Mystery of the Messiah
What Bible study is mentioned twelve times in one book of the Bible, was given on seven different occasions by seven different people, and is hardly ever offered today?
Jesus as the Old Testament’s Messiah of Israel!
In the early years of Christianity there was no New Testament. Jesus taught from the Hebrew Scriptures, and after His resurrection the first lesson He gave came straight from the Old Testament:
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
— Luke 24:25
Peter, Stephen, Philip, Paul, Apollos, Aquila, and Aquila’s wife Priscilla each had the important challenge of presenting Jesus as the Messiah from the Tanakh, the Hebrew Old Testament. Collectively, these lessons were recorded on 12 different occasions:
- Acts 2:22–38 – Peter’s first sermon
- Acts 3:18–26 – Peter’s second sermon
- Acts 7 – Stephen before the Sanhedrin
- Acts 8: 26–39 – Philip and the Ethiopian Treasurer
- Acts 9:20–22 – Saul at Damascus
- Acts 10:42–43 – Peter’s sermon to the Gentiles
- Acts 13:16–41 – Paul’s sermon at Antioch
- Acts 17:2–3 – Paul at Thessalonica
- Acts 18:5 – Paul at Corinth
- Acts 18:24–28 – Apollos, Aquila, and Priscilla at Ephesus and Corinth
- Acts 26:23 – Paul at Agrippa
- Acts 28:23 – Paul at Rome
Not once in these passages did Paul or Peter preach without mentioning the Resurrection of Christ. They never let that chance go by, even when they were defending themselves against the authorities. In every case, they reminded their adversaries that, though they had killed Jesus, He had beaten death. We can imagine how frustrated these disbelieving persecutors must have been as Paul and Peter rubbed their noses in the mess the Jewish authorities had created.
Jesus Himself adds two more to this list, two occasions in which He presented Himself from the Scriptures:
- Luke 24:13–27 – Jesus with two disciples on the way to Emmaus
- Luke 24:44–48 – Jesus with the Apostles in the Upper Room
What words did Jesus give to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus that Sunday morning? That must have been quite some walk! What passages did Jesus quote in reference to Himself in order to open the understandings of Cleopas and his companion?
Through the pages of this book, we begin our own journey to answer that question, to retrace the footsteps of the Messiah.
In the Beginning
The first prophecy of the Messiah does not show up in Isaiah or even in Deuteronomy. To find the first indication of the Messiah in the Old Testament, one simply has to turn to the first few pages of Genesis. Immediately after the sin of our first parents is exposed, God declares His plan of redemption to Adam and Eve (and Satan). He tells the Serpent:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
— Genesis 3:15
That’s a strange statement to make, that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent. The seed of humanity even then was believed to come from the man. We now know that the sperm of a man fertilizes the egg of a woman, thus giving rise to the zygote—that both contribute to the new life in the womb.
It is strange that Genesis 3:15 refers to the “seed of the woman” rather than the seed of Adam. We know from the New Testament, though, that God had a sound reason for referencing the prophetic offspring in this manner; Jesus, the Messiah, came by way of God’s work in Mary while she remained a virgin, not sexually known by a man.
Genesis 3:20 refers to Eve as the Mother of all living. And she is. From Eve came all men, even Jesus Christ, by whom we gain eternal life.
This excerpt is from Dr. Chuck Missler’s book Footprints of the Messiah, now available in print and eBook from resources.khouse.org. Also available in Kindle format from Amazon.