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Against All Odds
Luke 24:13-35
Skip Heitzig

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Luke 24 (NKJV™)
13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.
16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
17 And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?"
18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?"
19 And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
20 "and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.
21 "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
22 "Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.
23 "When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive.
24 "And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see."
25 Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.
29 But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And He went in to stay with them.
30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"
33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
34 saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"
35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Against All Odds

In this series, we examine together the remarkable nature of predictive biblical prophecy. The odds of one person in history fulfilling the precise prognostications of Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah are nothing short of staggering. One of the first groups to ever be wowed by it was a few of the disciples after the resurrection of Christ. Their experience went from sorrow to joy in a single afternoon. A similar examination of prophecy will do the same for us.

Did you know that you have a one in 136,011 chance of death by lightning strike? Your odds of winning the Powerball lottery are only one in 292 million. In this series, Skip Heitzig investigates a number of biblical prophecies that would be impossible for Jesus to fulfill unless He was God Himself. So whether you're a skeptic or you want to strengthen your faith, join us for Against All Odds.

Outline

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  1. A Sorrowful Walk (vv. 13-24)

    1. Their Expectations

    2. Their Disappointment


  2. A Scriptural Talk (vv. 25-27)


    1. The Prophets Foretold

    2. Jesus Fulfilled


  3. A Satisfied Flock (vv. 28-35)


    1. Opened Eyes

    2. Burning Heart


Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: January 8, 2017
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Against All Odds"
Text:  Luke 24:13-35

Path

In this new series, Pastor Skip examines the remarkable nature of predictive biblical prophecy. The odds of one person in history fulfilling the precise prognostications of Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah are nothing short of staggering. One of the first groups to ever be wowed by it was a few disciples after the resurrection of Christ. Their experience went from sorrow to joy in a single afternoon. A similar examination of prophecy will do the same for us.
  1. A Sorrowful Walk (vv. 13-24)
  2. A Scriptural Talk (vv. 25-27)
  3. A Satisfied Flock (vv. 28.35)

Points

A Sorrowful Walk
  • Probability deals with the odds or likelihood of something occurring.
  • When the God-factor is added, there are no chances; it changes everything.
  • Prophecy shows us that God works against the odds. He announces the incident in advance and gives details, demonstrating that He is in control and orchestrates proceedings according to His will.
  • Difficulty is measured by the capacity of the person doing the work. God uses prophecy as hard evidence (see Isaiah 41), and prophecy can bolster faith.
  • There are three credentials of Christ:
    • He had a significant impact on history.
    • He was physically resurrected.
    • He fulfilled prophecy.
  • In this text in Luke, two followers of Christ were discussing Jesus' death—a time of sorrow for them—when He appeared to them.
  • Their expectations: 
    • The disciples expected a conquering Messiah; they got a crucified man.
    • The disciples expected a political leader; they got a prophet.
    • The disciples expected the Lion of Judah; they got the Lamb of God.
  • Their disappointment:
    • The disciples were honest in their answers. They spoke in the past tense—He "was a Prophet" (v. 19) and "we were hoping" (v. 21)—showing their disappointment in the events that transpired. When Jesus died, the disciples' hope died with Him. The truth is, it was just beginning.
A Scriptural Talk
  • Jesus reveals Himself to us through His Word.
  • Jesus began with an admonition and then moved to an exposition.
  • If we're slow to believe God's promises, we'll be slow to receive His benefits.
  • The prophets foretold—possible areas Jesus touched on in His discourse:
    • Genesis 3 and Genesis 22; Exodus 12; practices in Leviticus: sacrifices, tabernacles, and festivals; Numbers 21; Psalm 16 and Psalm 22; Isaiah 7, Isaiah 9, and Isaiah 53
  • Jesus fulfilled:
    • Over one quarter of the Bible is prophetic: 26.8 percent.
    • Predictions are one thing; fulfillment is another. Jesus fulfilled compound probabilities—details given to multiple, specific events.
    • There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus. Consider these sixteen predictions:
      • Born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14)
      • Born in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2)
      • From the tribe of Judah (see Genesis 49:10)
      • Began ministry in Galilee (see Isaiah 9:1-2)
      • Worked miracles (see Isaiah 35:5-6)
      • Entered Jerusalem on a donkey (see Zechariah 9:9)
      • Betrayed by a friend (see Psalm 41:39)
      • Betrayed for silver (see Zechariah 11:12)
      • Wounded and bruised (see Isaiah 53:5)
      • Hands and feet pierced (see Psalm 22:16)
      • Crucified (see Isaiah 53:12)
      • Garments torn (see Psalm 22:18)
      • Bones not broken (see Psalm 34:20)
      • Side pierced (see Zechariah 12:10)
      • Buried in rich tomb (see Isaiah 53:9)
      • Will rise from the dead (see Psalm 16:8-11)
    • In his book Science Speaks, Peter Stoner said the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled is one in 1017. The probability of sixteen prophecies being fulfilled is one in 1045. The probability of forty-eight prophecies being fulfilled is one in 10157. Imagine the number for 300 prophecies!
    • What we know should help carry us for what we don't know.
A Satisfied Flock
  • Opened eyes:
    • Jesus doesn't force Himself on anybody. The disciples invited Jesus and He opened their eyes.
  • Burning heart:
    • The disciples stopped talking and started listening and their hearts burned after Jesus spoke to them. The burning heart was a new understanding of old things. Jesus gave a new application of the old revelation.
    • We guard against people who proclaim new things that are not connected to the old revelations and God's words (found in the Bible).
Practice

Connect Up: What does fulfilled prophecy tell us about God (e.g., His all-knowing nature [omniscience] and His sovereignty)? When prophecy is fulfilled our faith goes up. How does fulfilled prophecy increase your faith?

