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Preaching Jesus -- Consolation Of Israel - Scott Richardson

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April 25, 2010


Preaching Jesus — Consolation of Israel

What did the disciples of the first century preach? “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42).

There are many names and descriptive phrases that refer “the Christ” or in Hebrew, “the Messiah.” To the Jews of the day, perhaps no other title was more closely associated with the Messiah (anointed) than was “the Consolation of Israel.” They looked for the Messiah to be their comforter and in time of distress often bemoaned that the comforter was far from them (Lamentations 1:16). They knew that God would bring comfort, “Comfort, O comfort My people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). They prayed a daily prayer for the consolation. The consolation even took the form of a most intense oath: “May I never see the consolation of Israel if I …” Isaiah 61:13 is a beautiful passage which look forward to the promised comfort.

One of the most touching episodes that we have recorded for us from the time of Jesus’ infancy is found in Luke 2:2532.A righteous and devout man, Simeon, had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Christ. He was looking “for the consolation of Israel.”

Jesus, the Christ, does not just give comfort and consolation, He IS consolation. He promised that even after he left this earth to return to heaven that comfort would come from the Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:1415). The Spirit provided the comfort of Jesus by “bringing to remembrance” all that Jesus spoke, by “testifying” about Jesus, by “disclosing” Jesus. This is exactly the situation Paul describes in Romans. After quoting Isaiah reminding us that the gentiles hope in Christ, he states, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:1213).

We are completely filled with every comfort and need in Christ. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Exactly what is this consolation that we have in Jesus and that Simeon “looked for”? Thayer, in his renowned lexicon, gives a fivepart definition and usage for this “consolation.” He states that in scripture, the word is used as: 1) a calling near, 2) entreaty, 3) encouragement and exhortation, 4) refreshment and joy, and 5) persuasive discourse. Does this fit with Jesus being THE consolation?

A Calling Near

Jesus said that He came to “call” sinners (Mark 2:17). Paul reminds us that God “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2Timothy 1:9).


Entreaty is the idea of humble request or intercession (American Heritage Dictionary). What does Paul say about Jesus? That He “was raised” and is “at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Romans 8:34). Again, he tells us, “there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5). Listen to the Spirit’s word by John, “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1John 2:1) and the writer of Hebrews, “He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Encouragement and Exhortation

The Hebrews writer in quoting God’s writers of old states, “we confidently say, ‘THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?’” (Hebrews 13:6). Notice Jesus’ own words: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) — enough said.

Refreshment and Joy

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:1921). What has His holy prophet Jeremiah said? “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

Persuasive Discourse

Did Jesus convince people of truth by His word? “From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all the things that I have done.’ So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word” (John 4:3941). When the disciples preached Jesus, did it persuade? “But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand” (Acts 4:4). Is it man’s cleverness or the power of the gospel of Jesus that persuades? “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void” (1Corinthians 1:17).

Truly, Jesus is the very definition of “consolation.” The spiritual Israel, God’s children, are richly supplied every need and comfort in Jesus. Do you look for THE consolation? Won’t you receive THE consolation, obey the message of THE consolation and become part of God’s family?

— S. Scott Richardson

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