The messiahship of Jesus
The messiahship of Jesus
One day Jesus of Nazareth asked His disciples who they said He was, and Peter answered that He was the Christ of God, and Jesus commended Peter for his answer. Here is what Matthew wrote: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-19).
We also believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God. What does the word Christ mean? Christ derives from the Greek word Christos, which means ‘the Anointed One’. But there is another word which has the same meaning, that is, Messiah, which derives from the Hebrew word Mashiach. So we can say that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ and also that He is the Messiah.
Why do we believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ or the Messiah? Because in Him were fulfilled the things God had foretold about the Anointed One through the prophets of old, who lived centuries before the birth of Jesus.
God, through the prophets of old, had predicted many things about the Anointed One: His virgin birth, the place where He would be born, the place where He would be brought up, His ministry, His way of life, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection and His ascension to heaven, and other things. And when the fullness of the time came, He brought them to pass: they were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the son (as was supposed) of Joseph the son of Jacob. That’s why we believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ or the Messiah. Now let’s see the predictions the prophets had made about the Messiah and how they were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
He would be born in Bethlehem
The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judah, the city of David, for the prophet Micah had said: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah, as it is written: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:1-11) and again: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:1-7).
He would be born of a virgin
The Messiah would be born of a virgin, for the prophet Isaiah had said: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Mary the mother of Jesus conceived Jesus in her womb through the Holy Spirit, before she and Joseph (to whom she had been pledged to be married) came together. Here is the story of the birth of Jesus according to the Gospel written by Matthew and that written by Luke. Matthew says: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for he will save His people from their sins’. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’, which is translated, ‘God with us’. Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS” (Matthew 1:18-25 – NKJV), and Luke says: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. …. And so it was, that, while they were there [that is, in Bethlehem of Judah], the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 1:26-38; 2:6-7).
He would be called out of Egypt
God foretold through the prophet Hosea that the Messiah would be called out of Egypt: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1).
Jesus, when He was a child, was taken to Egypt by Joseph, His putative father, and then after some time He was brought back to Israel. Here is what Matthew wrote: “The [an] angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. …. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23)
He would descend from David
The Messiah would descend from David, for the prophet Isaiah had said: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse [the father of David], and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:1-2), and the prophet Jeremiah confirmed this with the following words: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch…..” (Jeremiah 23:5).
Jesus was a descendant of David, for Joseph, the putative father of Jesus, was of the house of David. According to the Gospel written by Matthew, the angel of the Lord who appeared to Joseph in a dream (to tell him not to be afraid to take to him Mary his wife, for that which was conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit) called him “son of David” (Matthew 1:20), and according to the Gospel written by Luke, “Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David” (Luke 2:4 – NKJV). That’s why Jesus is called “the Son of David” (Matthew 1:1) because – as Paul says to the Romans – He “was born of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3 – NKJV).
He would be called the Son of God and would reign over the house of Jacob
According to the prophet Isaiah, who spoke by the Spirit of God, the Messiah would be called the Son of God and would reign over the House of Jacob. Here is what he said: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Note that the prophet said, ‘Unto us a son is given’, for with these words God predicted that the Messiah would be called His Son. God foretold through David the same thing, that is to say, that the Messiah would be His Son and would reign over the house of Jacob, for He said to David concerning the Messiah: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (2 Samuel 7:14), and again: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne” (Psalm 132:11 – NIV).
As we saw before, the angel Gabriel, when he appeared to Mary the mother of Jesus, said to her, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:31-33). Jesus Himself stated that He was both the Son of God and the King of the Jews. When the members of the Jewish council asked Him, “Are You then the Son of God?” He said to them, “You rightly say that I am” (Luke 22:70 – NKJV), and when Pilate the governor asked Him if He was the King of the Jews, He answered him, “It is as you say” (Matthew 27:11 – NKJV).
He existed before His conception
As we saw before, the prophet Isaiah said about the Messiah: “Unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6) and the prophet Micah said: ”But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). Therefore the Messiah existed before His conception.
