January 04, 2018

A Picture of the Messiah

Numbers 24:15-25

I see him, but not now. . . . A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. . . .

—  Numbers 24:17

The Israelites had traveled through the wilderness for many years. As they approached their promised inheritance in the land of Canaan, Balaam, a charismatic prophet, tried to curse Israel on behalf of the king of Moab. Balaam’s job was to make the nations of Moab and Edom more powerful than Israel. But the one true God would not let him speak against Israel.

God has the power to turn negatives into positives. Remember this always!

And who was this star or scepter that would rise? Some say it was King David, who fought and overcame many of Israel’s enemies. Others say it referred to later kings over God’s people. Still others say that Jesus, the Messiah, is both the star and the scepter.

We can see from this example that people have a multitude of interpretations of Scripture, and sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what the Bible is saying. But Christians understand the New Testament to be a continuation and fulfillment of the Old Testament.

Matthew 2 tells the story of the star that shone over Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth, and in Matthew 4 Jesus says he is the light that has dawned over the people living in darkness (see also Isaiah 9:2). Jesus is the star. Jesus is the scepter that rules over everything forever—ruling even now!

Star of Bethlehem, Light of the World, Ruler of the Universe, we recognize only you as Messiah, Savior, and Lord. Reign in us today, Lord Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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