One of the greatest proofs of Christianity is the fulfillment of prophecy. That is, when the Old Testament predicted something, and it comes true in the New Testament. and particularly, when the Old Testament predicted how the Messiah would come, and it came true in Jesus. A conservative estimate of the number of verses in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in Jesus is about 300.
The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would be born of a woman (Genesis 3:15 fulfilled in Galatians 4:4). That is, the Messiah wasn’t going to be some angelic being, who merely appeared on the scene. No. The Messiah would be human. Further, the Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would be born of a virgin woman (Isaiah 7:14 fulfilled in Matthew 1:23). in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 fulfilled in Luke 2:4-6). All of these things came true. Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem. But that’s only three Scriptures.
The Old Testament also predicted that the Messiah would be from the lineage of Abraham (Genesis 12:3), more particularly, from the line of Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17:19; Numbers 24:17). more particularly, from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), more particularly, from the line of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13). All of this was true of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17).
The Old Testament predicted a massacre of children at the time of Messiah’s birth (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18). The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would spend time in Egypt (Hosea 11:1 fulfilled in Matthew 2:13-15). and would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:14-16). and speak in parables (Psalm 78:2-4; Isaiah 6:8-10; Matthew 13:14-15). And these things took place.
The Old Testament predicted that a messenger would come before the Messiah and prepare the way for him (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1). This of course, was fulfilled in John the Baptist (Luke 1:76; 3:4-6; 7:27). who came with a baptism of repentance, saying often that he was not the Christ, but that Jesus was the Christ, who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
The Old Testament predicted that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon the Messiah (Isaiah 61:1,2; Luke 4:21) and that the Messiah would proclaim liberty to those who are oppressed. He would open the eyes of the blind and deaf, and strengthen the legs of the lame so that they could walk (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 8:1-4; 11:5). All these things came to pass.
The Old Testament said that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1-9), be praised by little children (Psalm 8:2-3; Matthew 21:16), be crowned a king (Psalm 2:6; John 19:19). yet, betrayed by a friend for a mere 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16). These things all happened, exactly like the Old Testament had proclaimed.
The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would be falsely accused (Psalm 35:11; Matthew 26:59-61), would be hated without a cause (Psalm 35:19; John 15:25), be mocked and insulted (Psalm 22:7; Matthew 27:39-44), and silent before his accusers (Isaiah 53:7).
The Old Testament had prophesied that the Messiah would be struck down and his sheep would scatter (Matthew 26:31; Zechariah 13:7), would be forsaken by God (Psalm 22:2; Matthew 27:46), and would be put to death with pierced hands and feet (Psalm 22:17; John 20:25-27). Yet, none of his bones would be broken (Psalm 34:21; John 19:31-36), although his side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34-37).
The Old Testament had foretold that the Messiah, would be buried in a rich man’s grave (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-58), resurrected from the dead (Psalm 16:8-11; Matthew 28:1), and seated at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1; Acts 7:55).
All of this came to pass, just as predicted in the Old Testament.
Down through the years, many have looked at these things and become convinced of the truth of the gospel! The overwhelming odds against such things happening, is proof that God so ordained all of these things to take place. and that Jesus really was the Messiah, who came to save his people from their sins. and that through faith in him, we can have eternal life (John 3:16).
The convincing nature of Old Testament prophesy that leads people to believe in Jesus is especially true of Jewish people. Those who grew up on the Scriptures, who were taught them as children, only to come and see that they predicted the life of Jesus with great accuracy.
Last night, I was listening to the testimony of Michael Rydelnik, who serves as a professor of Jewish studies at Moody Bible Institute. He told the story that many Jews have told. For the sake of time, I can’t tell you his whole story. But it’s a similar story that many Jews can tell. He denied that Jesus was the Messiah. When Christians spoke to him about Jesus, and about how Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the Messiah, he resisted and argued and denied that this could be the case. But eventually, he bowed the knee and came to faith in Jesus. And now, he teaches the Bible to as many as will listen.
