We Would See Jesus

Title: We Would See Jesus

Bible Book: Jeremiah 23 : 01-08

Author: Johnny L. Sanders

Subject: Messiah, Jeremiah's



I had played center field four years in high school, and decided to try out for the baseball team at Mississippi College. Running was a problem because I had sprained both ankles and my right wrist playing football my senior year in high school, and after several days I had to drop out and have an ingrown toenail cut out. That was a fitting end to something less than an illustrious career, but I will never forget the experience of working out with the college team. There were some outstanding players on that team, but I became convinced that I could have made the team. I was convinced that I could hit college pitching. There was one experience, however, that I would have preferred to have missed. I was in center field during batting practice when someone hit a long, high ball over my head and to my left. I circled around and tried to get into position. I have no idea whether or not I caught the ball. What I do remember was Coach Stanley Robinson’s question. Coach Robinson had been an All-American so far back I was surprised he could remember it. His question? “What is the shortest distance between two points?” I answered, “A straight line.” I was right. So was he. With more practice I may have learned to read a fly ball better and go directly where it would come down. Circling under it cost too much time and could lose a ball game.

For several years, I worked summers for the ASCS, a division of the USDA. I worked with aerial photographs. We often asked for directions to a farm and I can still hear some of the directions: “You can’t get there from here, but if you will go to that white store about three miles down the road you can start looking for a gravel road to the right.” Another might say, “You go down that road to the right, and if you come to a big old oak tree right beside the road you have done gone too far.” Fortunately, I had the aerial photographs and when I laid them down on the hood of my car I could pick out all the roads, turn-rows, lakes, rivers, ditches, houses, and out buildings. If you knew which way was north you could find anything. By the way, I learned a long time ago that you really don’t look to find the side of the tree on which the moss is growing. Moss really does not care which side of the tree it grows on, especially in the south. What you look for is a series of absolutes, or at least some definite, permanent. They never vary. You can trust them. I applied those principles when I was out in the large Mississippi Delta cotton fields, and when I found a small field surrounded by woods. If you can read a map you should be able to read an aerial photograph. The more familiar you are with the Bible, the better you can follow the central story through its phenomenal path from the beginning to the end.

When we turn to the Word of God, it helps sometimes to move directly from point A to point B. If we begin circling around in the Scripture we lose sight of the line-drive that clearly moves from point A to point B. W. A. Criswell called it The Scarlet Thread, but whether we think of it as a scarlet thread, a path, or simply a line, we must keep an eye on the ball - focus on the theme which moves from Genesis through Revelation.

My wife Becky reads the Bible through each year. There are a number of Bibles printed to lead one through a daily Bible reading that, if followed, will lead one through the entire Bible in one year. The newest I have seen is in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, published by Broadman and Holman. When you have read the Bible through as often as Becky has you can follow that scarlet thread through the Old Testament, moving from one prophecy to another until you find the fulfillment in the first chapter in the New Testament.

The central theme of the Bible has to do with the revelation of God’s redemptive love as He demonstrated it in giving His only begotten Son to die a cruel death on the Cross for our sins. From the third chapter of Genesis through the Old Testament, there is a Messianic covenant which we can follow like a scarlet thread until we find Jesus. The New Testament is the Good News about Jesus Christ, His miraculous birth, His sinless life, His vicarious suffering, his substitutionary death, His burial, His resurrection, ascension, and His ministry as our Mediator at the right hand of the Father in heaven, and His imminent return.

This is the twenty-fifth sermon in this series I have chosen to call Jeremiah’s America, for I am convinced that we see America mirrored in the prophecy of the Weeping Prophet. We see a lot of parallels between ancient Judah and modern day America. Today, I would like for us to focus on Jeremiah’s prophecy about Jesus, and in doing so, I would like for us to see what Jeremiah has to say about the Messiah as a part of the total picture.


1) In Genesis 1, Jesus is the agent of creation. If there is ever any doubt, see the first chapter of the Gospel according to John. Creation, like salvation, was a ministry of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God the Father willed it, God the Son accomplished it, and God the Holy Spirit energized it (assuming that is what is meant by “hovered over it”).

2) In Genesis 3, Jesus is the Seed who would crush the head of the serpent who deceived Eve. He is not called Jesus there, but make no mistake about it, the One who is promised here is Jesus. I was disappointed when I attended a pastors conference and heard one of my old seminary professors read that passage and then declare, “You preachers tell your people that is Jesus, and YOU DON’T KNOW THAT!” You don’t know that until you read later messianic prophecies and then conclude that this must be messianic too.” The simple fact is, we do know because of what we will read as we move through the Old Testament. In Genesis 3, we find point A, or maybe we could call it the first highway sign on the way from this promise in Genesis to the coming of the Messiah, and His death, burial, and resurrection.