Connect In: How can fulfilled prophecy strengthen our relationship with other Christians within the church? Why is prophecy important to understand and proclaim within the body of Christ?

Connect Out: How can you use fulfilled prophecy in evangelism, conveying that a God so precise is worth following? Look into some of the fulfilled prophecies shared in this message, memorize them, and integrate them in your outreach.

Detailed Notes

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Introduction
    1. When we talk about the chances or odds of something, we are speaking of the likelihood of the unfolding of a future event
      1. Some things are less likely to happen than others
        1. Plane crash
        2. Shark attack
      2. Some things are more likely to happen
        1. Being a victim of a serious crime
        2. Dying in a car accident
        3. Being audited by the IRS
    2. The God factor
      1. When you bring God into a situation, there is no such thing as chance
      2. A virgin birth was against all odds, but with God, nothing is impossible (see Luke 1:26-38)
      3. Many situations in Scripture were against all odds
        1. Lightning from heaven (see 1 Kings 18:36-38)
        2. Hailstones from the sky (see Exodus 9:18-26)
        3. Darkness that covered the land for three hours (see Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44)
    3. God predicted over and over again that He would defy the odds
      1. Layers and layers of details
      2. Odds are exponentially decreased
      3. He can tell the future with detailed accuracy (see Isaiah 41:21-23)
      4. Jesus said fulfilled prophecy will bolster your faith (see John 13:19)
    4. Three basic credentials of Jesus Christ
      1. His impact on history
      2. His physical, bodily resurrection from the dead
      3. Fulfilled prophecy
  1. A Sorrowful Walk (vv. 13-24)
    1. The disciples were at a low point
      1. They did not know Jesus had been resurrected
      2. They were venting
    2. Their expectations
      1. They expected a conquering Messiah; they got a crucified Man
      2. They expected a politician; they got a Prophet
      3. They expected the glorious Lion of Judah; they got the humble Lamb of God
      4. They did not recognize Jesus
        1. They were not expecting Him
        2. Many people did not recognize Him
          1. Mary (see John 20:15)
          2. His disciples (see Matthew 14:25-26; Mark 6:49)
        3. Their eyes were restrained
          1. They were kept from recognizing Jesus
          2. They could express honestly their thoughts and feelings about Him
    3. Their disappointment
      1. They talked about Jesus in the past tense
      2. When Jesus died on the cross, their hopes died with Him
    4. Jesus revealed Himself to them not through their sight, but through their ears as they listened to Him talk about Scripture (see Romans 10:17)
  2. A Scriptural Talk (vv. 25-27)
    1. Jesus rebuked them, then informed them
      1. "Slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken" (v. 25)
        1. Some people are slow of heart to believe the things of the Scripture
        2. If you are slow to believe God's promises, you will be slow to receive His benefits
      2. The first Bible study Jesus gave after His resurrection was an exposition on biblical prophecy
    2. The prophets foretold
      1. Jesus started at Moses and expounded on all Scriptures about Himself
        1. He would crush Satan (see Genesis 3:15)
        2. He, God's only Son, would be sacrificed, just as Abraham almost sacrificed his only son whom he loved (see Genesis 22:2-18)
          1. First time love is mentioned in Scripture: love of a father sacrificing his son
          2. Same mountain Jesus would be sacrificed on
        3. He would be the perfect Lamb sacrifice (see Exodus 12:1-27)
        4. Practices in Leviticus
          1. Sacrifices
          2. Tabernacles
          3. Festivals
        5. He would be lifted up (see Numbers 21:8-9; John 3:14)
        6. He would die by crucifixion (see Psalm 2; 16; 22)
        7. He would be born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14-16)
        8. He would be a Child (see Isaiah 9:6-7)
      2. One-fourth of the Bible is prophecy
    3. Jesus fulfilled
      1. Anyone can make predictions; getting them fulfilled is another story
      2. The more detailed the prophecy, the less probable it will come to pass
      3. There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus
      4. Just sixteen of those prophecies:
        1. Born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14)
        2. Born in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2)
        3. From the tribe of Judah (see Genesis 49:10)
        4. Begin ministry in Galilee (see Isaiah 9:1-2)
        5. Work miracles (see Isaiah 35:5-6)
        6. Enter Jerusalem on a donkey (see Zechariah 9:9)
        7. Betrayed by a friend (see Psalm 41:39)
        8. Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (see Zechariah 11:12)
        9. Wounded and bruised (see Isaiah 53:5)
        10. Hands and feet pierced (see Psalm 22:16)
        11. Crucified (see Isaiah 53:12)
        12. Garments torn (Psalm 22:18)
        13. Bones not broken (see Psalm 22:17; 34:20)
        14. Side pierced (see Zechariah 12:10)
        15. Buried in a rich man's tomb (see Isaiah 53:9)
        16. Would rise from the dead (see Psalm 16:8-11)
      5. Some of these are impossible to manage
        1. In his book Science Speaks, Peter Stoner calculated the probability of one man fulfilling the messianic prophecies
          1. Eight fulfilled prophecies: one in 1017
          2. Sixteen fulfilled prophecies: one in 1045
          3. Forty-eight fulfilled prophecies: one in 10157
        2. There is no way to explain the Bible's ability to predict the future unless you see God as the author
      6. We should not be amazed at these fulfilled prophecies, because God is omniscient—all-knowing (see John 5:39)
      7. When the prophets wrote these things, they didn't always know what they were writing (see 1 Peter 1:10-11)
  3. A Satisfied Flock (vv. 28-35)
    1. Opened eyes
      1. When they arrived at their destination, Jesus acted like He was going to keep going, but the disciples begged Him to stay
      2. Jesus will never force Himself on anyone
      3. He works by invitation only (see Revelation 3:20)
    2. Burning hearts
      1. Their hearts burned when they stopped talking and started listening to what He was saying to them
      2. A new understanding of old things
      3. Jesus didn't tell them anything they didn't know
      4. We do not need a new revelation; we need a new application of the old revelation
  4. Closing
    1. A God who is this detailed and accurate deserves our trust
    2. He can handle our problems and issues

