Lesson One: Prophecies Regarding the Christ

This brief little series of lessons focused on the Life of Christ will take us down a number of different paths. We will touch on prophecies regarding the Christ, along with the person, preaching, power and promises Christ.

Why Consider Ancient Prophecies?

Some might wonder why we would consider prophecies spoken and recorded by people who lived thousands of years ago, which have long since been fulfilled. It is my belief that doing so will enhance our understanding regarding the expected Messiah (Christ) and His coming in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. I believe, also, this will enrich our faith in the one of whom the Apostle Peter declared to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

The Laws of Chance?

There are many reasons that contemplating the prophecies of Christ fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth will enrich our spiritual walk. One is set forward by Charles Ryrie. He states that, according to the laws of chance, it would require two hundred billion earths, populated with four billion people each, to come up with one person whose life could fulfill one hundred accurate prophecies without any errors in sequence. Yet the Scriptures record not one hundred, but over three hundred prophecies that were fulfilled in Christ’s first coming alone. (Dr. Charles Ryrie, Today in the Word, December, 1989, p. 7)

Two passages dramatically underscore the powerful impact of the predictive prophecies regarding the Messiah…

Luke 4:14-22, “14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.”

And, again…

Luke 24:36-49, “36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence. 44He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

At the Center

Clearly, at the center of Jesus’ persistent claims to be the Christ stands the compelling body of predictive prophecies, which find their fulfillment in Him! This is one of the reasons that why Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:17 carries such punch. Here He stated: “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill.”

Two ideas stand out:

1) Jesus did not come to destroy the law or the prophets…

The Greek for destroy is καταλύω [kat•al•oo•o], which means: 1 to dissolve, disunite. 1a (what has been joined together), to destroy, demolish. 1b metaphorically, to overthrow i.e. render vain, deprive of success, bring to naught. 1b1 to subvert, overthrow. 1b1a of institutions, forms of government, laws, etc., to deprive of force, annul, abrogate, discard. (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996)

2) Jesus did come to fulfill the law and the prophets…

Here the meaning of πληρόω [play•ro•o], as we read it in the original language, is: 1 to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full. 1a to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally. 1a1 I abound, I am liberally supplied. 2 to render full, i.e. to complete. 2a to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim. 2b to consummate: a number. 2b1 to make complete in every particular, to render perfect. 2b2 to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking). 2c to carry into effect, bring to realization, realize. 2c1 of matters of duty: to perform, execute. 2c2 of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish. 2c3 to fulfill, i.e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfillment. (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996)

Thus, we find in the person of Jesus the fulfillment of an overwhelming number of prophecies, which compel us to trust the witness of the Scriptures with respect to the assertion that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God.

While there are more than 300 Messianic prophecies contained in the Old Testament Scriptures, for the sake of our study we will limit our focus to just 25 specific prophecies related to Jesus’ crucifixion and the accompanying events. These are:

1. Betrayed for Thirty Pieces of Silver

Prophecy: Zechariah 11:12, “And I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:14-15, “Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver.”

2. Betrayed By a Friend

Prophecy: Psalm 55:12-14, “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. 13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend. 14 We who had sweet fellowship together, Walked in the house of God in the throng.” (See also Psalm 41:9; Zech 13:6).

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:49-50, “And immediately he went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.”

3. The Money Cast to the Potter

Prophecy: Zechariah 11:13, “Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:5-7, “And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7 And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers.”

NOTE: Notice that in both prophecy and fulfillment we find stated that (1) it was silver; (2) there were 30 pieces (Matt. 27:3); (3) they were thrown down; (4) they were cast down in the House of the Lord; and (5) the money was used to purchase the potter’s field.

4. The Disciples Forsook Him

Prophecy: Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:56, “But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled. (See also Mark 14:27)

5. Accused by False Witnesses

Prophecy: Psalm 35:11, “Malicious witnesses rise up…”

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:59-60, “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death; and they did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward…”

6. Smitten and Spat Upon

Prophecy: Isaiah 50:6, “I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:30, “And they spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.”

NOTE: Note here the details that correspond in both prophecy and fulfillment (1) He was to be smitten, (2) He was to be smitten on the face (as well as the other parts of the body). See Luke 22:64. (3) He was to be spat upon, and (4) He was to be spat upon in the face.

7. Silent Before His Accusers

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:12-14, “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.”

8. Wounded and Bruised

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:5, “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:26, 29, “Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified. . . . And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’”

9. Fell Under the Cross

Prophecy: Psalm 109:24, “My knees are weak from fasting; and my flesh has grown lean, without fatness.”

Fulfillment: John 19:17, “They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.” -and- Luke 23:26, “And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.”

NOTE: Evidently the Lord was so weak that His knees gave way under the weight of the heavy cross. So they had to put it on another.