On several occasions Jesus asserted His preexistence before His conception. Here are some of His words which assert His preexistence: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38); “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (John 6:62); “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:28); “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). John the Baptist (who was six months older than Jesus) said to the Jews about Jesus: “This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me” (John 1:15). And Paul stated: “He [Christ] is before all things” (Colossians 1:17). You may ask, ‘Did His preexistence in heaven have a beginning? No, it didn’t, because Jesus is God. He Himself said: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). Therefore, before His conception, Jesus existed from eternity with God the Father in heaven. He is coeternal with the Father.
He would be anointed with the Holy Spirit
As I said before, the word Messiah means ‘the Anointed One’; so the Messiah would be anointed by God with the Holy Spirit. His anointing was foretold by the prophet Isaiah in various ways. Here are his words: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him ….” (Isaiah 42:1); “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2); “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD ….” (Isaiah 61:1-2). Also in the Psalms there is a prediction about the anointing of the Messiah, as it is written: “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Psalm 45:7).
Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit. Here is what Matthew wrote: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:13-17).
His way would be prepared by a messenger
God had foretold that He would send a messenger, who would prepare the way of the Messiah, as He had said through the prophet Malachi: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me” (Malachi 3:1), and the prophet Isaiah: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 40:3-5).
These words were fulfilled in John the Baptist the son of Zechariah, who was a contemporary of Jesus. Let’s see the Scriptures of the New Testament which refer to his birth and his ministry: “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.…….. Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel” (Luke 1:5-25; 57-80); “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:6-34); “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:4-8); “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people” (Luke 3:1-18); “And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:19-35).
He would live in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali
God had foretold that the Messiah would dwell in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali. Here is what the prophet Isaiah said: “Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:1-2).
Jesus, after His baptism, left Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and went to live in Capernaum, which was by the sea in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali, as it is written: “And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali” (Matthew 4:13 – NKJV). The Scripture calls Capernaum “His own city” (Matthew 9:1 – NKJV).
He would preach the Gospel and perform healings and miracles
God had foretold through the prophet Isaiah that the Messiah would preach the Gospel and would deliver the demon-possessed persons and heal the sick and perform miracles. Here is what the prophet Isaiah said: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Isaiah 61:1-2), and again: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:4-6), and again he said: “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows“ (Isaiah 53:4 – NIV).
Jesus of Nazareth preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God and delivered many demon-possessed persons and healed many sick people. Here are some Scriptures of the New Testament asserting this: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils [demons], and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:23-25); “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils [demons]: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick” (Matthew 8:16); “And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:30-31); “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35).
He would warn people not to make Him known
God, through the prophet Isaiah, had said about the Messiah: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law” (Isaiah 42:1-4).
These words were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, for He commanded those who were healed by Him not to make Him known. Here are some words taken from the New Testament asserting this: “But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known” (Matthew 12:15-16). Jesus warned His disciples, too, not to make Him known, for it is written: “Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20 – NKJV).
He would speak to men in parables
God had foretold that the Messiah would speak to men in parables, as it is written in the book of Psalms: “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old” (Psalm 78:2).
Jesus of Nazareth spoke to the multitudes in parables, as it is written: “And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples” (Mark 4:33-34). Why did He speak to them in parables? Because to those who were outside it was not given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Listen to what Jesus said to His disciples when they asked Him why He spoke to the multitudes in parables: “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them” (Matthew 13:11-17). The same answer given by Jesus is recorded in Mark in this way: “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:11-12). From the answer given by Jesus to His disciples we learn that the reason why Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables was that God did not want most of the Jews to turn to the Lord Jesus to obtain the remission of their sins. Why? Because they were predestined not to hear and not to see, and therefore God hardened their hearts, made their ears dull and closed their eyes. In other words, because they were predestined to stumble at the Word, as the prophet Isaiah had said: “And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken” (Isaiah 8:14-15). That’s why most of the Jews did not accept Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah. Listen to what John, one of the apostles of Jesus, wrote about this: “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them” (John 12:37-40). The apostle Paul confirmed this concept saying: “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway” (Romans 11:7-10).
He would be a prophet
Here is what God said to Moses about the Messiah: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).