Works referenced: Dumb and Dumber, Science Speaks

Figures referenced: Jeane Dixon, Peter Stoner

Cross references: Genesis 3:15; 22:2-18; 49:10; Exodus 9:18-26; 12:1-27; Numbers 21:8-9; 1 Kings 18:36-38; Psalm 2; 16; 22; 34:20; 41:39; Isaiah 7:14-16; 9:1-2, 6-7; 35:5-6; 41:21-23; 53:5, 9, 12; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9; 11:12; 12:10; Matthew 14:25-26; 27:45; Mark 6:49; 15:33; Luke 1:26-38; 23:44; John 3:14; 5:39; 13:19; 20:15; Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:10-11; Revelation 3:20

Topic: Prophecy

Keywords: prophecy, future, predictions, Scripture, Messiah, prophets, omniscient, revelation, trust

Keywords: prophecy, future, predictions, Scripture, Messiah, prophets, omniscient, revelation, trust

Transcript

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Hello, and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. As these teachings are shared worldwide, our prayer is that God uses them to bring more people into His family. If this message encourages you, we'd love to hear about it. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org.

And if you'd like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calveryabq.org/give. The odds of one person in history fulfilling the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament are nothing short of staggering. As we begin our new series, "Against All Odds," Skip examines the remarkable nature of biblical prophecy. Now, let's turn in our Bibles the Luke chapter 24 as he begins.

Well, we want to welcome you to our series, "Against All Odds." Let me take you back to a classic moment in America cinematography. The movie is Dumb and Dumber, and Lloyd, played by Jim Carrey, finds that he is in love with this beautiful girl-- her character is Mary in the film. And she is part of this scheme he's trying to rescue her from. And in one moment they're alone together, and he says, "So what do you think the chances are of a guy like me and a girl like you ending up together?" And she says, "Not good." And he persists, "Not good, like one out of 100?" She says, "No, I'd say more like one out of a million." Then there's that classic line, long pause, and goes "So you're telling me there's a chance. Yeah." It's a great moment what she's trying to say is, ain't no chance. But he sees a glimmer of hope.

Whenever we talk about chance or odds we are describing the possible unfolding of a event, a future event, the likeliness that an event will occur. There are just some things that are less likely to happen than others. For example, the odds that you would die in a plane crash are one in 12 million. The odds that you would be attacked and killed by a shark are one in 11,500,000. That's five per year. There are other creatures that the odds would be much greater. You know how many people are killed every year by a hippopotamus? 2,900. So that's a lot higher on the list than a shark. But then there are events that you are more likely than other events to have happen. As an example, the odds of being a victim of a serious crime, one in 20. The odds of dying in a car accident, one in 100. And the odds of being audited by the IRS, one in 175. So it's pretty high.

Yet as believers, there's something we always have to consider. When we talk about odds or chance, the big caveat for us is the God factor. That changes everything, because when you bring God into the situation, there's no chance, even though we kind of look at events that way. You remember when the angel announced to Mary, a virgin living in Nazareth, that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, that's against all odds. And she said, how can this be? And one of the things the angels said is, for with God, nothing will be impossible. The Bible is filled with events. The historical record of the scripture speaks about events that have occurred that were against all odds, including lightning falling from Heaven at a precise moment; including hailstones coming out of the sky and targeting just the right people at the right time; including darkness that covered the land for three hours at the crucifixion. All of these events were against the odds. They defied the odds.

But did you know that God actually predicts over and over again that He will defy the odds? You see, God is so sure about what He does that He will announce what He's going to do in advance and then layer it with detail upon detail upon detail so that the odds of that ever happening have been exponentially decreased. In fact, God says that's one of His calling cards. He announces that you could compare Him to any other belief system, any other God, but they can't do what He can do.

Listen to this, this is Isaiah chapter 41. God says, "Present your case, set forth your arguments. Bring in your idols to tell what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come and tell us what the future holds, so that we may know that you are gods." Now God's showing off. He's saying, I can do what no one else can do. I can tell the future with incredible detail and accuracy. Can anyone else or any other deity do that? Then Jesus said that fulfilled prophecy will actually bolster your faith.

In the upper room, he was with his disciples. They were having the Passover together, and he made some predictions. He said, I'm going to die. Someone among you is going to betray me. And Peter, you're going to deny me. And then Jesus said this, "Now I have told you before it comes, so that when it does come to pass you may believe." I'm telling you this in advance so when it happens, you go oh, yeah, he said that was going to happen. Man, I believe now.

There are three basic credentials of Jesus Christ. Number one, his impact on history. No one, no person ever, has impacted human history to the extent that that one solitary individual, Jesus Christ, has. Second credential, his physical, bodily resurrection from the dead. He announced it before it happened. It happened. Third credential, fulfilled prophecy. Fulfilled prophecy. Most religions are based on the teachings of their founder. The philosophies, the philosophical postulates of the one who began the movement. There are about 25 or 26 books out in the world out there that claim to be scripture, but there's something absent from all of them except one-- detailed prophecy. Now some of them will make vague, general, mystical predictions that you look at and go, eh. But when it comes to detailed prophecy, they're absent, whether it's the Koran, the writings of Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, the Hindu Vedas. All of them lack what we're talking about in terms of detailed prophecy.

