the Good Shepherd blessing the little children. You remember when Jesus picked them up in His arms and blessed them? Isaiah said, "He will gather the lambs in His arms and carry them in His bosom." And Zechariah saw that there would be great rejoicing for a lowly king would enter Jerusalem riding on an ass's colt. That's exactly how Jesus entered the city. And you remember on that occasion little babies were praising Him, do you remember that? Little children were praising Him and that's what Zechariah said and that's what the psalmist said in Psalm 8, "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies and Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."
Joel the prophet saw that through the coming of the Expectant One, the Spirit of God would be poured out upon all flesh. Isaiah saw that all the ends of the earth would see the salvation of God through this Coming One. So you have a victorious, triumphant picture of Christ as well as a recognition of His humiliation. But the Jews could only see the triumphant side. They were so engrossed with that, so were the disciples, that Jesus said to them and could have said to all of the people of His day, "You fools and slow of heart to believe all that is written about Me." John the Baptist said, "There stands one among you whom you don't know." And the New Testament says, "Had they known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." They wanted to know all about His power and sovereignty and rule. They had no interest in those low tones of lowliness, rejection, humiliation, suffering and death. But the Old Testament told all about it. Isaiah said His face would be so marred, more than any man, and His body, more than the sons of men. He would be literally disfigured and He was in His crucifixion.
In the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, that tender plant would come up out of Jesse but He would be despised and He would be rejected and He would become a man of sorrows and He would be acquainted with grief. He would be led, said Isaiah, like a sl...like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep doesn't say anything before its shearers, so He wouldn't open His mouth and He didn't. And Isaiah saw Him dying a violent death. He was cut off from the land of the living. Daniel even echoed that. Daniel said, "Messiah will be cut off."
And the psalmist saw some of the details. The psalmist said He would be betrayed by one of His own. Yes, says the psalmist, “My own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate My bread, he lifted up His heel against Me.” Zechariah even predicted that He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver and that the money would be given to the potter and that's what happened. Judas, with the money burning in his hands for his reprehensible betrayal, went back to the temple, threw the money at the religious leaders who then scooped it up and bought a potter's field to bury strangers in. Zechariah also said that when the shepherd is smitten, the sheep will scatter. And when Jesus was taken, the disciples split. All the details, the picture is unmistakable.
Isaiah in the 53rd chapter even sees Jesus moving from one tribunal to another in the mockery of His trial. The psalmist foretold that He would be brought before men who would bear false witness against Him and lie. Isaiah saw Him scourged and spit on. The psalmist saw the actual manner of His death. Psalm 22, "They pierced My hands and My feet." Isaiah said He will be reckoned with criminals and murderers. The psalmist said He would be mocked by the people who passed by who would wag their heads at Him. The psalmist also said they would gamble for His clothes and give Him vinegar to drink, and they did. And the psalmist said, when He's on the cross He'll say, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" and that's exactly what He said. The psalmist even wrote, "Reproach has broken My heart." Anticipating that He would die not by crucifixion, asphyxiation or having His legs broken, but His heart shattered by the weight of the reproach of sinners placed on Him. Not a bone of Him would be broken, Zechariah said. And when the soldiers came by to break the legs of Jesus to hasten His death because when they broke the legs, the crucified person could no longer push up and pushing up is how you allowed yourself to breathe, as soon as the legs were broken, the slump would crush His lungs and His life would be gone. But the Old Testament says not a bone of Him would be broken. That's actually the Psalms, Psalm 34. And they weren't because when they got to Jesus to break His legs, He was already gone. Reproach had broken His heart. Zechariah said, "They'll look on Him whom they pierced." Well, they pierced Him not only in hands and feet, but they ran a sword into His side. Isaiah said, "Though they had made His grave with the wicked," that is he said they intended to bury Him with criminals, "yet His grave was with the rich." You remember they were going to throw Him in a criminal's cemetery, but Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, came along and took His body and put it in a proper place.