3) In Genesis 6, there is Noah, whom God chose when He decided to start all over with the human race. My secular Jewish friend insists that it would have taken Noah many years to have rounded up all those animals and loaded them on the ark. I assured him that Noah did not round them up and load them. God did! God brought them into the ark and sealed it. All who were inside the ark were saved and all who were on the outside were destroyed. If you trust the Lord and follow Him, He will place you in Jesus and seal you. All those who are in Jesus will be safe, but all those who are not in Him will perish (1 Peter 3:20).

4) In Genesis 12, God calls Abraham and tells him to leave Ur of the Chaldees and to a Promised Land. “The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Gen 12:1). Abraham, Paul tells us, believed God and it was attributed unto him as righteousness. God entered a covenant relationship with Abraham, which included specific promises, all of which were fulfilled:

1. I will make you into a great nation,
2. I will bless you,
3. I will make your name great,
4. (A)nd you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you
Gen 12:2-3 (HCSB).

The blessing, we will learn, is Jesus, the Seed of Abraham: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but and to your seed, referring to one, who is Christ” (Gal 3:16-17).

5) In Exodus 3, God called Moses to deliver His people from bondage:

“Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—“ (Ex 3:7-8).

Time will permit only a very brief look at the role of Moses in God’s Messianic plan. Let me just mention a few things:

1. Moses was sent to rescue the Hebrews from bondage.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

2. God demonstrated His power over the gods of Egypt with ten plagues.
Pharaoh could not save his son; God gave His Son for us.

3. Moses represented the Law, as Elijah represented the prophets (Mt of Transfiguration).
Jesus is the fulfillment of both the Law and the Prophets.

4. God gave Moses plans for the Tabernacle.
Jesus dwelt (tabernacled) among the men and they beheld his glory (John 1:14).

5. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
Jesus gave us two Great Commandments which fulfill the 10 Commandments.

6. God gave Moses instructions for the Passover.
Jesus is our Passover.

7. God gave Moses the sacrificial system.
Jesus is both our High Priest and the Lamb without spot of blemish.

8. God promised a successor to Moses.
There was Joshua, son of Nun, and then there was Joshua (Jesus), son of Mary.

9. God used Moses to miraculously deliver Israel from bondage and death.
Jesus miraculously delivers all who believe in Him from bondage and death.

10. God used Moses to lead His people in the wilderness.
Jesus delivers us from the evils of the world.

“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s household, as a testimony to what would be said [in the future]. But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household, whose household we are if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope” (Heb 3:5-6).

6) In 1 Samuel, God chose David to be king over His people

1. David foretold the Cross (Ps. 22).

2. David promised victory (Ps. 24).

3. David showed the way from defeat to victory (Ps. 23).

4. David wrote, “the Lord is my shepherd.”
Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10)

5. David was chosen by God to be king.
Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords.

6. David proposed to build God a house (2 Sam. 7)
God promised to build David a house.

7) In Isaiah, many of the Messianic prophecies are seen more clearly.

1. “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

2. “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

3. “Who has believed what we have heard? And who has the arm of the Lord been revealed to? He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him” (Is. 53:1-2).

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted” (Is. 53:3-4).

“But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth. He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of My people’s rebellion” (Is. 53:5-8).

“My righteous servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil, because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.” (Isaiah 53:11b-12).

8) In Zechariah, Joshua, the priest is prophetic of the coming High Priest.

“Listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your colleagues sitting before you; indeed, these men are a sign that I am about to bring My servant, the Branch. Notice the stone I have set before Joshua; on [that] one stone are seven eyes” (Zech 3:8-9).

The number seven is the complete number - there is coming a time when all eyes will be on Jesus:

“For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11).

“Take silver and gold, make crowns and place them on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. You are to tell him: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Here is a man whose name is Branch; He will branch out from His place and build the Lord’s temple. Yes, He will build the Lord’s temple; He will be clothed in splendor and will sit on His throne and rule. There will also be a priest on His throne, and there will be peaceful counsel between the two of them” (Zech 6:11-14).

No Old Testament priest ever wore the crown of Israel. No king ever wore the vestments of the high priest. Jesus, the Branch, is Prophet, Priest, and King.