Now I've asked you to turn to Luke chapter 24, and what I want to do is take you through a familiar passage of scripture, one of my favorite narratives in the New Testament-- post-resurrection narratives. And it's a couple of disciples who are at the low point of their lives are taking a walk, Jesus shows up, they don't recognize him-- he's in cognito. He has a conversation with him. And we follow their journey. It begins with a sorrowful walk, it moves to a scriptural talk, and we are left with a satisfied flock. So I've even made it rhyme this week to make it more memorable. So let's just begin at the beginning.

Luke 24, verse 13. "Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all the things which had happened. And so it was when they conversed and reasoned that Jesus drew near and went with them, but their eyes were restrained so they did not know him. And he said to them, 'What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?' Then one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to him, 'Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem? And have you not known the things which happened there in these days?' And he said to them, 'What things?' So they said to him, 'The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we were hoping that it was he who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.'"

These two guys are pretty bummed out. It's after the death of Jesus. They are unaware that there is a resurrection. And they're at a low point. This is very typical. After any funeral, people get together and they vent. They talk out the situation. They talk out the loss. They share with one another very freely. But they are at the low point. Jesus notices they're sad and he asks them about it. Why are they at the low point? Because all of their expectations are over. They expected a conquering Messiah. What they got was a crucified man, from their perspective. They expected a politician. They got a prophet, from their perspective. What they really wanted was the glorious, mighty lion of Judah. What they got was the meek, humble, gentle lamb of God who was slain. That is not what they expected. That is not what they wanted.

So Jesus comes up. They don't recognize him. And you go, why didn't they recognize him? Well, first of all they're not expecting him. Right? They're not thinking, oh hi, Jesus. We kind of were waiting for you to show up. They just didn't-- the whole resurrection thing was beyond them. So they didn't expect him. But we also find that when Jesus appeared to people after his resurrection, a lot of them didn't recognize him. When Mary Magdalene was at the tomb, she thought he was a gardener. When our Lord shows up in Galilee from the shore and calls out to the disciples in the boat, they hear his voice and they can see His figure, but they don't recognize him. But here in our text, very specifically, we are told, notice, their eyes were restrained. That means their eyes were blocked. They were unable. They couldn't. They were kept from recognizing that this was Jesus. Now why is that? We're not told why.

But perhaps one of the reasons is because they could now express honestly their thoughts and feelings about Jesus and his claims. See, if Jesus showed up and went, ta-da, They'd have been so freaked out. They would have said all the right things. But they're really raw. And I heard a story once about one of the czars of Russia who wanted to find out what people really thought about his reign. So he would dress up like a peasant and move around the people and just talk politics. He said, I could always get honest answers, because they didn't know that I was who I was.

So verse 19 is a little humorous. He said to them, what things? See, they just said, are you the only stranger in Jerusalem you? You don't know the things that have happened? And Jesus goes, like what? I mean, you gotta laugh at that. He has been at the heart of everything that has happened in Jerusalem the last few days, but he wants them to tell him. And boy do they tell him. They start talking about Jesus, but not in hopeful terms but in past tense terms. He was a prophet. We were hoping he was the one. You know why they said that? Because when Jesus died on that cross, their hopes died with him. When that tomb was sealed with that stone, they thought, this is the end. They didn't know it was just the beginning. We were hoping in him.
Now watch how Jesus reveals himself in the next few verses. And here's what you're going to notice. He doesn't reveal himself by sight. He doesn't pull off the eye restraints just yet. He will. But he doesn't reveal himself visually to them, he reveals himself aurally to them. Not through their eye gate but through their ear gate. Not through their seeing but through their hearing. And that's a very important principle in Romans chapter 10. Now faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Not by seeing. He's going to reveal himself to them through the scripture.

So we go from a sorrowful walk now to this little conversation, a scriptural talk, verse 25. "Then he said to them, 'Oh foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?'" And here's the verse. "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." Notice Jesus begins with an admonition followed by an exposition. First he rebukes them, then he informs them. First he says, you're slow of heart, and then he fills their hearts with hope. Now it's an interesting phrase, do you notice it? Foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken.

I meet Christians all the time that are slow of heart to believe what the prophets have spoken. They're slow of heart to believe what the Bible says. It's not that they ditch the Bible, it's just certain parts of the Bible. They're slow of heart to believe that Jesus is actually going to come back again. They're slow of heart to believe the Bible's description of what Heaven is like. They're slow of heart to believe what the Bible says about marriage or divorce or purity. They like the Bible, but they like, you know, I like Psalm 23 and that little red letter thing right there, I like that little verse. I call this Dalmatian theology. They believe the Bible's inspired in spots. I like that spot and that spot and that spot, but not those spots.

But if you are slow to believe God's promises, you'll be slow to receive God's benefits. Now Jesus, in verse 27, gives them a Bible study. Now think about this. The first Bible study Jesus ever gave after the resurrection was an exposition of biblical prophecy. I just gotta tell you, honestly, I'm always disappointed when I read this verse because it's not included in the Bible. If there's one discourse that I wish was included, it's that one. When It must have been a lengthy one, because by the time he's done the sun is setting. And the evening comes. I mean, just imagine the greatest teacher explaining the greatest themes from the greatest book that bring the greatest blessings to us all.

