Before the world was created, God already knew He would need to send His beloved Son to die, to spill His blood as a sacrifice to redeem and rescue a sinful world. He would lavish His grace out on all of us in Jesus Christ. This is His word of promise.
In the book of Genesis when God created, each day He looked at what He had made and said, “It is good.” When He looked at Adam and Eve, He said, “It is very good.” Paradise was beautiful, perfect, and humanity lived in a close, loving harmony with God. Adam and Eve enjoyed the most intimate of friendship and fellowship with Almighty God.
It was tragic when a serpent came into Paradise and seduced Eve and Adam into disobedience and unbelief of God’s word. Adam and Eve experienced guilt, shame, and fear for the very first time. They ran and hid from God. Paradise was lost.
However, God immediately spoke a word of promise in Genesis 3:15. He said to the serpent, “There will be enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel.” This is the red thread of salvation’s promise, which weaves its way through the whole of the biblical narrative. It is the story of God and His people.
So begins a titanic struggle between God and the evil one. This struggle plays out in the hearts and history of humanity and the world. Eventually the offspring of woman would crush Satan’s head – in the birth of Jesus, the Son of God; in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus when He went to the cross and then was raised from the dead. Paul, in Romans 16:20, said, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
This promise of God is true for every believer. When God makes a promise, He keeps His word, because God is true. He cannot lie. Every promise God makes, He will deliver. God will fulfill every word of promise.
In the Epiphany light, we believe God shines to reveal His heart to us in the person of Jesus, the fulfiller of all His promises and every word of Scripture. In Genesis 1, when it talks about God’s creative word, it says God spoke and reality came into being. God, by His word, initiated action within the created order. The unfolding of history began in the life of people and animals in the whole of creation. The Hebrew term is davar – God’s creative word brings reality to existence and action unfolds according to God’s will. God’s word will be done.
Later, when the prophets come on the scene, they speak to God’s people, “Thus says the Lord,” because it is God’s word – power that will unfold history. Prophets were not so much future tellers as they were speakers of God’s word, which transformed life by their word. In Luke 4, when Jesus speaks in the temple, He reads from Isaiah 61, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing because the Spirit is on me, anointing me.” He is claiming His anointing by the Spirit.
The key word – the anointed one – is the figure of the Messiah, God’s promised Deliverer. He will bring good news to the poor, heal those who are broken in heart, and free those who are captive. He will give sight to the blind and joy to the sorrowful. He is the outpouring of God’s grace in the fulfillment of His promises. Jesus claims to be the embodiment, the fulfiller of the Word.
All through the prophets, they painted images of this messianic expectation. Isaiah says in chapter 42, “This is my servant, my chosen. In him I delight. . . He will bring justice. He will embody a gentle strength. A bruised reed he will not break. A dimly burning wick he will not extinguish.”
In chapter 11, Isaiah describes a vision of peace where the wolf will lie down with the lamb, the leopard with a young goat, a calf with a lion, and a little child shall lead them.
It is the age of joy for the afflicted and liberation for the oppressed. All people will now see the light of revelation. Jesus is the fulfiller of God’s word. So in the messianic expectation, the Messiah would be a prophet like Moses revealing God’s wisdom, and establishing righteousness, freeing the captives. The Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek, mediating a new covenant by the shedding of His blood in the system of sacrifice. It will be once and for all – the atonement of sins for the forgiveness of all.
After the promise God made to King David, one of his sons would rise to the throne and rule forever in victory over the enemies establishing an age of peace and prosperity and restoring harmony between God and His people. So the people waited for this messianic expectation all through the millennias.
When John in his Gospel begins by speaking of the birth of Jesus, he uses the Greek word “logos” translated Word. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, and he was the light of all men. The Word became flesh and lived with us, and we saw his glory, full of grace and truth.”
The “Logos” describes God coming back to a rebellious world to re-create the beauty and harmony of the broken creation. How? By the speaking of His Word, by sending Jesus to us. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus fulfills the word. So, when Luke tells the story, he speaks of the angel Gabriel coming to Zechariah in the holy of holies and promises him a child would be born to Elizabeth, his barren, old wife. This child born will be the prophetic forerunner to the Messiah (Jesus).
Then Gabriel goes to Mary, the virgin girl, telling her she will conceive a child. By the anointing of the Holy Spirit, a child born to be the Son of the Most High. This child will be the Savior of the world. Anyone who would hear a word from an angel (God’s messenger), would say, This is the one, the Fulfiller, whom people of all points of history have waited for.
Interestingly, Gabriel says to Mary, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” This could literally be translated, “no word” is impossible for God to fulfill. In Jesus’s life – His teaching and miracles, in His death on the cross, in the rejection of His people, in the ideological, unjust execution of Jesus, in the shedding of blood atoned for the sins of the world, and in the raising Him from the dead, Jesus was proven to be in the Son of God. Every promise of God made throughout all of history is fulfilled in Jesus Christ!
When Jesus hung bleeding on the cross, nailed between heaven and earth, He said, “It is finished.” In other words, It is complete. The Word is fulfilled. The promise of salvation is for you. Second Corinthians 5 tells us, “God was in Jesus Christ reconciling the world to himself.” So when God raised Jesus from the dead to vindicate Him, proving He was the Son of God, forgiveness is proclaimed in His name to all people in all places in the world. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Word of God’s promises throughout all of history. In the fullness of time, He came, and He is the Savior of the world.
I’d like to tell you a story about a rich art collector who accumulated one of the greatest collections of art ever in the world. With all that beauty assembled in one place, you would think he would been one of the happiest men in the world. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. His only son had been tragically killed in a car accident when he was a young man, and the father never got over it.
He loved his son so much and was so proud of every accomplishment he had made. He had great plans for his son to join in the family business and to live in his love. But he died tragically, prematurely in the accident. The father was so devastated he really never recovered. So the father – this art collector – put all his energy into compiling the best art collection he could in memory of his beloved son.
When the father died, he left no heir. In the will, it was announced the man’s art collection was to be auctioned off.
The day of the auction was much anticipated. Famous art dealers from all over the world came from far and wide. The first item up for auction was a painting of a young man by an unknown painter. It was not a particularly good piece of art and definitely not a good painting. Frankly, none of the art dealers were interested in it and were waiting for the valuable pieces of art to come up for sale.
When the auctioneer called for bids, his request was made and there was silence. Not a hand was raised to bid. The auctioneer lowered his beginning amount. Eventually an old man in the back bid for the painting of the young man. He had been the art collector’s butler, and he knew the painting was actually a picture of the father’s beloved son, whom he also loved as one being raised in the house. It had been painted shortly before the young man was tragically killed in the accident. The butler valued the painting not for artistic value, but because he loved the son.
Well, the art dealers were sure happy to have that painting out of the way! Now for the real sale, and the real art items of great value! Then the auctioneer announced, “Ladies and gentleman, I’ve been required to read the following clause of the will. It reads, ‘Whoever buys the painting of my son gets everything else in the art collection as well.’ This auction is now over. The one who takes the son gets everything else as well.”
Jesus is the embodiment of every promise God has made. Every blessing God can give to us or pour into us comes from Jesus the Christ. So when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, every promise is fulfilled, and we become recipients of the promises of God. Or like Mary, we become participants in the actual unfolding of the fulfillment of all of God’s plan of salvation. We become children of God, people of God, and the people God uses to shine His love for all to the light of the world.
Jesus is the fulfiller of every promise in God’s word. I believe it. I invite you to believe it, too. We can stake our life on that promise. Amen.
Pastor Lee Laaveg