Well, this morning, as we come to our next passage in the book of Acts, we see Paul putting forth a few of the ways in which Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures, and thereby proved himself to be the Messiah! So, if you haven’t done so already, I invite you to open in your Bibles to Acts, chapter 13. This morning we will look at verses 26 through 41. This is the second half of Paul’s sermon that he preached from the pew.
If you remember from last week, we looked at the story of Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. They were sent out by the church in Antioch in Syria. The walked to Seleucia, where they boarded a boat and set sail for the island of Cyprus. They landed at Salamas on the eastern side of the island, and crossed by foot, preaching in the synagogues of the Jews along the way.
Last week, we saw them embark another boat at Paphos, setting sail north, and landing in Perga of Pamphylia, and traveling 90 miles north up the mountains to Antioch in Pisidia, where they entered the synagogue. presumably sitting somewhat innocently toward the rear of the room. Then, Paul was asked to speak. and speak he did! He preached a full-on sermon from the pew. And if you were here last week, I trust that you remember what that was like. Paul preaching an entire sermon in the midst of the congregation.
Last week, we focused our attention upon the first half of Paul’s sermon. And in the first half of the sermon that he preached, Paul preached about the working of God through history, Beginning with Abraham and working through Moses and Joshua and the Samuel and Saul, and David. Paul’s point was that God remained faithful to Israel, even when they disobeyed in the wilderness. even when they disobeyed during the days of the judges. even when they rejected God as king and ask for a king for themselves. Through it all, God was faithful to Israel. And verse 23 was where he was going: Acts 13:23 “Of [David’s] offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.”
In other words, God was working through the history of Israel, through its ups and downs, until finally bringing to them a Savior, according to his promises. This Savior was Jesus.
Then, beginning in verse 26, Paul turns. He turns from the history of Israel, and the working of God, To how Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies. In fact, this is the title of my message this morning: “The Fulfillment of Prophesy.” First off, Paul looks at how Jesus fulfilled prophesy ...
“Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.”
If you look carefully here, you can see two times that Paul mentions how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. The first comes in verse 27, "For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him." Instead of understanding the Scriptures, and recognizing Jesus. Those in Jerusalem condemned him to death. Thus, they “fulfilled the utterances of the prophets” (verse 27).
The second time that Paul mentions Jesus fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament comes in verse 29, Paul takes them to Jesus upon the cross, "And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb." Now, Paul didn’t use the word, “fulfill,” but the concept is there, for sure. They “carried out all that was written of him.” That’s what it means to “fulfill prophecy.” to do exactly what was written beforehand.
This idea of Jesus fulfilling the prophecy of the Old Testament is Paul’s point in the second half of his sermon. First off, Jesus fulfilled prophecy "In His Death." And what that means is verse 26! It means salvation!
“Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation.”
In his sermon, Paul is cutting to the chase. He is bringing a message of salvation to those in Antioch! He is bringing the message of Jesus, the Savior, the one that God had promised to send! Do you remember verse 23? “Of [David’s] offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.”
The burden of his message is that those present would embrace Jesus as their Savior. And obviously, that is my message to you all here this morning as well, that you would embrace Jesus as your Savior. I’m thankful to God that many of you here have come to trust in Jesus for forgiveness of your sins, as the way to be made right with God. But I’m sure that there are others of you who haven’t. You may have been playing the game for a long time. You know what I’m talking about, the church game, where you come each Sunday, smiling and looking fine. But if we knew all about your life, we would know that you are far from faith in Jesus, and far from God.
The burden of my message this morning is that none of us would leave this room today not trusting in Christ. This was Paul’s burden. He was earnest about his burden.
