Knowing that you have the “real thing” can be very important, especially when there are many cheap imitations around. Some will even steal the brand name or trademark of the genuine to pawn off the imitation or the counterfeit, to the great loss of those who have received the false product.
At the time of the Roman Empire there were many high hopes and expectations among the Jews for the Messiah to come into the world. But there also flourished many false expectations and ideas about the Messiah which encouraged cheap imitations to appear. Even the disciples’ concept of the Messiah involved the establishment of an earthly kingdom of the Jews.
Many turned away from Jesus in disappointment because they were misled by false Messianic claims and expectations.
Jesus had repeatedly taught His disciples that “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles . . . And they will scourge Him and put Him to death. And the third day He will rise again” (Lk. 18:31-33). It is the fulfillment of Scripture in the death–and especially the resurrection–of Jesus that assures us that in Him we do possess the “real thing,” for there is an authenticating power in Jesus’ resurrection. It did fulfill the explicit promises of God in Holy Scripture.
One such Scripture to which the Holy Spirit directs our attention is the prophecy of David: “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay” (Ps. 16:9-10, NIV). Yes, the Holy Spirit directs special attention to this specific prophecy as it was fulfilled in Jesus in order to demonstrate the authenticity of Jesus as the Christ.
In his Pentecost sermon it was from this Scripture that Peter was led to proclaim, “Therefore, (David) being a prophet and knowing that God . . . would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ. . . . This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:30-32).
Just as Peter’s evidence for the authenticity of Jesus was found in this Scripture, so also Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, preached to the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia: “Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption,’ For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:35-38).
So the Spirit declares to us through the apostles Peter and Paul that this Jesus whom God has raised from the dead is the Christ! We are not being deceived by overactive imaginations (as some assumed of the women returning from the tomb), neither are we being beguiled by false hopes and dreams (as some today ascribe to the disciples’ “claims” of Jesus’ resurrection).
We see the power of God authenticating Jesus as the One in whom we should put our trust. The Spirit is letting it be known among us also that in this Man–and ONLY in this Man!–is preached to you the forgiveness of sins.
We are not deceived by false hope, but have been granted the surety of life and salvation in Christ Jesus, our crucified and yet risen (“ever-living”) Lord!
–Pastor Theodore Barthels