But it says, beginning at Moses. That's the first five books of Moses-- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. That's where he began. Moses, then all the prophets. So I imagine that he began probably around Genesis chapter 3, and he said, hey guys, remember that prediction that a seed is going to be born? A child is going to be born who's going to crush the head of the serpent? That's me. He probably went over to Genesis 22. Remember when Abraham sacrificed, almost, his son Isaac on Mt. Moriah. Well, the mountain he was almost sacrificed on, the very mountain I was sacrificed on. And he may have even pointed out what we pointed out to you. In Genesis 22 God says to Abraham, take now your son, your only son, Isaac. He had two sons by that time, not one. But he refers to him as his only son, whom he loves. The very first time love is ever used in the Bible, it is used of a father sacrificing his only son on the same mountain Jesus would be sacrificed in.

Imagine being a disciple and having that be unfolded to you. He would have stopped at Exodus chapter 12, the story of the Passover lamb, the blood covering the lintels and doorposts. All figurative of him. He would have mentioned the Levitical sacrifices of the Old Testament, the tabernacle layout, the day of atonement, Yom Kippur, all being fulfilled in him.

Unquestionably, he would have mentioned Numbers 21, because he does in John chapter 3. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, the son of man must be lifted up.

He would have mentioned, no doubt, Psalm 2 and Psalm 16 and Psalm 22, which gives a detailed description of death by crucifixion hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented.

Certainly, he would have mentioned Isaiah chapter 7. "A virgin will conceive and bear a son and you will call his name Immanuel, which is God with us." And, two chapters later, he would have made mention of Isaiah chapter 9. "For unto us a child is born," right? You know that one? "Unto us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And his name will be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." He would have unfolded that to all of them. Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expound all the things concerning himself.

Let me ask you a question. How impressive is prophecy? See, that was a question that changed my life. When I was a young believer, and I was attacked by agnostic and atheistic professors where I was going to school, and I was surrounded in the medical profession by all sorts of cynics and critics, it was this study that made my faith ironclad. First of all, do you know how much of your Bible is prophetic, is prophetic literature? Do you know how much is prophecy? one fourth. One fourth of that Bible you have is about things in the future that have been fulfilled or are still waiting for their fulfillment. One fourth. To be exact, 26.8%, if you were to tally up all the verses, is prophetic. Now anybody can make predictions. Getting them fulfilled is quite another category, especially as you add detail. See, if you predict something, and then you add a detail and another detail and another detail, now you are entering the realm of compound probability that that thing could ever come to pass.

I'm going to mention a name, and some of are familiar, some of you probably are not familiar unless you only read about her. But in the 1950s and '60s, there was a pretty famous psychic in America named Jeane Dixon. And Jeane Dixon made several predictions, and she was catapulted into international status and fame, because supposedly she made the prediction of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I say supposedly, it really wasn't that. What she actually said in 1956 to Parade Magazine in an interview, is that the next president will be democratic and will die in office. That's what she said.

Now, what are the chances, 3 and 1/2 years before an election cycle, that a Democrat will win? 50%. There's only two parties back then that would, had any merit. What are the odds in that time era that any president would die in office? In the '50s and '60s, it's estimated it was 40% are the odds, because the president was largely unprotected like he is today. And number two, in that century, three presidents had died in office. So together, it was 20% chance that it could happen. It was one in five. Those were the odds. One in five that that could happen. So just making that statement, everybody oohed and aahed at Jeane Dixon.

What they failed to recognize are all of the false prophecies she made. That is the things she predicted that she got wrong. For example, she predicted World War III would start in 1954. We're still waiting for that to happen. She predicted that Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of JFK, would never remarry, and she did. She predicted the Panama Canal treaties would not be approved. They were. She predicted the Russians would be the first to the moon. They weren't. She made a number of predictions that fell flat and were simply not true. So when you compare that to the kind of prophecy we're talking about in the Bible and the odds, there's no comparison.

Let's just say, for example, I had in my pocket 10 pennies, 10 coins. I don't. I have mints. But let's say I had 10 coins, 10 pennies. And they were marked, all of them, consecutively, one through 10. So they're lying in my pocket, and I make a prediction that I'm going to reach in my pocket randomly, pick out a coin, and it's going to be the coin marked number one. My odds are one in 10, because there's 10 coins. Now, if I put it back and I make a prediction that I'm going to reach in my pocket and by random pick out coin marked number two, now my odds are exponentially decreased. It is now one in 100 that I could do number one and then number two. And if I make the prediction that I'm going to reach in my pocket 10 times and pull them out in consecutive order-- one, two, three four, all the way to 10-- my odds of doing that are one in 10 billion that that could happen. That would be mighty amazing forecasting to be able to pull that off.

Did you know that there are over 300 prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament? You see, in the Old Testament, the prophets-- Moses and the prophets, like it says here-- made a prediction that in the future God will enter human history in time and space as a man. He would be the fulfillment of the expectations of moshiach, Messiah, the Christ, the Jewish Messiah. He will be Immanuel, that is God with us. And there are many prophecies about where he would be born, what he would go through, what His circumstances would be like. So I'm going to read you 16 of them. I'm not going to give you 300. We'd be here for months. You'd be going, I'm hungry.

Here's 16 notable ones. That he would be born of a virgin. That narrows down to a small degree, Isaiah 7:14. That he'd be born in Bethlehem, Micah chapter 5, verse 2. That he would be born of the tribe of Judah, Genesis 49:10. That his ministry would begin in Galilee, Isaiah chapter 9, verse 1. That he would work miracles, Isaiah 35:5-6. That he would enter Jerusalem on a donkey, Zechariah 9:9. That he would be betrayed by a friend, Psalm 41, verse 9. That he'll be sold for 30 pieces of silver, Zechariah 11:12. That he would be wounded and bruised, Isaiah 53:5. That his hands and feet would be pierced, Psalm 22:16. That he be crucified with thieves, Isaiah 53:12. His garments would be torn and lots cast for them, Psalm 22:18. That his bones would not be broken, Psalm 34:20 and Psalm 22. That his side would be pierced, Zechariah 12:10. That he would be buried in a rich man's tomb, Isaiah 53:9. And that he would rise from the dead, Psalm 16, verse 10.

