Jesus and Prophecy
By J.L. Robb
Why did Jesus come to begin with, and how did so many Jews know He was the Christ?
My good buddy Russ Ivey operates one of Atlanta’s largest malls. I met him as a business client many years ago, and we became friends. Russ is also an actor in the Atlanta area, and I have seen many of his plays. A couple of years ago he played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar; and I have to say, it was amazing. Some talent just never gets discovered. Great voice, and the singing is not easy.
I did a study once of the characters in the Andrew Lloyd Webber original movie. Most of the characters didn’t believe in God, and some doubted Jesus’ existence. The movie was filmed in Israel, and by the time the filming was complete almost every character became a believer. As they researched the characters they played, they began to see how very special these people were. As they learned of the miracles that Jesus performed and studied the historical data that backed the stories up, they were as one actor said, “awestruck.”
Many unbelievers think that the only “proof” Christians have to offer are the writings of the Apostles. Wrong again.
Flavius Josephus, a 1st century Roman Jew, was a historian and wrote several famous works. One was Antiquities of the Jews, written at the request of the Roman emperor at the time. He wanted a history of the Jewish people who worshipped a single, invisible god. They were considered quite odd in their worship and in their tenacity. Here’s one reference to Jesus:
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.” – Jewish Antiquities 18.3.3
Of course, Jesus mythologists wouldn’t believe a DNA sample.
According to the Apostles, Jesus did so many miracles they couldn’t write them all down. There were plenty that were recorded. There were also dozens of prophecies made about the Messiah to come. These predictions were clues to a puzzle that’s easy to figure out if you pay attention. The puzzle was, how will you know the messiah is really The Messiah when He comes?
Here are a few clues for the unbeliever:
Zechariah made this prediction in 520 B.C. (approximately) when he was telling the Israelites about the Messiah who would come save them from themselves. They weren’t real obedient to God.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10) (italics added) 520 B.C.
So did that happen?
“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” (John 19:34) 33 A.D.
How did Zechariah know that would happen? He didn’t know who the Messiah would be, when He would come and crucifixions using a stake with crossbar hadn’t been invented at the time. That happened in the 1st century B.C.
There are many other predictions and fulfillments if one wishes to research. Here is a partial listing:
|Betrayed by a friend||Psalm 41:9||John 13:18-27|
|Sold for thirty pieces of silver||Zechariah 11:12||Matthew 26:14,15|
|Forsaken by His disciples||Zechariah 13:7||Mark 14:27-50|
|Accused by false witnesses||Psalm 35:11,20,21||Matthew 26:59-61|
|Silent before His accusers||Isaiah 53:7||Matthew 27:12-14|
|Wounded and bruised||Isaiah 53:4-6||1Peter 2:21-25|
|Beaten and spat on||Isaiah 50:6||Matthew 26:67,68|
|Mocked||Psalm 22:6-8||Matthew 27:27-31|
|Hands and feet pierced||Psalm 22:16||John 20:24-28|
|Crucified with thieves||Isaiah 53:12||Matthew 27:38|
|Prayed for His enemies||Isaiah 53:12||Luke 23:34|
|People shake their heads||Psalm 22:7, 109:25||Matthew 27:39|
|Clothes gambled for||Psalm 22:18||John 19:23,24|
|Became very thirsty||Psalm 22:15||John 19:28|
|Gall and vinegar offered to Him||Psalm 69:21||Matthew 27:34|
|His forsaken cry||Psalm 22:1||Matthew 27:46|
|Committed Himself to God||Psalm 24:30||Luke 23:46|
|Bones not broken||Psalm 34:20||John 19:32-36|
|His side pierced||Zechariah 12:10||John 19:34,37|
|Buried in a rich man’s tomb||Isaiah 53:9||Matthew 27:57-60|
There is another prophecy about the Messiah, another event that would separate Him from all other men.
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7 KJV (italics added)
The first time I saw the movie Jesus Christ Superstar was 1973. I wasn’t a believer at that time but hardly ever did I miss a Jesus movie. I have probably seen them all, at least the major productions.
When they got to the beating scene, it was impressive in the brutality that He suffered. What was more impressive to me was that, at least in this movie, Jesus never cried out in pain. When they nailed Him to the cross, He did not cry out in pain. He openeth not His mouth.
When I watched The Bible Series on History Channel, I made a point to note the accuracy of this scene. They blew it as Jesus screamed like a maniac… just like any other man would do. In Jesus Christ Superstar, King Herod watched Jesus’ 39 lashes with obvious amazement that Jesus didn’t cry out. They wanted Him to. That was a miracle, another clue, that Jesus was the predicted Messiah.
If Jesus had not been pierced, He would not have been the Messiah; but He was.
If Jesus cried out in pain at His journey to the Cross, then He would not be the Messiah.
If the Roman soldiers had broken Jesus’ legs to hasten death, like happened in other crucifixions, then Jesus would not be the Messiah.
“He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:20) 1000 B.C.
“But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, ‘A bone of him shall not be broken.’” (John 19:33-36) 33 A.D.
Jesus came to save us from ourselves; after all, who could possibly keep all 613 Laws that God laid down. It was predicted that the Messiah would be rejected by the Jewish aristocracy, which was good for the rest of us. Why did so many of the Jews become believers? They saw the prophecies fulfilled with their own eyes.
The play starts next week, and I can’t wait. A screaming Jesus is not the real Jesus. Prophecies always come true. Some are happening right before our eyes.