Jesus was a prophet, for He spoke to the people the words God commanded Him to speak (John 12:48-50), comforting, exhorting and rebuking the people. However, not only did He comfort and exhort and rebuke the people, but He also predicted many things, as the prophets of old did. For example, He foretold the events that must happen before His second coming, as He said to His disciples: “Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors” (Mark 13:5-29). We know that these things Jesus foretold will come to pass at God’s appointed time, for God “fulfills the predictions of his messengers” (Isaiah 44:26 – NIV). Just as the predictions made by the prophets of old were fulfilled at the appointed time, so also the predictions made by Jesus will be fulfilled at the appointed time. Actually some of the predictions He made (such as the predictions concerning wars, famines, earthquakes, and the persecution against His disciples) have been already fulfilled and are being fulfilled in many regions of the world today.
That Jesus was a true prophet, who spoke from God, is evident from the following facts. First, whoever keeps His words is blessed, just as He said (Luke 11:28; Matthew 7:24-25); for example, He said: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 – NKJV), and all those who come to Him find rest for their souls; He said: “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7 – NKJV) and again: “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:23 – NKJV), and we receive from God what we ask the Father in Jesus’ name. Second, in the days of His flesh He made some predictions which were fulfilled during His life: He predicted that He would lose none of those the Father had given Him (John 17:12), and His prediction was fulfilled (John 18:9); He predicted that Peter would deny Him three times (Matthew 26:34), and His prediction was fulfilled (Matthew 26:69-75); He predicted that He would be crucified (John 12:32-33), and His prediction was fulfilled (John 18:31-32; 19:18). So we are full of confidence, and firmly believe that all the predictions made by Jesus who are yet to be fulfilled will be fulfilled at God’s appointed time.
He would be a witness
God had said through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people…. ” (Isaiah 55:4).
Jesus of Nazareth was a witness for He bore witness of what He had heard and seen. He said to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:11-13), and He spoke these words to the Jews: “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me … I speak that which I have seen with my Father … For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (John 5:30; 8:38; 12:49-50). John the Baptist, the man sent by God to prepare the way of the Messiah, said about Jesus: “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:31-34).
He would gather the remnant of the sheep of Israel and shepherd them
According to the prophets, who spoke from God through the Holy Spirit, the Messiah would gather the remnant of the sheep of Israel and would shepherd them and rule over them. Micah had said: “In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever …. I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them ….But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth” (Micah 4:6-7; 2:12-13; 5:2-4). Ezekiel had said: “I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment ….. Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:15-16,22-23). And Isaiah had said: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).
Jesus of Nazareth is the Shepherd, who was born in Bethlehem, and the servant of God, who is called David. He Himself said that He was the Shepherd and that He had come to save the lost sheep of Israel. Listen to what He said: “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd….. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand …. I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (John 10:14-16,27-28; Matthew 15:24).
He would gather other sheep, which were not part of the house of Israel
The prophet Isaiah had said that the Messiah would gather not only the lost sheep of the house of Israel but also other sheep from among the Gentiles. Here are his words: “And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth …. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him” (Isaiah 49:5-6; 56:8).
Besides the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth gathered other lost sheep, which were not Jews by birth, for He said: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
He would lighten the Gentiles
God had said through the prophet Isaiah these words concerning the Messiah: “I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles…. It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Isaiah (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).
Jesus of Nazareth is the Light of the world. That old man named Simeon, to whom the Holy Spirit had revealed that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ, when he had taken the child Jesus up in his arms, said: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32), and Jesus said: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
He would satisfy the spiritual hunger and thirst of people
The prophet Isaiah had said: “They shall not hunger nor thirst; …… for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them … When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them ….The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen” (Isaiah 49:10; 41:17; 43:20).
Jesus of Nazareth satisfied the spiritual hunger of people and quenched their spiritual thirst. He said: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35) and again: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14).
He would save the souls of people from the bondage of sin
The prophet Isaiah had said about the Messiah: “Behold, your God will come …. he will come and save you” (Isaiah 35:4), and the Psalmist had said: “He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight” (Psalm 72:13-14).
Jesus of Nazareth is the One whom God sent to save the souls of men from the bondage of sin. The angel of God who appeared to Joseph said to him about the son Mary would bring forth: “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), and Jesus Himself declared that He came into this world to save people, as He said: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and again: “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).
He would comfort those who mourned
The Spirit of the Messiah had said through the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me …. to comfort all that mourn” (Isaiah 61:1,2).
