Jesus! He’s our focus in this blog series based on Josh’s best-selling apologetics classic: More Than a Carpenter. In this post let’s look at whether prophecy helps us to identify the identity of the Savior.
Is Jesus really who He claimed to be — the Son of God and the Jews’ long-awaited Messiah?
Of all the men ever born, Jesus is the only one to fulfill all Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah’s birth, death, and resurrection. Let’s look more at that astounding fact!
Prophecy Reveals the Messiah
Jesus repeatedly pointed to Old Testament prophecy to substantiate His claims about Himself. What events had to precede and coincide with Jesus’ arrival? Let’s look at just a handful.
Let’s start with Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Only Jesus could possibly fulfill this prophecy. Because He’s the only person in history who did not come from the seed of a man. Jesus, as the “seed” of a woman (Christ’s virgin birth), came to us to destroy the works of Satan (bruise his head) and redeem us unto Himself. Hallelujah!
Genesis 9 and 10 helps us to see what prophecy had to say about Jesus’ bloodline. Let’s go all the way back to Noah, who courageously built the ark when God told him about the upcoming flood. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. All nations of the world can be traced back to these three men. Through prophecy, God let it be known that the Messiah would come through the lineage of Shem.
Then God got even more specific. He told Abraham that the Messiah would be one of his descendants. Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. God chose the lineage of Jacob. His 12 sons fathered the 12 tribes of Israel. God then singled out the tribe of Judah, choosing the lineage of Jesse, who had eight sons, one of whom was David. Interesting note: David, regarded as Israel’s greatest king, is the most frequently mentioned person in the Old Testament. Only Jesus is mentioned more frequently than David in the entire Bible.
So, in terms of lineage, prophecy stated that the Messiah must be born of the seed of a woman, the line of Shem, the race of the Jews, the line of Isaac, the line of Jacob, the tribe of Judah, the family of Jesse, and the house of David. Then God eliminated all but one city in the world, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), as the location of Jesus’ birth. God even defined the time of Jesus’ arrival: during a period in which the Jewish Temple is still standing. This is of great significance when we realize that the Temple was destroyed in AD 70 and has not since been rebuilt.
A prophecy dating from 1012 BC predicts that the Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced and that He would be crucified (Psalm 22:6-18, Zechariah 12:10, Galatians 3:13). Don’t miss this fact: The description of Jesus’ death was written 800 years before the Romans used crucifixion as a method of execution. Other Scriptures provide prophetic details on the place, time, and manner of Jesus’ birth, people’s reactions, and His betrayal.
The Old Testament, written over a period of a 1000 years, contains more than 300 references to Christ, recorded hundreds of years before His birth.
The authors of the book Science Speaks ran calculations to analyze the probability of a single person being able to fulfill all Old Testament Messianic prophecy. By analyzing just eight prophecies, they found that the chance of any man fulfilling all eight is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That’s one in 100,000,000,000,000,000. Mind blown! In fulfilling these eight prophecies alone, Jesus gives us proof that God inspired the Old Testament writings.
Some skeptics assert that Jesus was able to fulfill all prophecy by simply taking careful, deliberate action. In other words, Jesus checked off a list, much like you and I might check off our to-do list. Interesting idea — but we’d have to admit that many of the details of Jesus’ birth and death were entirely beyond human control.
Jesus could not have controlled the details of His birth, nor manipulated the details of His betrayal or crucifixion. Jesus was able to fulfill all Old Testament prophecies ONLY because He’s the Son of God.
God gave us so much prophetic information so that we can clearly see that Jesus is the Messiah. That’s how much God wants us to know Jesus. Will you trust in Him today? He’s trustworthy!
Jesus: He’s More Than a Carpenter!
> FREE download: Read the first chapter of Josh’s bestseller, More Than a Carpenter. You can buy the book here.
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