As Christians, we claim that Jesus is the Messiah, that He was sent by God the Father to save all those who believe in Him from their sin. Why do we believe that Jesus is the Messiah? The Bible testifies to the fact that many even in Jesus’ day claimed to be the Messiah (Acts 5:36-37), so why should we have confidence that Jesus truly is the Messiah? There are many ways to answer this question, but for the purpose of this article, we will look at some of the Messianic prophesies that Jesus fulfilled.
The very first prophesy of the Messiah can be found in Genesis 3:15, and throughout the entire Old Testament there are hundreds of Messianic prophesies describing where He would be born, things He would say, things that would be said to Him and even how He would die. If Jesus only fulfilled a few of these, then He should not be considered the Messiah promised by God. On the other hand, if Jesus did fulfill the prophesies, then there is no reason to not believe He was sent by God to save His elect.
There are prophesies that are remarkable because of how precise they are. When Jesus was on the cross, He cried out that He was thirsty. As a result, a Roman soldier put a sponge soaked in vinegar on a long stalk to give for Jesus’ thirst. This fulfills one of the Messianic prophesies in Psalm 69 where King David wrote, “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink (Psalm 69:21).”
Other prophesies stand out because of how unlikely they are. Isaiah 53 is known as part of the “Suffering Servant” passages that has several prophesies of what the Messiah would suffer. The entire concept of a suffering Messiah itself did not make sense because the Messiah was supposed to be a conqueror. For example, in one verse Isaiah prophesies that the Messiah would suffer with criminals and be buried in a rich man’s tomb even though He was innocent (Isaiah 53:9). All three prophesies were fulfilled when Jesus was pronounced innocent (John 18:38), hung on the cross between two criminals (Luke 23:32-33), and was buried in the tomb of Joseph, “a rich man from Arimathea (Matthew 27:57).”
Some prophesies are amazing because of how specific they are and how God orchestrated the events. One example of this is Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. We see in Luke 2:4 that even though Jesus’ earthly parents lived in Nazareth, they had to go to Bethlehem due to the census that was ordered by Augustus, the Roman Caesar at the time. In Matthew’s Gospel, he tells his readers that Jesus was born there to fulfill the prophesy of Micah 5:2 (see also Matthew 2:5-6). Only God in His providence could cause the ruler of the most powerful empire to make decisions that ensured Jesus would fulfill all that was written about Him.
This is a very small list of the prophesies about Jesus the Messiah and there are hundreds more that He fulfills. There is no way a person could manipulate that many circumstances to falsely make himself the Messiah. What is even more notable is that most of the fulfilled prophecies were things that were done to Jesus, not by Him. He had no control over where or when He was born, He could not falsely accuse Himself, decide which cross He would be nailed to or influence what drinks would be at the place of His execution. He is the true fulfillment of the prophecies.
In a sense, there are some prophesies that have not yet been filled and the best is yet to come. The Book of Revelation tells of the things that Jesus has not yet done to complete God the Father’s plan of redemption for His people including His final work of redemption where:
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:3-5).
We can be confident since Jesus fulfilled all that was written about Him for His first coming, He will certainly do the same and complete God’s plan at His second coming when God’s timing for it comes. We can take great comfort in the last words of Jesus our Savior recorded in the Bible, “Surely, I am coming soon (Revelation 22:20).”
Let us echo John’s response, “Come, Lord Jesus!”