Jesus of Nazareth comforted those who mourned. For example, He said: “Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh” (Luke 6:21).
He would bring peace
The prophet Micah had said about the Messiah: “And this man shall be the peace…” (Micah 5:5 – The IBRV reads: “Sarà lui che recherà la pace”, that is, “He is the one who will bring peace”).
Jesus of Nazareth “is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14), because by Him we have been reconciled to God. He has given us His peace (John 14:27), which is a peace that surpasses all understanding.
He would give a great joy to people
The prophet Isaiah had said: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me ….to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning … The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel …. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 61:1,3; 29:19; 9:3-7).
Jesus of Nazareth gave people the oil of joy. The wise men, who came from the East to worship Him, “rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matthew 2:10); and “all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him” (Luke 13:17). And John the Baptist also rejoiced, as he said: “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (John 3:29). All those who believed in Jesus rejoiced with joy inexpressible and full of glory, for their sins were forgiven them for His name’s sake (1 John 2:12; Romans 4:7).
He would build the house of God
God had said to David about his seed (that is, the Messiah): “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). And He had said through the prophet Zechariah: “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zechariah 6:12-13). The man called ‘THE BRANCH,” according to the prophet Jeremiah, was the Messiah: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
Jesus of Nazareth, the Seed and Branch of David, built the house of God, that is, the Church, as He said to one of His disciples, called Peter: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The Church is a spiritual house, which is formed by all those who have believed in His name (who are living stones) and it is a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). That’s why it is called “God’s house” (Hebrews 3:6 – NIV). The Church is called both the Church of Jesus Christ and the Church of God, for Jesus said to God: “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine” (John 17:10 – NIV).
He would be hated without reason
The Spirit of Christ had said through the Psalmist: “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head….” (Psalm 69:4), and again: “They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love” (Psalm 109:3-5). So the Messiah would be hated without reason.
Jesus of Nazareth was hated without reason. He did only good to the people and He pursued only what was good for the people, but the world hated Him. Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, said to His disciples: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you …… He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause’ (John 15:18, 23-25 – NKJV). However, it must be said, that several months before Jesus had said to His brothers these words: “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (John 7:7).
He would be despised and reviled
The prophet Isaiah had said about the Messiah: “He was despised … by men” (Isaiah 53:3 – NIV), and David had said: “But I am a worm, and not a man; scorned by men and despised by the people” (Psalm 22:6 – NIV).
Jesus of Nazareth was despised and reviled by the people. His own people said about Him: “He is beside himself” (Mark 3:21); the scribes and the Pharisees said: “He has Beelzebub, and by the ruler of the demons He casts out demons” (Mark 3:22 – NKJV); the Pharisees “derided Him” (Luke 16:14 – NKJV); and many Jews said: “He deceives the people” (John 7:12 – NKJV) and also: “Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19). Later we will see how Jesus was despised and reviled by the members of the Sanhedrin and by king Herod and his soldiers and by the soldiers of the governor and by those who passed by the cross while He was hanging on the cross.
He would be rejected by the Jews
The Messiah had been foreordained to be rejected by the Jews, for the Psalmist had said: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22 – NKJV), and Isaiah had said: “He was …. rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3 – NIV).
Jesus of Nazareth was rejected by the elders of the Jews, by the chief priests and by the scribes and the Pharisees and Sadducees. They did not acknowledge Him as the promised Messiah, but they regarded Him as a blasphemer and so they condemned Him to be deserving of death. One day Jesus spoke this parable to the chief priests and the elders of the people, according to which He would be rejected by them: “There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him” (Matthew 21:33-39). However, the stone which was rejected by the builders, became the cornerstone of the Church of God, a very precious stone to us, as it is written: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:7)
He would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey
The prophet Zechariah had said that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you: He is just and having salvation, lowly, and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9 – NKJV).
Jesus of Nazareth entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, for Matthew wrote: “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. ….. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:1-3, 6-11).
He would be betrayed by one of his friends
The Psalmist had said: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9). So the Messiah would be betrayed by one of his friends.
Jesus of Nazareth was betrayed by one of His disciples, named Judas Iscariot. Here is what Matthew wrote: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him” (Matthew 26:14-16) and again: “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him” (Matthew 26:47-50). Then Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, when he saw that Jesus had been condemned, committed suicide, as it is written: “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5). And with that money the Sanhedrin bought the potter’s field, to bury strangers in, that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD” (Zechariah 11:12-13). That field was called ‘The field of blood.’
