Tagged: Fulfillment

Acts 2:36-41

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on April 30, 2017.

Have you wondered how a person becomes a member of a church? This section of Acts 2 documents how the first members became a part of the movement.

A new generation of humans was introduced in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. They became a new generation that morning when their prayers were interrupted by the coming of the Holy Spirit. 120 believers were gathered in a room in the Temple waiting. The Holy Spirit came with the sound of a mighty wind, and a display of fire. A tongue of fire was seen over the head of the disciples. The group was under the leadership of the surviving Apostles that Jesus of Nazareth had appointed before his return to heaven. Simon Peter was the spokesman for the group that day with the support of the eleven other Apostles. Every member was suddenly endowed with a gift of speaking in a foreign language that they had not learned.

The noise of the wind and the worship of the new generation attracts a large gathering. When the attendees want to know what is happening, Peter explains to them that the prophecy of Joel is being fulfilled right before their eyes. Then Peter gives the first proclamation of the Christian Gospel. He concludes the declaration, which included an announcement of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, with a word about what it all means. Peter declares that the man from Nazareth that they crucified has been raised from the dead, and is exalted. He is now both Lord and Christ. The crowd was made up of Jews, many of the proselytes came from all over the Roman world, so they understand the implication of Peter’s declaration. They are involved in the death of the Lord of glory, the One sent to be the Messiah of Israel. His blood is on their hands.

The words of Peter penetrate to the heart, leaving them very troubled. The Holy Spirit is already performing his mission of convicting humans of their sins. The fear of judgment to come falls upon them immediately. They humbly cry out to the Apostles for help; “What shall we do?”

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Matthew 2:13-23

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on December 29, 2013.

Matthew could be called the gospel of fulfillment.  Matthew quotes more Old Testament prophecies than any other gospel writer.  For instance, in the passage Matthew 2:13-23, the author quotes three Old Testament passages that are fulfilled in the birth and early childhood of Jesus.  There are three brief scenes in these ten verses.  Each scene ends with an announcement that what has preceded in the narrative was a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets.  For this reason these narratives are sometimes called pronouncement stories.

Matthew’s gospel is also filled with divine intervention through dreams.  God appears to Joseph in a dream to tell him that Mary’s pregnancy is a miraculous fulfillment of God’s will.  God appears to the Magi to warn them about Herod’s evil intentions.  God appears to Joseph to warn him about Herod’s murderous plans, and to give him the escape plan via Egypt.  And God appears to Joseph a third time to let him know that Herod was dead and the danger had passed.  The themes of God’s presence and sovereignty, along with the fulfillment of God’s plans are peppered throughout the narrative.

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