Macbride Sermon on the Application of Messianic Prophecy (Bauckham, 2003)

The subject of the Macbride University Sermon is described as “the application of the prophecies in Holy Scripture respecting the Messiah to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”   There have been times when Christians have attached great evidential value to the fulfilment by Jesus of Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah.   They have wanted to argue not only that Jesus is shown to be the expected Messiah by the exact correspondences between the prophecies and their fulfilment in Jesus, but even that the fulfilment of these prophecies in Jesus is a kind of demonstration of the truth of Christianity.   The fulfilment proves at the same time both that the prophecies were inspired by God and that Jesus was the Messiah that God himself sent.   This kind of apologetic appeal to messianic prophecy is less often heard today.   I think this must be at least partly due to the influence of biblical scholars who have insisted on a historicizing kind of exegesis that tries to read the prophecies as they would have been heard at the time they were written, and very often finds that this differs considerably from the way the writers of the New Testament read them when they interpreted them as referring to Jesus.   I sense that New Testament scholars are sometimes a little embarrassed by the gap that seems to open between the historical meaning of the Old Testament texts and the way they were read by New Testament Christians.   They explain in a matter-of-fact manner the way New Testament writers interpreted the Old, but they refrain from commenting on its validity.

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