JESUS: “MY TIME”
By: Frank Tunstall, D. Min.
This lesson can be effective for high school and college students as they discover the accuracy of Biblical prophecy. A thousand-year-old prophecy and a five-hundred-year-old prophecy sat on the shelf of history patiently waiting for their exact time when Jesus the Messiah would die on a shamefully cruel cross. After waiting a millennium, the prophecies were fulfilled with one hundred percent accuracy.
“When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba Father.” So, you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:4-7).
The Holy Spirit inspires the cry of “Abba Father” [Father Father] from every new believer, and the Father’s warmly felt reply comes speedily; welcome my beloved to the family of God. The result is every child of God feels adopted and accepted as a son and heir. Indeed, the value of the inheritance is without price. “Everything God has belongs to us” (Galatians 4:5-7, TLB).
The Right Time
In the divine patience of the Trinity, God waited a thousand years to fulfill King David’s prophecy regarding the death and resurrection of God’s Son and our Savior. If the birth of Jesus had occurred even twenty years earlier, it is doubtful everything would have been in place, including substitutes for such people as Caiaphas the high priest, and Judas. Would there have been another Mary in Nazareth, and Joseph? What about a substitute for Pilate? Or another John the Baptist? Or the twelve disciples, and Barnabas, and Saul of Tarsus? Or Silas? The list goes on and on. What about another Caesar Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD) who would order a special tax that would get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, the place where Jesus had to be born to fulfill prophecy? (Micah 5:2, 6).
God did not manipulate the people and their minds so that everything fell in place, fulfilling each of the prophecies regarding the birth of Jesus. Instead, God foreknew the people in the drama of the ages would come together naturally in a thirty-year window of time in first century Jerusalem, so that each of the participants freely and by their personal choice would fulfill their roles. God violated the free will of no one.
Trinitarian language is obvious in the incarnation, including God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God in Tri-Unity was active in the birth of Jesus the Messiah, and the inheritance of all believers is the result: “So, [we] are no longer slaves but God’s children. Since [we] are God’s children, God has also made [us] heirs” (Galatians 4:7 GW).
Perfect Timing – Prophecy Fulfilled
Thirty years had passed since Jesus’ birth. The time had come for Jesus to make the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. His glorious resurrection followed. He had also ascended majestically into heaven. Even Psalm 69:25 had been fulfilled, except for one fact.
“Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about 120) and said, ‘Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— he was one of our number and shared in this ministry…. With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language akeldama, that is, Field of Blood. For [said Peter], it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it and, may another take his place of leadership’” (Psalm 69:25; 109:8; Matthew 27:9-10; Acts 1:15-20).
Peter understood the Holy Spirit for which they were praying in the Upper Room was the same Spirit who led King David during his reign; David was very familiar with the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit spoke” this prophecy, Peter said. With his mind opened by the Spirit, Peter recognized in the hindsight of the cross that King David had in fact spoken by the Holy Spirit a millennium earlier. This is a classic case of the New Testament concealed in the Old Testament in an embedded prophecy that ultimately applied to one man, specifically Judas Iscariot, who would not even be born for a thousand years. Simply amazing.
In the perfect timing of the Holy Spirit, Peter blended Psalm 69:25 and 109:8 with Zechariah’s prophecy about Messiah’s price being set at thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13). These three prophecies sat on the shelf of prophetic history awaiting their moment. Two of the Psalms dated back to King David almost a thousand years earlier. Zechariah’s prophecy was about five hundred years old.
Judas was on the scene at just the right time as the foreknowledge of God knew he would be, and he acted on his own choice. Urged by the devil, Judas’ infamous deed set the stage to complete the three prophecies. Judas performed his reprehensible betrayal against one person, his Messiah. It had to take place at an hour in history known by Jesus as “my time” (John 2:4; 7:6; 13:1). Judas had to be paid thirty pieces of silver to fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy (Zechariah 11:12-13). His kiss of betrayal had to occur at about midnight for Messiah to be crucified the next morning and become the Passover sacrifice of the New Covenant. The odds of all these prophetic details coming together by chance in those few hours of history are simply astronomical.
Let it be underscored. Peter linked Zechariah 11:12-13 with two Messianic Psalms of David, Psalm 69:25 and 109:8. They each found their fulfillment in the horror of Jesus’ death and the glow of His resurrection.
It is well known that prophecy can have layers of meaning. In Psalm 109:8, the king was literally torn up on the inside, but the Psalm does not identify the cause. Its first meaning could have applied to Absalom, or Saul, or Doeg the Edomite, or Ahithophel. Or was it some other unnamed person about whom David was crying out to God for relief? Who it was at the first layer cannot be answered.
The Apostle Peter said the real culprit for whom the Holy Spirit intended Psalm 109:8 was Judas Iscariot, although its fulfillment required a thousand years of patient waiting. It follows that the death and resurrection of Jesus are without question the Holy Spirit’s ultimate interpreters of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
This kind of foresight shows in bold letters the Holy Spirit is indeed God, for no one can accurately predict a thousand years in advance an event so significant as the betrayal of the Son of God and our Savior.
The prophets had done their part, but one fact remained. The apostles chose Matthias to take Judas’ place in the twelve (Acts 1:15-26). Biblical prophecy is one hundred percent accurate. The Day of Pentecost was at hand. Guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the gospel of Jesus Christ would go to the nations.
And it’s still going.