‘Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!'” ‘ Matt. 3:1-3
We are presently cycling through Old Testament quotes that are the most often cited in the New Testament. The criteria is comprised of either a full or partial quote of the Old Testament verse or a recognizable allusion to the verse.
Last week we looked at Psalm 110:1, quoted or alluded to eighteen times in the New Testament. One clear concept communicated through the quotes and allusions to this verse throughout the New Testament is that Jesus Christ upon His ascension fulfilled that prophecy as uttered by David in the Spirit, and now sits at the right hand of God, the power position. Technically, the number two Old Testament citation in the New Testament has to do with visions of the LORD sitting on the throne in heaven recorded by three separate Old Testament individuals: Isaiah (Isa. 6:1) , Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:26-28) and the prophet Micaiah (1 Kings 22:19; parallel verse 2 Chron 18:18). As you may or may not be aware dear reader, this quartet of verses are never directly quoted in the New Testament. So how do they qualify? Well, because they are insinuated many times, primarily in the book of Revelation. How? By the numerous times the statement “sitting on the throne” is mentioned. Only once is one of these verses alluded to other than in the book of Revelation. However, the reference to the Isaiah 6:1 passage in John 12:41 is key to us understanding who Jesus is according to Scripture. Even there, the text isn’t even remotely quoted. What is communicated clearly though, is who Isaiah saw sitting on the throne in heaven – Yahweh. The inspired apostle John further illuminates our understanding by letting us know that who Isaiah really saw was the glorified Jesus Christ! The logical conclusion drawn would be Jesus and Yahweh are one and the same. The third most often mentioned Old Testament quote in the New is Leviticus 19:18, ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.’ This verse, particularly the section “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” is the most often quoted part of an Old Testament verse by Jesus Himself. On four separate occasions in the Gospel accounts it is recorded that Jesus uttered this statement. Ten times total a portion of this verse is mentioned in the New Testament. It would make sense then that since we are a royal priesthood under Christ (1 Peter 2:9), that James would refer (under inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to this principle of “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”, and the practice of it, as fulfilling the “royal law.” Now if you’re wondering, “Who’s my neighbor?”, just tune in to the same answer Jesus gave to the religious folks during His earthly sojourn via the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37. Wanting to spiritually appraise those principles in Jesus’ parable today, the answer would be something like this: Anyone who’s been beaten, robbed and left for dead spiritually by thieves of his/her soul. Those need our mercy and compassion. Amen?