The Lord can speak to each of us.
Throughout time, God has been speaking to us. As we are reading through the Acts of the Apostles, we find many people to whom God spoke. There was Peter, Paul, Stephen, and James. Each of these men spoke to the Jews or Gentiles about Jesus being the Messiah.
We even meet Priscilla and Aquila. This wife and husband instructed Apollos in the Way of God. They worked alongside Paul in making tents. But they also worked alongside Paul in the teaching and preaching ministries of church in Corinth. Priscilla and Aquila worked as evangelist in Ephesus, right alongside Paul.
With all of these people speaking about Jesus, we are confident they heard from the Lord. It is while Paul is being rejected by the Jews in Corinth that he has a vision. The Lord, Jesus himself, tells Paul:
“Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.”
So, for 18 months, Paul continues to teach the word of God in Corinth. He was teaching and proclaiming to the Jews and to the Gentiles. What was Paul teaching and proclaiming? He was telling the people that the Messiah was Jesus! Paul was going through the Scriptures, telling about the suffering Jesus had to endure. He was using what we call the Old Testament. What was Paul speaking about? What was so controversial that the Lord Jesus had to encourage Paul to not be afraid?
A. Jesus had to suffer (Isaiah 53)
1. The servant of the Lord was despised and rejected (53;3)
2. We thought he was cursed, but he bore our sins (53:4)
3. By his bruises we are healed! (53:5)
4. He didn’t speak out against his oppressors (53:7)
5. He was killed for the transgression of the people (53:8)
6. The servant of the Lord was buried with the rich (53:9)
7. It was God’s will that his life was an offering for sin (53:10)
8. Many are made righteous because of the servant of the Lord (53:7)
9. Isaiah foretold about the suffering of Jesus. Jesus is the described as the servant of the Lord. Jesus had to be the offering for sin. For there is no other offering that can take away our sin. No number of sheep and bulls can be slaughtered to make up for our transgressions. God wants us to be righteous. So, God makes a way for us to be righteous.
B. The Holy One brings everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24-26)
1. Transgressions/sins will be finished (9:24)
2. We will become righteous, an everlasting righteousness!
3. A holy one will be anointed (Jesus is this holy one!)
4. He will be cut off, having nothing – dead, with no clothing (9:26)
5. Again, this word from Gabriel to Daniel speaks about Jesus. Transgression, sin, and iniquity won’t have power over us anymore! For the holy one has been set aside to take away transgression, sin, and iniquity. This holy one, Jesus is the one who takes away our evil acts, thoughts, and words. How does Jesus do this work?
C. The Lord is Jesus’ portion (Psalm 16:5-11)
1. The Lord instructs the one who trusts in the Lord
2. The Lord is always before this one, even the one we call Jesus
3. Jesus was not given up to Sheol or the Pit, though he saw the grave
4. The Lord gave Jesus life!
5. There are other places in the Old Testament which mention life after death. Job 19:25-26 is one which says, “For I know my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me” Trusting in the Lord, in God, leads to life. Jesus trusted God. We can trust God. Even after our death, at the Resurrection we will see God!
D. Jesus trusts God (Psalm 22:25-31)
1. Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
2. Even though Jesus was mocked, he still trusted God
3. Jesus was also saying through this psalm, “I shall live for him.” (22:29)
4. Yes, Jesus knew suffering. But he went through the suffering, knowing that he was going to live. Believing in Jesus allows us to know that we shall live for God.
Paul did not need be afraid to speak. The Spirit of Christ was with him. Knowing Paul used these Scriptures, Isaiah, Daniel, and the Psalms, can help us when we are given visions by God. For not only was Paul to speak about the Lord. As we believe in Jesus, we speak about the Lord.
The Lord can speak to each of us. The Spirit that helped Paul to speak about Jesus is the same Spirit which helps us to speak about Jesus. Even when people make us suffer for speaking about Jesus, we continue to speak about Jesus.
We can trust the Lord. Yes, Jesus had to suffer. Yet he lives even now. The Lord is speaking to us. Can we hear the Lord speak to us?