His followers would be scattered
The Shepherd-Messiah would be forsaken by his own sheep, for the prophet Zechariah had said: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones” (Zechariah 13:7).
Jesus of Nazareth, when He was arrested, was forsaken by all His disciples, as it is written: “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:47-56).
He would be beaten, mocked and spat and he would not open his mouth
The prophet Isaiah had said that the Messiah would be beaten, spat and mocked; but he would not open his mouth. Here are the words of the prophet: “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting … 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 50:6; 53:7).
Jesus of Nazareth, after He was arrested, was led before the Jewish council, that is, the Sanhedrin, which condemned Him to be deserving of death, and after the members of the council said: “He is deserving of death”, “they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?” (Matthew 26:67-68 – NKJV). Then they delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor, who sent Jesus to king Herod. Hear what happened to Jesus when He was before king Herod: “And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate” (Luke 23:8-11). And after Pilate had given sentence that Jesus had to be crucified the following things occurred: “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him” (Matthew 27:27-31). And they crucified Him, “and those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!’ Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe” (Mark 15:29-32 – NKJV).
He would be crucified with some transgressors
According to the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the Messiah would be crucified, as it is written: “They pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16) and again: “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10); and He would be crucified with some transgressors, as it is written: “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).
Jesus of Nazareth was crucified between two robbers, as it is written: “Then they crucified Him …. Two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left” (Matthew 27:35,38 – NKJV).
They would part his garments among them and cast lots upon his vesture
In the book of Psalms is written this prediction concerning the Messiah: “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture” (Psalm 22:18).
While Jesus of Nazareth was hanging on the cross that Scripture was fulfilled, as it is written in the Gospel according to John: “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be” (John 19:23-24).
In his thirst they would give him vinegar to drink
The Psalmist had said: “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21).
That is what happened to Jesus of Nazareth while He was hanging on the cross, as it is written: “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:28-30).
None of his bones would be broken
The Psalmist had said about the Messiah: “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:20).
That prediction was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, for even though He was crucified, not one of His bones was broken. As it is written in the Gospel according to John: “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 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” (John 19:31-35).
They would make his grave with the rich at his death
As we saw before, the Messiah would be numbered with the transgressors, yet at his death they would make his grave with the rich. Here is what Isaiah had said: “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9).
The body of Jesus of Nazareth was laid in the tomb of a rich man, as it is written: “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed” (Matthew 27:57-60).
He would rise again
The Messiah, after his death, would rise again, for David spoke of his resurrection, saying: “I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:8-11 – NKJV). David, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne; He, foreseeing this, spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul would not be left in Sheol (or Hades), nor would His flesh see corruption. God foretold the resurrection of the Messiah through these words also: “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7).
Jesus of Nazareth rose again the third day and He appeared to His disciples. Here is what Luke wrote: “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest” (Luke 24:1-9). John confirmed the resurrection of Jesus by saying: “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:19-29).
As you can see, the resurrection of Christ was a bodily resurrection, not one of ‘spirit,’ as some say. For Jesus invited doubting Thomas to put his finger in the nail-prints and put his hand in the pierced side. Therefore the risen body of Jesus had flesh and bones. Did He not say to His disciples, who on first seeing Him after He rose thought they were seeing a spirit and were frightened, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:38-39 – NKJV). His risen body, however, differed from our bodies and from His own previous body, because – as we saw before – the Lord Jesus passed through closed doors when He met with the disciples for the first time, and besides this, because His body was immortal (as well as imperishable), as it is written: “Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him” (Romans 6:9 – NKJV), and glorious (Philippians 3:21).
He would sit at the right hand of God
David had said by the Spirit: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1)
Jesus of Nazareth, after He rose again, was received up into heaven and sat at the right hand of the Majesty, as it is written: “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19) and again: “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).
What is Jesus doing in heaven? He is reigning (1 Corinthians 15:25); He is making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25), having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek; He is acting as our advocate due to the sins we commit (1 John 2:1); and He is preparing a place for us, as He said to His disciples: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3 – NKJV).