Now what are the likely-- what is the likelihood of any one person fulfilling all of those things? Because some of those predictions are impossible to manage. You can't decide where you're going to be born. You can't decide in advance who your mom's going to be, what tribe you're going to be born into. You can't do that. Well, this is something that a mathematics professor years ago, and many since, have looked at. They've, from their background, studied mathematical probability of anybody fulfilling those predictions. This guy that I'm mentioning is named Peter Stoner, professor emeritus of mathematics, Pasadena College and later on Westmont University in Santa Barbara. And he decided to write a book called Science Speaks. I have a copy at home. Science Speaks, a little book, where he looks at 48 predictions that Jesus fulfilled. 48 out of the 300. And it's about the odds of that happening.

So this is what he begins with. The odds of one man fulfilling just eight of those predictions is one in 10 to the 17th power. If you know math, you know that's a pretty sizable number. And so he illustrates how big of a number, what the odds are. It's so big that it's like this. If you took the state of Texas-- any Texans here? You got a big state. It takes, like, two days to drive through your state. And that's the speed limit. I mean, maybe if you go faster, I don't know. But it's a big state. If you took the state of Texas and filled the state of Texas two feet thick with silver dollars; pre-marked one of them-- so the whole state is filled with silver dollars-- pre-marked one of them, put a little black mark on one of them; blindfold a man; send him through the state of Texas. Say, you can go as long and as far as you want, but you select the one that I have pre-selected, blindfolded. His odds of doing that would be the same odds of one man historically all fulfilling eight prophecies. One in 10 to the 17th power.

Then he goes, wow, now what would it be for one man to fulfill 16 prophecies? Remember, I just read to you 16 of them. What are the odds of one man fulfilling those 16? Ready, one in 10 to the 45th power. In his book he illustrates, but you can't use the state of Texas. You can't even use the United States. So he says, imagine you create with your silver dollars a metal ball of solid silver. It would be so big that from the center of that sphere to the circumference of that sphere, would be the distance the earth is from the Sun times 30. So it's 93 million miles times 30. That's the distance from the center to the circumference. In other words, we're dealing with a metal ball of silver dollars that in diameter is 5,580,000,000 miles in diameter. You get my picture? OK, pre-mark your silver dollar and send that dude in there. The odds of him finding the pre-marked one as a blindfolded man would be the same odds that Jesus fulfilled 16 predictions.

Said Stoner, and I quote, "We find the chance that one man fulfilling all 48 prophecies is one in 10 to the 157th power." End quote. And he does illustrate it in the book, but he has to use electrons and I won't belabor it. This is the stuff, when I was struggling with my early faith, when I studied fulfilled prophecy it moved me toward an ironclad faith in Christ. For anybody to walk away, go well, you know, the Bible. It's just a good guess. Oh, that's kind of nice. It's like they don't have an IQ to say that. I mean, when you study this, there's no way to explain the Bible's ability to predict the future unless we see God as the author. Or the one who superintended the writing. Because the prediction is so precise it's undeniable. Bible prophecy isn't a good guess. It always has multiple contingencies and multiple features that cannot be known and cannot be controlled. And it's simply a proof of divine authorship.

Now, when I read that I was amazed. And then I remember thinking, and I still think, you know, I really shouldn't be amazed. Because the Bible so often says that God knows everything, right? He's omniscient. That's the word, He's omniscient. He knows everything. If He knows everything, He knows future things. No wonder if Jesus said to his critics, "Search the scriptures, for in them you think that you have eternal life, but these are they which testify about me." Did you know that when the prophets said those things they didn't always understand what they were writing? You know that, right? They made a lot of predictions. Some about events that would happen in the short term, other events that what happen in the long term, about cities, about nations, about governments, et cetera. But many of them about this one person, sandwiched in between all of them. So they didn't always understand what was going on.

Listen to what Peter says. 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 10. "The prophets prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you, even though they had many questions as to what it could all mean. They wondered what the spirit of Christ within them was talking about when He told them in advance about Christ's sufferings and His great glory afterwards. They wondered when, and to whom, all of this would happen." See, the prophets were like archers. They were shooting their arrows of prophecy into the sky. They didn't really know where they were going to land. So Isaiah shot up his arrows of truth and Ezekiel and Daniel and Jeremiah and Zechariah. And those arrows of truth went up into the sky, out of sight, over the horizon, and they didn't know where they landed.

But what I want you to know is simply this, 300-plus arrows all landed on one person. And that is against all odds. Now, having covered that, let's finish this off. We go from a sorrowful walk to a scriptural talk to a satisfied flock. This really helps these characters. Verse 28. "Then they drew near to the village where they were going and he indicated, Jesus, that he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, 'Abide with us, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent.' And he went in to stay with him. Now it came to pass, as he sat at the table with them, that he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they knew him. And he vanished from their sight." Oh, man. Anti-climactic. Just when they get it, bye! Voom! "And they said to one another, 'Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us on the road and while he opened the scriptures to us?' And so they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem and found the 11 and those who were with them gathered together, saying 'The Lord is risen indeed and has appeared to Simon.' Then they told about the things that happened on the road and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread."

