Sermon: Christ and the Scriptures
Scripture: Matthew 5:17-20
In this week’s lessons, we see what Jesus’ view of Scripture was and how he used it in his ministry.
Theme: Fulfillment of Scripture
After his temptation Jesus left the area of the Jordan where it had taken place and went back home to Nazareth, where he began his formal ministry. He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and was asked to read the Scripture. He took the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and opened it to chapter 61, verses 1 and 2, and read: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). When he had finished reading he put the scroll down and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). This was astounding. Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah, the one about whom Isaiah had written. And he was identifying his forthcoming ministry with the lines set out for it in Scripture hundreds of years before.
Sometime later in the early months of the ministry we find disciples of John the Baptist coming to Jesus with John’s question, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3). Jesus answers by a second reference to this same section of Isaiah’s prophecy. He told them to look at Isaiah and read what he foretold about the Messiah, and then see if he is fulfilling it. In other words, Jesus challenged other people to evaluate his ministry in the light of God’s Word.
On one occasion the Sadducees came to him with a trick question about the status of marriage in heaven and the reality of the resurrection. Jesus answered, first, by a rebuke that they did not know either the Scriptures or the power of God and, second, by a direct quotation from Exodus 3:6 in which the point of the quotation consisted in the tense of the verb: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” According to Christ’s argument, there must be a resurrection, otherwise God would have said, “I was the God of Abraham” and not “I am.” He proved the doctrine of the resurrection by the difference between the tenses of a Hebrew verb. On many occasions Jesus appealed to the Scriptures in support of his actions–in defense of his cleansing of the temple (Mark 11:15-17), in reference to his submission to the cross (Matt. 26:53-54). He taught that “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). He foretold the scattering of the disciples on the night of his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane because, as he said, “It is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered,'” a quotation from Zechariah 13:7 (Mark 14:27).
What was the significance of Jesus’ reading from Isaiah 61?
How did Jesus prove the reality of the resurrection when he was challenged by the Sadducees?
Where else in Matthew, Mark, and Luke does Jesus answer a challenge by appealing to Scripture?
Application: Given how Jesus viewed the Bible, be diligent in your own reading and study of Scripture, and be careful not to allow other activities to interfere with your time spent in God’s Word.
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “The Fulfilling of the Law.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)