You can see his earnestness in how he addressed the people who were there. He uses the endearing term, "Brothers" (Acts 13:26). Throughout the book of Acts, we have seen that when the Jewish preacher wants to press his hearers to believe what he is saying, he says “brothers.” We saw this on the Day of Pentecost. During the first part of his sermon, he identified his audience as “Men of Judea” (Acts 2:14) and “Men of Israel” (Acts 2:22). But when he wanted to press his hearers to believe, he called, them “Brothers” (Acts 2:29). It’s a tender term of endearment, seeking to persuade those who are listening to the message. A few days later, Peter followed the same pattern. After healing the lame beggar, he initially identified the people as “Men of Israel” (Acts 3:12). as his message progressed, he addressed them as “brothers” (Acts 3:17), and called them to “repent” (Acts 3:19).
I believe that this is what Paul is doing here in verse 26, he’s trying to bring them in, compelling them to believe his message. “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation" (Acts 13:26).
Paul continues on to explain how Jesus was sent as fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures.
For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.
In verse 27, Paul says, “Those in Jerusalem should have known better,” because they heard the Scriptures every week in their meetings! The services of the synagogues were much like our services. We read the Scripture. We sing. We pray. We teach. Every week. Read, sing, pray, teach. Read, sing, pray, teach. Over and over, week after week.
Those Jews living in Jerusalem would have heard the many passages describing the Messiah, read in their synagogues. One example is ...
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
The Jews in Jerusalem should have recognized that this was Jesus. But they didn’t. Further, the Jews in Jerusalem would have heard passages like Psalm 35, in which David describes the ill treatment that he received. "Without cause they hid their net for me; Without cause they dug a pit for my life" (Psalm 35:7). "Malicious witnesses rise up" (Psalm 35:11). "They repay me evil for good" (Psalm 35:12). "[They] hate me without cause" (Psalm 35:19). "For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit" (Psalm 35:20). Then, they would have known that their treatment of Jesus was wrong.
The Jews in Jerusalem would have heard Zechariah 9:9 read in the synagogue,
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Then, they should have recognized that when Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey, with the people shouting out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9). Those words mean, “Save us, Son of David! Save us now!” The people recognized that Jesus was the king who had come to save them. But the leaders didn’t recognize him. They were “indignant” (Matthew 21:15). They asked Jesus to “Rebuke” the crowds (Luke 19:38). “Tell them to be quiet.” But within a week, the leaders had turned the people, from giving praise to Jesus. to crying out “Crucify him! Crucify him!” (Luke 23:19).
That’s exactly what Paul alludes to in verse 28, "And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed." If you read that account in the gospels, you will read about how Pontius Pilate interrogated Jesus, looking for something that he did wrong. He could find nothing wrong. Repeatedly, Pilate came to the crowd of angry Jews, saying, “He has done no wrong.” But they insisted that Pilate order the death of Jesus. But he replies, “What evil has he done?” (Matthew 27:23). And the crowd cries out, “Crucify him!”
Pilate was getting nowhere, instead, “a riot was beginning” (Matthew 27:24). Finally, he took some water and washed his hands before the people and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood” (Matthew 27:24) and handed him over to be crucified.
Verse 29 continues the story, "And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb." Even on the cross, when Jesus could do nothing, the Scriptures were being fulfilled. On the cross Jesus was despised and rejected (according to Isaiah 53:3). He bore our griefs (Isaiah 53:4). He was pierced for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). He bore our sin in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:6). Even his burial fulfilled the Scripture, as he was buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9).
These are some of the ways that Jesus fulfilled prophecy "In His Death" (verses 26-29). But Paul goes on to describe how Jesus fulfilled prophecy, ...
But God raised him from the dead,
Though the people put Jesus to death. God raised him from the dead. That is, God put life back into the corpse of Jesus. The body of Jesus was cold, and lying on a stone slab, But God warmed the body, and brought it back to life. And this wasn’t some mysterious, back-room sort of “behind-the-curtain” no-proof sort of “miracle.” No. This miracle was front and center for many to see.
and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.
