Fulfillment of Words Recorded in the Bible

Breaking Away from Mysticism in Faith Life: Part 6

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

Luke 1:38-45 NIV

There is a specific sequence through which humans encounter the works of God. Initially, we must hear the word of God and then go before God with faith. By doing so, we will eventually receive the evidence God gives and then possess His blessings. Primarily, hearing God’s word comes first, and believing follows. Therefore, even though God could work directly, He does not do so. Instead, He first gives His word in situations where it may be difficult to believe, and then He empowers individuals to believe. As a person believes in the word of God, they begin to experience it, and then the subsequent events will follow.

Even when God’s Son came to the world, to Mary, chosen to be the mother of Jesus, God first made her listen to His words and then believed. Despite being in the process of giving birth to a baby, she came to know about the baby’s identity from the words of the shepherds, and she believed in it. How remarkable! Normally, it is typical for a mother to describe her own child, but Mary heard what the shepherds were saying, “Your child is this and that kind of child.” But then, where did the shepherds get this message from? It was not their personal realization; rather, an angel appeared and conveyed the message to them. They could have chosen not to believe, thinking, “Oh, was that just a dream? If it’s not true, just cut the nonsense!” However, they believed in the angel’s words and hurriedly conveyed this news to Mary. This clearly shows that no human can surpass this process of faith.

The essence of faith lies in believing in situations that seem unbelievable, rather than just accepting the obvious. If it is visible, would the concept of believing necessary? Faith is believing in things that remain unseen; for instance, we have not seen Jesus’ resurrection with our own eyes, but we believe in it, and that is what makes us blessed.

When Jesus’ disciples only heard the news of Jesus’ resurrection and believed it even though they did not see it. However, there was a disciple who attempted to believe only after seeing it, and then Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Of course, believing after seeing is still commendable. Nevertheless, those who believe without seeing are even more blessed, so God anticipates all to have this faith.

God does not require us to believe after everything is perfectly prepared and organized. Instead, even in situations that remain unchanged, God gives us His word and expects us to have faith. This is why it takes time. It requires the passage of time, along with patience, and also encountering persecution. However, when we endure until the end, God will acknowledge us and say, “You truly have faith.”

Nonetheless, the timeframe for acknowledgment of God might surpass the expectations of humans. Some people might become disheartened after only four days of effort and say, “It’s not working,” However, in the Old Testament era, God often required people to wait about 40 years. For instance, after making a covenant with Abraham, God finally acknowledged Abraham’s faith forty years later, saying, “Now I know that you fear God.” Similarly, God allowed Moses to endure hardships for 40 years before calling him and entrusting him with God’s ministry. There are many instances like this. The Israelites wandered for 40 years before finally reaching the land of Canaan. This prolonged duration is due to God’s demand for our faith to reach a level where He can declare, “Now, you are ready.” It is evident that faith requires endurance. However, our faith is not believing blindly; rather, it is believing in God’s word after first receiving God’s words. Then, where do these words originate? They are not insights we independently discover or notions that spontaneously arise; fundamentally, they are words recorded in the Bible. This forms the core of our belief, which never goes beyond the words recorded in the Bible.

Every aspect is being fulfilled according to the words recorded in the Bible. As the angel departed after Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled,” we must acknowledge that we are servants before the Word. This is not about achieving salvation but rather being used by the Lord. Since we are already saved, we must become servants before the Word, who can say, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let Your command come to me.” When we encounter an undesirable task, the decision of whether to take it on or not lies in our hands. Yet, it is essential to make choices that lead to better outcomes. Even if you do not desire it, obeying with faith that God’s word will come true can lead to the best results. While persecution may come along, eventually, God will give you the greatest blessings. Undoubtedly, it would not be easy due to the many obstacles you may face. However, when you truly believe that the Lord Jesus has prepared a reward for you in heaven, then you will be able to obey it. So, the crux of the matter revolves around whether we believe in this or not. When the persecution impends, our decision hinges on belief in the reward promised by the Lord—whether we opt to remain faithful to the Lord or deny Him.

Upon hearing the news, Mary hurried over to Elizabeth’s house. The angel’s proclamation that she would bear a child proved to be quite a challenge for Mary to believe, considering her status as a virgin. However, the angel assured her by offering evidence, saying, “Your relative Elizabeth is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. I only let you know about this. She is not telling anyone yet, but she’s pregnant.” Mary might have pondered, “How can this be? Can she truly be pregnant at her age?” Nevertheless, the angel assured her, “This is what God’s doing. For no word from God will ever fail.” Although this situation was unusual, did not something similar happen to Elizabeth?

Thus, Mary could have quickly confirmed the veracity of the message she received by confirming Elizabeth’s pregnancy. With this in mind, Mary hastened to Elizabeth’s house. While on her way, she might have contemplated, “If I ask her, ‘Are you pregnant?’ Elizabeth will be surprised because she hasn’t told anyone.”

Yet, the moment Mary arrived, Elizabeth spoke first. What were her words? “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is your womb.” She already knew of Mary’s pregnancy even before Mary even spoke. Moreover, Elizabeth exclaimed, “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Mary was surprised by Elizabeth referring to her child as “the Lord.” It’s truly remarkable! Elizabeth continued to express her joy and said, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” She explained that her baby responded with joy in the presence of the Lord. And then she added, “Blessed is she who has believed.”