The Old Testament even predicts His resurrection. Psalm 16, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither will Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show Me the path of life." I'm going right through the grave and out the other side with no corruption. Isaiah said He will make His soul an offering for sin, Isaiah 53. "But He will see His seed, He will prolong His days. He will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied." He'll accomplish what He needed to through death and He'll live forever, that's what Isaiah was saying.
Job, the oldest book in the Old Testament, predicted He would come again. Job said, "My Redeemer lives and I know that He will stand at the latter day upon the earth." And not only that, Job said, "I will see Him for Myself." Job believed that His Redeemer would stand and live and welcome Job into His presence. Zechariah even said when He comes back His feet will go onto the Mount of Olives and He will become the King over all the earth and reign forever and ever. Malachi said when He comes in judgment, He will judge the ungodly in a terrible holocaust called the Day of the Lord. But He will spare those who belong to Him, and take them into His eternal care.
This is the One the Old Testament calls the Expected One. But the great prophet John had some doubts because so much of what I've just given you apparently wasn't in the forefront of Jewish thinking. It was all about the triumph, all about the victory, all about the sovereignty, all about the kingdom, all about the rule, the glory and they overlooked the humiliation part. And the way things were going John's mind had become confused. The angels knew He would be the Expected One. The shepherds knew, the wise men knew, certainly Mary knew. Eventually the apostles knew. And John just needed to be sure. "Are You the Expected One?"
Well, how did Jesus answer? Go back to verse 21, Luke 7. We're going to look at this text, by the way, in detail next week. This is just a kind of overview. At that very time with those two disciples from John there, at that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits and granted sight to many who were blind. He just did a flit, a flurry of miracles all over the place, chu-chu-chu-chu-chu-chu-chu, instantaneous; gave them a private display of divine power. "And He answered and said to them," there's your answer, "'Go and report to John what you have seen and heard. The blind receive sight. The lame walk. The lepers are cleansed. The deaf hear. The dead are raised up. The poor have the gospel preached to them.'" Now John would have known that certainly the blind receiving sight and the gospel being preached to the poor comes from Isaiah 61 so Jesus was fulfilling Old Testament prophecy. But the fact that He could give sight to the blind, He could make lame people walk, lepers be cleansed, deaf people hear, and raise dead people was a clear indication of who He was, right? Just tell John what you saw firsthand.
Jesus couldn't fulfill all the prophecies for John. If John had been on the other side of the cross, I don't think He would have asked Him. If John had been on the other side of the resurrection, he wouldn't have asked. John doesn't make it to that point. He gets beheaded. So not all the prophecies are going to come to pass, so Jesus says, "Just tell him what you saw Me do." And then He adds in verse 23, "And blessed is he that keeps from stumbling over Me."
What did He mean by that? Don't be offended by the truth, people. Don't be skeptical. Just believe and be eternally blessed, right? The evidence is consummate. Don't stumble, just believe and especially now. You have what John didn't have, all the rest of the New Testament with all of its indications of the fact that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the Coming One. He's all you need. He's all we need. He's all we want. Christ is our all in all. He said, "I am the Christ," and He met our need for a Savior. He said, "I am the Bread of life," and He met the hunger of our souls. He said, "I am the Light of the World," and He dispelled our darkness. He said, "I am the Door of the sheep," and He ended our spiritual homelessness. He said, "I am the Good Shepherd," and He took us into His fold. He said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life," and He conquered our death. He said, "I am your Master," and He provided for our dependence. He said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," and He took us to God.
Do you believe? If you do you are blessed. If you stumble, you are cursed. Blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me. Don't be offended by the truth, don't be skeptical, believe and be saved.
We honor You, Lord Jesus, this morning. You are the Coming One. You are the Expected One. There is no doubt and that is why we call You Lord. That is why we give You our life, all of it, holding nothing back. We are satisfied. We don't need angels, we have Scripture. The outline of the Old Testament is perfectly clear and can only be filled in by the majestic colors of Christ that appear in the New Testament. The picture is clear, Jesus is the Coming One and we confess Him as Lord and Savior gratefully. Amen.
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