Sunday, December 17, 2006

Writings That Point To Christ

Intro.: Over the years I have dabbled in poetry.

  1. In the fall of 1997 I was driving back from church. As I drove along, a leaf crossed my path. It looked as if it were a small animal creeping along the ground. A couple of days later I wrote the following:

    The Leaf

Today a leaf danced across my path.

It did a little jig as it moved upon the ground,

urged along by unseen hands.

Dry and tender, it waltzed in step with the trees

who clapped their hands to the tune of some

silent melody.

I moved on, perhaps never again to see that sight,

though leaves will dance and waltz tomorrow.1

  1. I can appreciate the dilemma that a writer faces – between writing a simple statement and then communicating what is coming from the heart.

  2. Over the past two weeks, we have looked at the picture of the Messiah in the Law and the historical books of the Old Testament

  3. Today we turn to those books that are grouped together under the title "The Writings".


Trans: The writing cover a broad period of time.

  1. Job is considered one of the earliest pieces of writing

  2. Though David is writing most of the Psalms in about 1000 BC, some of the Psalms date three or four hundred years later. Some would date them several hundred years earlier.

  3. But regardless of when they are writing, the authors of these books, kept their eyes on God.

T.S. This morning, I would like to look at two passages from the writings that focus our attention on the coming Christ.

  1. Job shows a man of great faith in the midst of great trouble.

    1. The author of the Word Biblical Commentary on Job that he makes no pretensions to understand what the book of Job is all about. Even given unlimited time – it would be an impossible task.2

    2. Here is a man who lost it all. He lost his health, he lost his wealth, and he lost his family – he had nothing.

    3. Even his friends seem to betray him – even seeking to get him to curse God.

    4. I would not want to be Job.

    5. Yet in the midst of all of his problems, Job keeps his faith. Not just once or twice or three times, but four times Job testifies to God's goodness even in the midst of crisis.

    6. Turn with me to Job 19:25-27. We are at the end of Job's story – yet he continues to praise God.

    7. Job know that a redeemer is available. Various translators have chosen different words to describe the word "redeemer" – defender, champion, but the vast majority of translators use the word with which we are familiar – "redeemer."

(Ill.) Those of you who went through the book of Ruth with me in Bible Study have seen this word before. It is the same word used to describe Boaz's responsibility to Ruth – where he is called the "kinsman redeemer". Just as Boaz offers to let Ruth join his family after his cousin, her husband, dies, Christ invites us to join his family.

    1. And Job knows that he, in spite of his miserable circumstances, is a part of the family of God.

(Ill.) "I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God" – a Bill Gaither song actually had its roots in a similar circumstance in their church in Anderson, IN. They heard of a young man in the community who had been severely burned when an explosion demolished the garage where he worked. Doctors did not expect him to live through the night.

A church prayer chain was activated, and church members prayed all night for the young man. When church members gathered to celebrate Easter the next day, they received word that the young man was recover­ing. The pastor reported that he had just spoken to the doctor, who told him the young man had a good chance of pulling through. They rejoiced in the answer to prayer.

As Bill and Gloria Gaither went home after the church service, they talked about what a wonderful thing it is to be a part of a family of believ­ers and to be able to pray together to our Father in heaven. Before long, a new gospel song was born: "The Family of God."3 I am so glad I am a part of the family of God.2

I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God

I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!

Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,

For I'm part of the family, the family of God.

  1. Psalms show a man of great insight who tells of one that brings us great delight.

    1. The biggest book included in what both ancient writers and modern writers call "the writings" is the book of Psalms. 15 Psalms have been identified as Messianic Psalms – Psalms that direct the readers attention to a coming Messiah.

    2. Though the Psalms are the work of multiple authors, many come from the pen the David the King. David can be dated from 1000 years before Christ.

    3. And writing 1000 years before Christ, David had some amazing things to say. Listen to what he wrote in Psalm 22:1-8, 16b-18

    4. I suppose that it would be simple to claim that Jesus merely memorized Psalm 22 and quoted it from the cross. But I see two problems with that.

      1. First, if I were in as much pain as Jesus had on the cross, I would not be able to quote the scripture I had memorized. It is much easier to assume that the words that came from the cross were truly the words of a man in pain and David was painting a picture of those moments 1000 years before they happened.19

      2. Secondly, though Jesus may have quoted the words that David wrote 1000 years before, there is no way in which he could have planned for the soldiers guarding the cross that day to follow the plan laid out in in verses 16-18. David could not know that death would come by crucifixion and putting nails into the hands and feet of the one being crucified. Jesus could not have arranged for the soldiers to cast lots for his clothing.

(Ill.) You see, the Messianic Psalms point to a coming King, a coming leader. Next week we shall see that the prophets point to a baby being born in Bethlehem.

Handel wrote his famous work The Messiah in 24 days – several months before traveling to Ireland. Finally, after spending five months in Ireland, it was performed – not is a church, not in a wonderful concert hall, but in a theater – where it would attract the common people in order to benefit people in debtor's prison.

And it was because it was performed in a rather common theater, that was not initially well received. In fact it would be ten years before it would begin achieve the critical success that it enjoys today. Yet, during those first years, a contemporary wrote, that "Messiah 'fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and fostered the orphan.'"4

    1. The Messiah is still in the business of helping those most in need.

Conclusion: We can think of the Messiah in three ways:

  1. He was promised in the Old Testament

  2. He lived in the New Testament

  3. But He thrives in the lives and hearts of those who believe in Him today.


1Copyright Floyd H. Johnson, 2006.

2Clines, D. J. A. (2002). Vol. 17: Word Biblical Commentary : Job 1-20. Word Biblical Commentary (xiv). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

3Petersen, W. J. and Petersen, A. (2006). The Complete Book of Hymns: Inspiring Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.


1 comment:

Lance Eh. said...

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