Don't you find it interesting that they get to this little place, and Jesus acts like he'd keep going. It's like, see ya, have a nice meal. Just keeps, like, he's going to keep walking. They had to, like, wait wait! Don't go. Please stay with us. That's what it means when it says they constrained him. I find that fascinating, and I see that as a principle, Jesus will never force himself on anyone. He's the perfect gentleman. He works by invitation only. He said, behold I stand at the door and I knock. If you'll open the door I'll come in. They invited him in. And then when he left them, they looked at each other and said, wow. Didn't our hearts burn within us? They got heartburn. The good kind. The scriptural kind. The kind I pray we'd all get.

Now, this burning of heart. Notice they didn't say, didn't our hearts burn within us as we were talking to him in prayer? Or didn't our hearts burn within us as he gazed into our eyes? No, it says, didn't our hearts burn within us as he spoke to us? As he spoke to us. Their hearts burned when they stopped talking and they started listening to what he had to say to them. It's very important to make a note of that. What does it mean, this burning of heart? It is simply a statement of description that means a new understanding of old things. A new understanding of old things. It's like, something you've read before and then the light comes on, and you go oh, wow. I get it. Ah, that's so good. That's so rich. See, Jesus didn't tell them anything they didn't know. They'd heard these scriptures growing up. They were Jewish boys raised in the synagogue. They had heard the prophets and Moses all their lives. But not like this. It was like new stuff to them.

It's exactly what happened to me when I saw Jesus fulfilled in the prophetic scriptures against all odds. It set my heart on fire. It set my heart on fire. I was intellectually satisfied, I was spiritually satisfied, and, you know, every now and then I'll meet somebody who says, yeah, you know, I've heard this before. Oh really, you've heard-- Yeah, I've heard all this. I know that-- I've heard this before. I say, oh yeah, and you're really excited about it right now, aren't you? Because you've heard it before. So what? Well I want something new. I want a new revelation. You don't need a new revelation. You need a new application of the old revelation. That's what caused their hearts to burn within them. You need the same old scriptures but opened up in a way that you understand it. And you'll hear His voice speaking. It will set your heart ablaze as it did theirs.

Now I want to close with this question. A God who is this accurate, this detailed, and this good at what He does. Do you think He deserves your trust? So if you think about the new year and you think about the fear and all the things that we all live with as humans, I want you to put that in perspective with what we have just studied. A God this detailed, this precise, this good at what He does. Do you think He can handle your finances? Do you think He can handle your family, your future, your medical troubles, all the stuff, the relationships that you freak out about? Do you think the safest place is to put them in His hands and to leave them there?

If He can-- if He can do that, your life is like, psh. I think God has it, right? I think I got you covered, God would say. I'm good. I don't need your help. I'm good. Just give it to me, trust me, look to me, you know, lean on me. Put a smile back on your face, step back, you know, a little spring back in your step. Because I'm going to manage just fine. Just trust me. That's where a study like this ought to leave us. I tell you what, it set my heart on fire, and I hope it does yours.

Father, we do want to thank you, and we are amazed. These are amazing things to think about. And yet, why would we be surprised if indeed this is your truth, what you are capable of demonstrating in that is what we have noticed. And through the years of scrutiny your Word has stood and does stand the test. It stands firm. And if we can see this, then your Word, your promises, must be trusted in all that it declares and all that it affirms. Lord, you said it was going to happen. It happened. Whenever somebody makes a promise their character's at stake. If they fulfill the promise, they're a person of integrity. If don't, they didn't tell us the truth. Your character is at stake, and so you stack the odds against yourself so that when they happen we go, wow. I trust that God with all my life.

Hey, keep your heads bowed for just a moment. Maybe you don't know Christ this morning. Maybe you've never personally trusted Jesus. Yeah, you come to church. Yeah, you sing songs. You're mildly religious, but you've never trusted Jesus with full control of your life. You've never asked him to save you from your sins. You've never made it personal. I want to give you an invitation to do that. Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed. I'm going to keep mine open so I can pray for you. I need to know who I'm praying for. Would you just raise your hand up and say, Skip pray for me? Pray for me. I'm going to give my life to Jesus right now, right here.

God bless you to my right, right up in the front. Just raise that hand up high so I can see it from this vantage point. Thank you. God bless you, sir. And you, to my left. And you and you and you and you guys over here. Awesome. Anyone else? Anyone else? Right there in the middle, toward the back. Anybody else? Way in the back to my left. Couple of you, few of you. More of you. Anybody in the balcony? Raise it up and wave it around a little bit. God bless you. Family room? I see a bunch of you guys over there. Awesome.

Lord we just thank you. And I do pray, we do pray for them right now. And pray that you will strengthen their life, firm their walk. And Lord, I pray you put a joy that they have never experienced quite like it in their heart, their life, their experience. In Jesus' name, amen.

Let's all stand for a minute. We're going to sing a final song, and I'm going to ask every one of you who raised your hands to get up and stand right up here. I'm going to lead you in a word of prayer. That's right. I'm going to ask you to leave where you're standing. Say excuse me the person next to you. If you're in the balcony, come down the steps. We're going to wait for you. If you're in the front, it's a lot easier to come. If you're in the middle of the row people will make room for you. If you're in the family room come through the doors, right up here. And just stand up here. I'm going to lead you in a prayer in a moment to make Jesus the master of your life. It's a simple prayer. We'll give you a time to come, but you come. You come. Don't just raise your hand and walk out. Come, make it public. Jesus called people publicly. [APPLAUSE] Yeah. This is you not being afraid to take a stand for Jesus Christ.

