February 22, 2016
In John 1:11 we read, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” And just how is it that Jesus’ own people did not see Him as the promised Messiah? Were they looking for another type of Messiah? Did they expect a warlike hero to come and vanquish their enemies? Or was it because familiarity breeds contempt (Luke 4:24)? It was as though the Christ’s own people could not see the forest for the trees. In this article, Don Suleski expertly makes the case that, the Jews were blinded to who Jesus was by their own preconceived notions regarding what and who the Messiah ought to be. – C. David Ragland, Jr.
Paul attends a synagogue reading of the law and prophets, and afterward, the teachers ask Paul and his company: “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.” They had heard of Paul’s studiousness and devotion to the law. So, they wanted to see if he had anything to add to the day’s reading. Paul then gives a brief account of God’s work and efforts to reach His people in verses 16-22. In doing so, he reminds them of God’s promise for the coming Messiah, Jesus.
Paul verifies that Jesus is the Messiah by pointing to the prophecies that Jesus would rise from the dead, and that the very law and prophets that they read from every day have been fulfilled:
38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
At this point, Paul has shown the assembly that Jesus Christ has been revealed as the Messiah that they have been looking for, that the law and prophets have FORETOLD of in symbolism and prophesy. This moment, all in hearing have to make a choice: to believe in Him, or reject Jesus as the Messiah and continue practicing the ceremonial and law of Moses.
What Paul announces next is a fair warning that, if they deny Jesus as their Messiah, and continue under their traditions, instead of embracing God’s plan of salvation, God will perform “a work they wouldn’t believe:”
40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:
41 ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’”
Paul is quoting Habakkuk 1:5, where after so many years of the nation of Israel turning away from God, He is finally going to discipline them. Paul is warning the teachers in the synagogue that they are repeating the very same mistake, but much worse, as Jesus has come: the law and prophets words have been fulfilled!!!!
In Habakkuk 1, Habakkuk cries out to the Lord about Israel’s defiance and wicked practices. In response, God tells Habakkuk that He is raising up the Chaldeans to correct their wickedness. The Chaldeans (or often referred to as Babylonians) were a fearful and heartless nation, who were evil and wicked.
No one in Israel would have imagined that God’s plan would be to use an evil nation to correct them from their backslidden ways, after all: they were God’s chosen people, with the Holy Temple right in front of them!
God had actually told them this would happen, right in Deuteronomy 28:15-57. Right from the very book they read from daily, they still chose to believe they were pleasing God. The truth is that their stubborn hearts did not want to truly listen to what the law and prophets were actually made for. You see, the law was to show that God is Holy, and man will never be like Him. The priests and teachers of the Law believed that they were holy, just by following their traditions and ceremonies. The prophets called out to their deaf ears, and tried to get Israel to listen to the true plan of salvation, that begins in their hearts.
It was in 70 AD that the Roman Empire destroyed the temple, the nation of Israel was in ruins, and had the same style of correction as the days of Daniel and Babylon. A stiff necked nation, built by the hand of God, raised up into prosperity, yet forgot that God wanted a true relationship with them, were almost completely wiped out more than once by the same function. This entire message is echoed to all of mankind and represents God having amazing patience, a punishment for wickedness, but most of all: the expectancy of His people to hold fast to the truly amazing work of Salvation through the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and to stop believing that their works have anything to do with salvation.