This is how the book of Acts begins. It begins with Jesus, raised from the dead, appearing to his disciples, teaching them for forty days about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). These disciples, then became his witnesses, in accordance with what Jesus said. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
And here, in Antioch, we see the witnessing continuing on, beyond the disciples who with Jesus after he rose from the dead. Now, the baton has been passed on to Paul and Barnabas. Who are being witnesses of Jesus to those in the synagogue in Antioch.
And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus,
Here again, we see the fulfillment of the Scriptures mentioned, what God promised in the Old Testament, was fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus. This is good news. Since Jesus conquered death, so can we conquer death as well, through faith in him! That’s why we must believe in Jesus! If we would ever expect to live on after this life, we must believe in the one who paved the way, the one who conquered death for us.
At this point in Paul’s sermon, he brings up three Old Testament Scriptures, giving proof for the resurrection. that Jesus fulfilled these three Scriptures that prophesied of his resurrection. The first Scripture comes from Psalm 2. The second Scripture comes from Isaiah 55. The third Scripture comes from Psalm 16. When put together, they give strong proof for the resurrection.
Let’s look at the first Scripture that Paul mentions.
as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’
This quotation comes from Psalm 2, which is a great Psalm. It’s a Psalm of David (Acts 4:25). It’s a royal Psalm. It’s a coronation Psalm, that describes the Anointed, the Christ, the Messiah, being lifted up and installed on Mount Zion as the king! (Psalm 2:6). The only way for the king reign over the eternal city, is for the king to live eternally.
We see here in Psalm 2, the begotten son of God, seated on the throne, alive and well, ruling and reigning over his kingdom. For the apostles, this is always what they preached. Jesus, risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, and exalted at the right hand of God.
Psalm 2 begins with the nations raging against the LORD and against the Messiah, just like what took place in Jerusalem, when “Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel gathered together against Jesus” (Acts 4:27) to put him to death. Yet, the LORD says, “I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill” (Psalm 2:6). The only way that can happen is if he raised from the dead. This is what Psalm 2 speaks about: the Messiah, amidst conflict, exerting his rule, over those who are in opposition against him.
The second Scripture that Paul mentions in his Antioch is mentioned in verse 34,
And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
This verse comes from Isaiah 55:3. This verse brings us back to all that was promised to David. He was promised an eternal kingdom. He was promised that one of his descendants would sit upon his throne forever. That is the “holy and sure blessings of David.” When David died, the promises made to him did not die. Instead, they were all fulfilled in Jesus!
This is made especially clear in verse 35, when David quotes from Psalm 16:10, the clearest reference to the resurrection in all of the Old Testament.
Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
This promise was given to David. that the Holy One would not see corruption. that is, his body would never decay. It’s clear that this wasn’t talking about David, because his body did decay. Therefore, Psalm 16:10 must be talking about another. It was a prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus. And that’s what Paul explains in verses 36 and 37.
For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption.
David lived in accordance with God’s will. Then he died. He was buried in the Holy city. David’s body is in his tomb to this day. It has decayed away. All that is left is his bones. But not so with Jesus. Jesus was raised from the dead. His days and nights in the tomb were not enough to decay his body. He now has a resurrection body!
The resurrection of Jesus has implications! It has implications for us. Paul brings out the biggest: forgiveness of sins to those who believe.
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
This is the good news that Paul proclaimed to the synagogue on that day. Believe in Jesus and your sins will be forgiven! There could be no greater news on the planet! That we can be made right with our creator! That all of our sins can be forgiven through the work of Christ on the cross! That we simply need to believe in him!
Further, there is freedom in Jesus. There is freedom from the law of Moses (verse 39). The law of Moses said that if you sinned, you need to go to Jerusalem. You need to bring an animal sacrifice to the priest so that he can offer it up as a sacrifice for you. But this all has changed with Jesus, because he was the ultimate sacrifice.
This was good news! especially for those in Antioch who were required to travel back to Jerusalem when they sinned. That's a long journey that they would be required to make. It would have taken weeks, if not months to travel that way, simply because you sinned and had need of forgiveness. In order to deal with your sin, you needed to get back to Jerusalem. But Paul says that in Jesus, you can be free from the law of Moses! You can be freed from the need to offer up animal sacrifice.