A. God Promised Deliverance.

“The days are coming”—[this is] the Lord’s declaration—“when I will raise up a righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is what He will be named: The Lord Is Our Righteousness. 7 The days are coming”—the Lord’s declaration—“when it will no longer be said: As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt, 8 but: As the Lord lives, who brought and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other countries where I had banished them. They will dwell once more in their own land.” (Jer 23:5-8).

1) We can find more than one interpretation for this. Just before this promise, there is another promise:

“I will gather the remnant of My flock from all the lands where I have banished them, and I will return them to their grazing land. They will become fruitful and numerous. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them. They will no longer be afraid or dismayed, nor will any be missing.” [This is] the Lord’s declaration” (Jer 23:3-4).

To what does this refer? Some will see this as a promise to return the promised remnant to their land, the Land of promise. Certainly, the message God gave Jeremiah demands this interpretation. Others may see an application beyond this. They may see the immigration of Jews from all over the world to Israel following the Second World War as a part of this. Others may point out the fact that the complete fulfillment of the promise here has never been fully realized, and will only be realized in association with end-time events.

2) For our purpose today, it enough to point out the promise, “I will raise up a righteous Branch of David.” We know that the Messiah would be descended from Abraham according to the spiritual promise (the Abrahamic Covenant), and from David according to the royal line (the Davidic Covenant of 2 Sam. 7). The genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter of Matthew establishes the qualifications of Jesus as Messiah because He fulfills both promises, which are both a part of the one great Messianic Covenant. God sent Nathan the prophet to announce to David,

“When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me” (2 Sam 7:12-14).

Certain aspects of the prophecy applied to Solomon, who would succeed David as king over Israel. Some aspects of this prophecy an only apply to Jesus. Jesus is the “righteous Branch of David.” The word branch may apply to a tree limb, but there is another thought here:

“Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:1-2).

When I was growing up in the Mississippi Delta, I often saw a shoot spring up from a root or from a stump. We cut trees to clear land for cotton or soybeans. Then, while we were busy with existing fields, tender shoots would spring up from stumps or roots. If it took some time to get back to the new-ground, some of these shoots would grow to several feet in height. I often had to cut them with an axe or a bush blade. More often, I had to cut them down with a disk, pulled behind a John Deere tractor with lug wheels. The point is, when we cut the tree we thought we were finished with it - the only thing left was for it to rot away. But then, a tender shoot would begin to grow, and if allowed to grow it would grow into a full grown tree.

Satan would do everything in his power to prevent the fulfillment of the Messianic promise. He did everything to destroy or disqualify everyone connected with the prophecy, from Able to Cain; from Noah’s day to Abraham’s day; from Moses’ day to Samuel’s day. There is David, the mighty man of God, but there is also Bathsheba. There is the great king, Hezekiah, but there is also the pride that brought him down. There is the nation itself, God’s Chosen People. Satan confused their understanding of the very words, “Chosen People.” They did not seek the salvation of the nations, they hated them.

Picture the rebellion against God getting so bad that God would raise up an evil nation to take them into captivity for seventy years, promising to bring back only a remnant. It is a good thing the Messianic Covenant did not depend upon the righteousness, worth, or value of the Israelites, is it not? It is also a good thing that my salvation does not depend upon my merit, worth, of works. In the fulness of time, God sent forth His only begotten Son - the Righteous Branch, the Branch of David. What God promised, He fulfilled.

B. The Messianic Covenant Could not Be Broken (Jer. 33:14-22).

1) First, let us look at God’s declaration (33:14-18).

“Look, the days are coming”—[this is] the Lord’s declaration—“when I will fulfill the good promises that I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a Branch of righteousness to sprout up for David, and He will administer justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely, and this is what she will be named: The Lord Is Our Righteousness. For this is what the Lord says: David will never fail to have a man sitting on the throne of the house of Israel. The Levitical priests will never fail to have a man always before Me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices.”

Can there be any doubt as to the One who will fulfill all these promises. There may have been immediate applications, but Jesus is the One we see when we follow that scarlet thread through the Old Testament.

2) The “Jesus promise” cannot be broken (33:19-22).

“The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord says: If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night so that day and night cease to come at their regular time, then also My covenant with My servant David may be broken so that he will not have a son reigning on his throne, and the Levitical priests will not be My ministers. The hosts of heaven cannot be counted; the sand of the sea cannot be measured. So, too, I will make the descendants of My servant David and the Levites who minister to Me innumerable” (Jer 33:14-22).

Now, let me ask you this: Can you break “the covenant with the day and the covenant with the night”? Can you, by willing it, cancel day and night? Can you blot out the sun? When you do that you may question God’s covenant of hope and salvation. That hope is Jesus.