[MUSIC PLAYING - "COME AS YOU ARE"]

Lay down your burdens. Lay down your shame. All who are broken, lift up your face. Oh wanderer come home. You're not too far. So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, come as you are.

I see a lot of people, a lot of people have walked forward. Maybe you want to join them. Maybe you're watching this going, I've seen this before. And I know I need to give my life to Jesus, and one day I will. This is-- listen to me-- this is your one day. It's happening right now. This is your day. Today. The Bible says today is the day of salvation. Now is the accepted time. Doesn't get any better than right now. Doesn't matter how old you are, young you are, good you are, bad you are, short you are, tall you are, young you are, old you are, come as you are. Come as you are. God bless you. God bless you.

All right, now all of you who have come forward, can I have you just kind of move over this way just a little bit? It's just us, nobody else is here, it's just a few of us, right? Come on up. [APPLAUSE] We got a lot of people happy for you. I'm going to lead you in a prayer right now. And I'm going to ask you to say these words out loud, like they do at weddings. You know, couples say their vows out loud. I'm going to ask you to say this out loud. After me. But say these words from your heart as you give your life to God. OK? As you give your life to Christ. Let's pray.
Say Lord, I give you my life. I admit I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. Cleanse me. I believe in Jesus. I believe he died on a cross. That he shed his blood for my sin. And that he rose from the dead. I turn from my sin. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to serve him as my Lord. Help me. In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.

The disciples experience went from sorrow to joy as they realized Jesus had filled prophecy with his resurrection. How will you use the truth you learned in this message to reach others for Christ? We want to know. Email mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can give financially to this work at calvaryabq.org/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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1/15/2017
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Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
Matthew 2:1-9; Micah 5:2
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It was the Methodist preacher Phillips Brooks who gave the world the Christmas hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” He was visiting the Holy Land, on road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, when inspiration struck. Bethlehem was where King David was born and where his descendant Jesus Christ would be born. Because of Micah’s prediction made 700 years before Jesus’ birth, four details were anticipated.
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1/22/2017
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The World's Most Unusual Birth
Matthew 1:18-23; Isaiah 7:14
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We've seen how God repeatedly makes specific predictions about a coming Messiah throughout the books of the prophets, adding layers of details that exponentially decrease the odds of any success of their fulfillment. It's one of His unique traits (see Isaiah 41:21-24). Today we come to a prediction that is simply off the charts—the prediction that the Messiah would be virgin-born. We explore a bit of why the virgin birth is not an incidental but an absolute necessity.
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1/29/2017
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Messiah on the Run
Matthew 2:13-23
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Very few events from Jesus’ childhood are even mentioned in Scripture. Much of His upbringing is simply not known. However, three events from Jesus’ early youth are given comment by Matthew because they fulfill prophetic Scripture. These predictions and their subsequent fulfillment tell a larger story and paint a grim picture—and that is the general response of the world to God sending His Son to save.
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2/5/2017
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Why Did Jesus Come?
Matthew 12:18-21
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The prophets of the Old Testament gave hundreds of predictions over 1,500 years about the coming Messiah: where He would be born, how His birth would be different, where He would move to, and where He would be raised. They also predicted events and unique features of His life and ministry. But Matthew shows that Isaiah foretold His character and His conduct. He not only came to this world against all odds; He lived among people against all expectations.
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2/19/2017
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Learning to Tell Time
Galatians 4:3-5; Genesis 49
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We have been examining the amazing prophecies of the Old Testament and how Jesus Christ has fulfilled them. The prophets predicted His lineage, extraordinary birth, places of His residence, and character of His ministry. But why did Jesus come at the time that He did? Why not earlier? Why not later? Were there any indicators that pointed to His timely entrance into the world? Let me suggest there were five things that were just right.
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2/26/2017
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Believing the Miracle-Making Messiah
Matthew 11:1-6
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We have discovered that the evidence that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah as predicted by the ancient prophets was compelling and even overwhelming. Yet not everyone believed in Jesus. And even Jesus’ own forerunner, John the Baptist, struggled with doubts. How can that be? And what evidence is helpful in reasoning through those doubts? Jesus indeed fulfilled Old Testament prophecies, but not all of them…yet! Let’s look together at how Jesus’ miracles provided solid evidence of His identity.
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3/12/2017
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The Visitation
Luke 19:28-44
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What do you suppose the odds would be of someone showing up exactly 483 years after it was predicted he would come? Then add to that the prediction that he would come riding a donkey. Then add to that the prediction that he would not be accepted but rather rejected and subsequently killed. Sound far-fetched? It isn’t. It happened and it’s astounding. Today we continue our series Against All Odds as we consider the stand-alone event Jesus referred to as "the visitation."
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3/19/2017
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The Long-Expected Traitor
John 13:18-19
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We have learned that Jesus’ whole life, ministry, and atoning sacrifice were foreseen and expected by the Old Testament writers. But did you know that His betrayer was also expected and anticipated? The prophets predicted him, and Jesus announced him. Judas had no idea he was fulfilling the Scriptures by being the turncoat—but he was. Let’s also ponder what Jesus knows about us and how we can be a joy and delight to His heart.
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3/26/2017
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Cross Examination
Psalm 22
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Today we begin to examine the cross in light of Old Testament prophecy. Even though the expectation of the Jews at the time of Christ was for a conquering Messiah, the Scripture also paints a picture of a suffering and dying Messiah. This means He would need to come two separate times. In their rejection of Jesus, the people were actually fulfilling the very Scriptures they denied as referring to Christ. Today let’s stand at the foot of the cross and not only examine the event, but also examine our hearts.
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There are 9 additional messages in this series.