But there were even other things in the law of Moses that Jesus frees us from. The law directed the manner of worship and the standards of giving. It spoke about laws of farming and dress and diet. If ever you transgressed any of these laws, you needed to take a trip to Jerusalem to deal with your sin.
Paul's message to those in Antioch was this: there is forgiveness of sins in Jesus. That's the message that comes to us today as well! That's why Christianity can be a global religion. We don't have to make frequent treks to Jerusalem to offer up our sacrifices for sin. We simply need to look to Jesus. We can look to Jesus in Asia or Africa or in the United States.
This has all come about because God raised Jesus from the dead as a vindication of his sacrifice upon the cross.
We are under the freedom of grace. And grace empowers us to do what is right and to walk in God's ways. We no longer have to go through the Mosaic covenants and rituals of the Old Covenant.
Finally, we see the Fulfillment of Prophecy ...
Actually, this isn't really a prophecy. It is a warning of prophetic fulfillment.
Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about: “‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”
Now, when Paul spoke these words, they were not yet fulfilled in Antioch. They were a warning, lest they be fulfilled! We will see next week that these words were fulfilled. Many Jews in Antioch heard these words, but did not believe the message even though it was told to them.
The Scriptures passage here comes from Habakkuk, chapter 1, in which Habakkuk brings a hard message to Judah: "I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation [to come and destroy you]" (Habakkuk 1:6). The people of Israel had a difficult time believing it! It's understandable. Jeremiah prophesied during the days before the Chaldeans (i.e the Babylonians) came and destroyed Judah. In Jeremiah's time, there were many false prophets who prophesied of "Peace! Peace!" when in fact, there was no peace (Jeremiah 6:14). So, the people of Judah heard messages of peace. They had a difficult time believing that any nation would come and destroy them.
Habakkuk had a difficult time believing it! Judah was God’s people. God wouldn’t bring the Chaldeans against his people. They were a wicked people. But God did just as he said.
Paul warns those in Antioch with the same words. But rather than a message of destruction, Paul brings a message of forgiveness and grace and restoration. In fact, Paul's message was so wonderful, that he was fearful that many would not believe.
Paul brought the simple message that said, "Believe in the messiah and you are made right with him!" Many think that they need to do something to earn God's favor. People think that they need to work and do something for God. People have a hard time accepting grace. In fact, this message is so wonderful that few believe it.
I would say that the message of the gospel is so wonderful that many of us don't believe it at times. Think about Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Have you ever felt guilty for your sins? That's unbelief. The Bible says (here in Romans 8:1) that if you are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation for you. Guilt is the feeling of condemnation. But you are forgiven in Christ. Now, when you sin, there is a proper remorse for sin, a regret that you disappointed your heavenly Father. But there should be no guilt. This is the idea here. Paul is bringing a great message of salvation to these unbelievers. It is so wonderful that many may refuse to believe it.
Indeed, this was fulfilled in Antioch. There were those who heard the message, but refused to believe. We will see this next week when the Jews saw the crowds and began reviling Paul for these things (see verse 45). Next week, we will see the Jews inciting the reputable men and women of the city to stir up persecution against Paul and Barnabas (see verse 50). They drove them out of town because they hated the message of grace that came to them.
Do you believe? Do you believe in Jesus for forgiveness of sins? He is the fulfillment of the Scripture.
This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on October 17, 2021 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rockvalleybiblechurch.org.
 Here are some helpful websites that detail many of the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus that were fulfilled in his coming:
 You can listen to this 11 minute testimony here: https://soundcloud.com/moodyradio/an-encounter-with-yeshua-the-testimony-of-michael-rydelnik.
 Here's a good online reference to follow along with the map: https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney1/9-pauls-journey-to-cyprus-pamphylia-galatia-/paul-starts-his-1st-missionary-journey/.