Old Testament: 2 Samuel 5 & 6
Poetry: Proverbs 19
New Testament: Acts 13
The entire Bible can be traced back to Genesis 3 where we see the fall of man from the paradise that God had desired for His creation. From this foundation we can then add Genesis 12 where God calls Abraham and gives his descendants the promise of a future land and nation. And in chapter 49 of Genesis, we see God promise a leader through the line of Judah. Throughout the Bible we see common themes continually come back and connect to these three promises. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy focus on the establishment of the people into a nation with a complete constitution. The book of Joshua tells the tales of battles fought to conquer the land. And the books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the restoration of the nation of Israel to the land after the exile. And the other books follow a story of attempts to find a leader who is good enough to sit on the throne forever.
In chapter 13 of Acts, Paul uses a very similar tactic of preaching the gospel to the Jews. The Jews would have understood the promises of a land, nation, and a leader, and they also knew that they were ultimately waiting for the leader — the Messiah. Therefore, Paul presents the history of the Israelites starting with when God led the people out of Egypt and going through the period of the Judges and then Kings.
Paul highlighted a couple leaders in his overview, but they all turned out to be sinful. Even seemingly good men who sat on the throne made mistakes that did not reflect the leader the world needed. Another problem with these leaders is that they all ended up dead. Paul brings up this point in verse 36-37 when he says, “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.” He does this to clearly contrast Jesus from the other leaders that the Jewish people adored like David. His purpose was to convince them that the Jesus they killed was the Messiah because God raised Him from the dead so that he would not see decay. Paul knew that the best way to prove this to the Jews was to use scriptures like Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10 to make his point. He also mentions that Jesus was seen by many witnesses after God raised him from the dead.
Throughout his sermon to the Jews, he makes a clear distinction between God and Jesus. For example, he states that God was the source of the power that raised Jesus from the dead. He also uses the titles of Father and Son to describe the relationship between God and Jesus.
The result of this sermon is that many Jews and Gentiles received Jesus as the Messiah. They asked Paul to return and preach again the following Sabbath. But the message also faced opposition by the Jews who were jealous of Paul’s preaching and his popularity among the crowds. In response, Paul goes back to Isaiah and quotes 49:6 in order to prove to the Jews the prophecy of the Gentiles being included into the promises of God. This sermon caused even more persecution for the early church but nonetheless the truth was spread throughout the entire region and both Jews and Gentiles came to believe in Jesus.
- What does this tell us about the importance of the Old Testament as the context for the New Testament?
- Would you say that you have a good understanding of the Old Testament? Or is this something that you could spend more time studying?
- Why do you think some of the Jews accepted the truth of Paul’s sermon while others became jealous?