A. We See Him in the Gospels.

1) In Matthew, He is the Immanuel, God with us. He is the Son of Abraham, the Son of David.

2) In Mark, He is the Son of Man and the Son of God. He is Rabbi, Teacher, Lord.

3) In Luke, He is born of a virgin, crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended, coming again.

4) In John, He is the Word, Light, Bread of Life, Water of Life, the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the True Vine, the Good Shepherd, the Door to the Sheepfold.

B. In Acts, He is the Lord Jesus.

1) He is the Chief Cornerstone.

2) His is the only name by which we must be saved. “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

C. We See Him in the Pauline Epistles and General Epistles.

1) He is the Lord and Savior.

2) He is the crucified, resurrected, ascended, returning.

3) He is the Head of the church.

4) His is the name above every other name. “For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11).

5) In Hebrews, He is superior to angels, superior to Moses, superior to the earthly high priest. He is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.

6) In 1 John, He is the propitiation for our sins.

7) In Revelation, He is “ ...The Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty” (Rev 1:8). He is coming, reigning, conquering, judging.


A. There Are Some False Christs in Our Time.

1) The Jesus of the New Age movements is not the Jesus of the Bible. Back in the late eighties and early nineties, there were New Age religious leaders who were telling people if they wanted to find Christ, they should look within themselves. When you do so, they claimed, you will discover that you are Christ. You are God.

Warren Smith, a former New Ager, has recently published a new book, DECEIVED ON PURPOSE, in which he points out certain Christian preachers who use New Age terminology for God and for Christ. I would caution anyone that we must take a second look at any Christian writer who becomes especially popular with the world. Smith, the former New Ager illustrated his point with a quote from a popular pastor and compared it with a quote from a New Age religious leader:

Before you were born,
God planned this moment in your life.
It is no accident that you are holding this book.

Rick Warren
The Purpose-Driven Life, 2002

Now Compare that with this statement:

[T]his book has arrived in your life
at the right and perfect time....
Everything happens in perfect order,
and the arrival of this book in your life
is no exception.

Neale Donald Walsch, New Age leader
Conversations with God: Book 2, 1997

I have not yet formed a final opinion of Smith’s book but I would like to continue to try to determine whether or not it has any merit. I am very concerned about preachers who are afraid to preach about sin, judgment, or repentance for fear of offending someone. We must not let the world define ministry, claim the pulpit, or defile the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

2) The Jesus of Islam is a false Jesus. When Islamic leaders teach that Jesus was a prophet like Mohammed they are talking about a Jesus unknown to the Bible.

3) The Jesus of the liberal church is not the Jesus of the Bible. A Jesus without a virgin birth; a Christ without a Cross; a Savior without an open tomb is not the Christ of the Bible. Jesus warned, “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah! Look—there!’ do not believe it! For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect” (Mark 13:21-22).

B. People Need to See The true Christ.

1) No one seeks Jesus until the Father reveals Him to them and their need for Him. “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven” (Matt 16:15-17).

2) We can see Jesus in the Word of God. If you want to know Jesus, spend time in the world. The Gospels declare the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the pivotal character in the Bible. In the Old Testament, both the Law and the Prophets look ahead to the coming of Jesus Christ. The Gospels record the earthly ministry, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The rest of the New Testament looks back to His earthly ministry, and ahead to His glorious return.

3) We come to know Jesus personally by grace, through faith (Eph. 2:8).

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, but anyone who does not believe is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God” (John 3:16-18).

4) Those who know Him personally are being conformed to the image of Christ daily if they are walking with Him in faith. Paul was inspired to write about Sanctification in Philippians and in Romans. There is no more clear interpretation anywhere than this one: “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29). Sanctification is not reserved only for those who speak in some other tongue, or those who have some emotional experience. Sanctification is being conformed to the image of Christ - being made Christ-like. That is a key ministry of the Holy Spirit. Paul explains how it works: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...” (Phil 2:5a). When you begin to think like Jesus you will begin to act like Jesus. When you begin to think like Jesus you will become Christ-like. When you think like Jesus you will be conformed to the image of Christ. Again, that is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. You cannot do that in the flesh. You can no more sanctify yourself than you could save yourself.


Do you want to see Jesus? Let me assure me that you would have no desire to see Him or to know Him if the Father was not revealing Him to you. Let me also assure you that if you feel compelled to confess your sins and embrace Jesus Christ, trusting Him for His salvation, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. You must not take that lightly.

The Lord invites you to come to Jesus: “Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift” (Rev 22:17).

Jesus promised, “Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).

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