10. Hands and Feet Pierced

Prophecy: Psalm 22:16, “For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.”

Fulfillment: Luke 23:33, “And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.”

NOTE: Christ was crucified in the customary Roman manner, the hands and feet being pierced by huge spikes which fastened the body to the wooden cross. See John 20:25-27 “. . . except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails . . . Then said He (Jesus) to Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold My hands,”

11. Crucified with Thieves

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:12, “Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.”

Fulfillment: Mark 15:27-28, “And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 28 (And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors.’)”

12. Prayed For His Persecutors

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:12, “Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.”

Fulfillment: Luke 23:34, “But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.”

13. People Shook Their Heads

Prophecy: Psalm 109:25, “I also have become a reproach to them; When they see me, they wag their head.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:39, “And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads.”

14. People Ridiculed Him

Prophecy: Psalm 22:8 “Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:41-43, “In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him, and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him. 43 “He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

15. People Astonished

Prophecy: Psalm 22:17, “I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me.”

Fulfillment: Luke 23:35, “And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”

16. Garments Parted and Lots Cast

Prophecy: Psalm 22:18, “They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.”

Fulfillment: John 19:23-24, “The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 They said therefore to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be;” that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

17. His Inquisitive Cry

Prophecy: Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? “that is, “ My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ?”

18. Gall and Vinegar Given Him

Prophecy: Psalm 69:21, “They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

Fulfillment: John 19:28-29, “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth.”

19. Committed Himself to God

Prophecy: Psalm 31:5, “Into Thy hand I commit my spirit; Thou hast ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.”

Fulfillment: Luke 23:46, “And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.” And having said this, He breathed His last.”

20. Friends Stood Afar Off

Prophecy: Psalm 38:11, “My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; And my kinsmen stand afar off.”

Fulfillment: Luke 23:49, “And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee, were standing at a distance, seeing these things.”

21. Bones Not Broken

Prophecy: Psalm 34:20, “He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken.”

Fulfillment: John 19:33, “…coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs…” –and– John 19:36, “For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” Not a bone of Him shall be broken.”

22. Heart Broken

Prophecy: Psalm 22:14, “I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.”

Fulfillment: John 19:34, “but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

NOTE: The blood and water running out of the pierced side presented as evidence that the heart had literally burst.

23. His Side Pierced

Prophecy: Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.”

Fulfillment: John 19:34-37, “…one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. <sup35 And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” Not a bone of Him shall be broken. “37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

24. Darkness Over the Land

Prophecy: Amos 8:9, “And it will come about in that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “That I shall make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:45, “Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.”

NOTE: The Jews reckoned twelve hours from sunrise to sunset. This would make the sixth hour about noon, and the ninth hour near three o’clock.

25. Buried in a Rich Man’s Tomb

Prophecy: Isaiah 53:9, “His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”

Fulfillment: Matthew 27:57-60, “And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.”

So,
what do
we conclude
from these verses?

1) God is ABLE!

2) God’s Word is RELIABLE!

3) Jesus, the Christ, is BELIEVABLE!

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
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5 Responses to Lesson One: Prophecies Regarding the Christ

  1. preacherman says:

    Bill,
    I want to tell you that is one of my favorite posts that you have done. It is amazing how many prophocies pointed to Christ and how many missed it. Refused to see it. Ignored it. Even today. May we as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ use these prophecies to show people who Jesus is, that He is the Son of the Living God, The Savior of Mankind. Thank you for this wonderful post brother. Keep up the great work and I hope and pray that your new ministry is going good. You are in my prayers. God bless you this new week as you serve Him.

  2. cwinwc says:

    Bill – You are a good man Brother. I hope you don’t mind if I use (and give credit to you) some of this post in my Incarnational Theology Sunday School Class. Great stuff. Great God!

  3. Greg England says:

    Well yes … if you want to put it like that!

    Good stuff. These are the facts that, years ago, erased any doubt in my mind as to the divinity of Christ. Years later I was able to move beyond reason to relationship … which is why Jesus came and died in the first place.

    Again, good stuff, brother.

  4. Steve says:

    Good post, Bill. Having had a bit of hand surgery, I’m understanding more personally the idea of being pierced, but I was numbed up. Jesus suffering is beyond imagination, but I have to think the knowledge of what was coming was just as much suffering for our Savior.

    Peace.

  5. Kathy says:

    Hey there, dear brother-in-Him!

    Sorry I’ve not been a visitin’ here lately, but life has decided to overload me with stuff – just stuff!! I keep telling everyone I’m not supposed to be busy, I’M RETIRED!! 😉

    Mike is in a new series of the BIG stories from the Bible, mostly from the OT. There is a richness we often miss, mostly about Jesus. This is a great post and very timely for those of us from Highland that read here.

    Glad you’re at it again!

    In His love, grace and mercy.

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