Elizabeth clearly recognized the significance of the child. She declared, “The Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” She already knew all the things that the angel had said to Mary. And she continued, “Blessed is she, for the word of the Lord has fulfilled her.” The two women were filled with joy and together praised the Lord.

As the time approached for both women to give birth, they each delivered sons. These two children, the one became the end of the Law, the other became the beginning of the Gospel. When these two women came together and shared their happiness, it symbolized the convergence of the Law and the Gospel, as they held hands in joy while recognizing each other’s value. The Law, upon seeing Jesus, was overjoyed and exclaimed, “Wow, the awaited Lord is finally here!” And the Gospel, Jesus Christ rejoiced as the work of the Law came to fruition. Thus, the two finally became one. Elizabeth can be likened to the people of Israel, as she bore the Law. Meanwhile, Mary can be seen as a representation of the human spirit. Human spirit. This scene of the two pregnant women holding hands and joyfully dancing was spectacular.

All the promises made by God in the past have been fulfilled as it is. Like this, our faith rests upon what God first gives His word to us and then works on us to make it come true. Therefore, genuine faith is not about blindly following mere inspiration without any prophecies of the past. Rather, our faith is obeying and fulfilling the words recorded in the Bible. This is where true blessings lie. Just as Elizabeth recognized Mary as blessed because of the presence of God’s word within her, we also can be blessed when God’s word fulfills within us.

Then, when did this word begin to appear? It is the Word from the eternity past. And God planted this word in Abraham, promised him a blessing, and then the blessing has finally come. That is to say, the blessing of Abraham has extended to the Gentiles through Jesus. It is to bear many fruits through Jesus. What is the root of this tree? Its root goes back to Abraham.

Imagine placing a bouquet of flowers into a vase; it is very beautiful and visually pleasing. But it has no roots, so it cannot bear fruit. Although it is beautiful itself, it cannot bear fruit or attract bees. Similarly, there are some people who claim to believe in Jesus but lack a true comprehension of what it means to have faith in Jesus. They do not know about the Law or Abraham. Without this understanding, their faith might be founded on their own ideas or convictions, not centered around Jesus that God commands us to believe in. Consequently, they will fail to bear fruit due to lack of direction.

It is just like placing a single dot. To establish a clear direction and form a straight line, at least two dots are needed. If we do not know where the root is, even if we believe in Jesus and have received the Holy Spirit, we will not know the direction we should take. This can lead to mysticism. The starting point is surely from Abraham. Abraham and then come to Jesus. A midpoint between Abraham and Jesus would be David. Once these three points are connected to form a straight line, we can see the direction clearly. It indicates the path ahead.

Yet, people without roots cannot see the path ahead, so they repeatedly ask God, “God, which is the way I should go? What is Your will for me?” While these people might seem very spiritual and have a close relationship with God, in reality, they are not truly close to God. Instead, they act according to their own desires and wills.

Essentially, this represents anthropocentrism, which can easily grow in this kind of soil where actions are driven by personal desires. These people could stir up divisions and conflicts within the church. Can anthropocentrism and theocentrism be mixed with each other? Absolutely not. Ultimately, the root of all these issues lies in this question: Do you listen to the words of God recorded in the Bible, or do you pick and choose words based on your own emotions? I am not disregarding personal experiences inspired by God’s words. When the foundation of faith is solid, these hold significance. However, if that foundation is lacking, spiritual experiences could veer into mysticism and go beyond the Bible.

Even Jesus never went beyond the words recorded in the Bible!

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:28-30)

Even the reason behind Jesus saying, “I am thirsty,” was because it was recorded in the prophetic books. He intentionally sought out this sentence within the prophetic books, kept it in His mind, and then deliberately said it. This demonstrates how proactively Jesus fulfilled the words. His approach was very aggressive, as He proclaimed, “I will obey when the Lord says!” His purpose was to fulfill the words in the Bible. With the attitude of actively fulfilling the words, He meticulously fulfilled everything that had been foretold about Him. Therefore, He said, “I am thirsty!” to fulfill the words inscribed in the Bible. Even though He could have chosen to omit this sentence due to the potential embarrassment, He chose to do so in order to fulfill the words in the Bible. Despite being the Son of God, He did not dismiss the words of the prophets or the words spoken through human voices. He did not claim, “Oh, God told me directly.” Instead, He intentionally fulfilled everything recorded in the prophetic books through the spoken words of people, ensuring the fulfillment of God’s words. In this way, Jesus showed us an exemplary model of faith.

And now that we are united with Jesus, what is God’s expectation of us? His anticipation is for us to engage with and fulfill these words. God desires us to fulfill all the words in the Bible within Jesus Christ. Thus, there is no need to inquire, “Is this God’s will or not?” We are now endowed with a clear understanding of God’s will. The primary reason we cannot fulfill God’s word lies in the limitations of our human ability and our insatiable desires. Nonetheless, God desires that we give our utmost effort to obey His words and accomplish as much as we can. Therefore, we must pray to seek more of God’s help.

Now, God commands us to fulfill His word! This implies that He has entrusted us with significant authority. He does not merely treat us as mere servants. Therefore, we should discard all the negative, passive, and mystical beliefs from the past and positively fulfill the words of the Bible together.

Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center