TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  The Messiah’s Identity

Set/Reset Bookmark

Go to Bookmark

Chapter 11  Part I

The Messiah’s Identity

The OT Scriptures speak of a leader chosen and sent by God to save his people and to reign forever. This leader is known as the “Christ” or the “Messiah” – which are Greek and Hebrew terms respectively, meaning the “anointed” or the “Anointed One”. In NT times the Jews looked forward to the Messiah’s coming and many still do today. But the NT provides compelling evidence that this Messiah was in fact Jesus Christ.

Note that this chapter is in a sense a prologue to the whole of Unit C. God and the World: Jesus Christ, as Jesus being the Christ or Messiah undergirds many of the topics.

The Promise of a Messiah in OT Scripture

See also:

Note that in addition to the references in this section, there are a number of other OT passages that are understood to refer to the Messiah, many of which appear in the subsections cross-referenced immediately above and at the beginning of some of the following subsections.

The OT Scriptures speak of a coming anointed one of God, who would have God’s Spirit on him . . .

Ps 2:2  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, … ▤ 

This was composed for the coronation of Davidic kings, but is understood to be messianic – ultimately speaking of the Messiah.

Dan 9:24-26a  “Seventy weekse are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.f 25Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. ▤ 

e Or sevens; also twice in verse 25 and once in verse 26

f Or thing, or one

The text note at the end of v. 24 indicates that “to anoint a most holy place” may be referring to the anointing of a most holy “one” – i.e. the Messiah, spoken of in the subsequent verses. As the ESV text stands, quite possibly the consecration of a future temple of God is in view. Verse 26a was fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s death. Regarding the “weeks”, many scholars understand the term to denote seven years – and thus the seventy “weeks” (v. 24) to be 490 years. However there is a lack of agreement as to what periods of time are being referred to. Note that “to seal both vision and prophet” (v. 24) is usually understood as meaning to confirm and/or fulfill prophecies (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

Ps 45:6-7  Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; 7you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; … ▤ 

Psalm 45 is seen as messianic, as borne out in v. 6a.

Ps 132:17  There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. ▤ 

Probably “my anointed” refers at least primarily to David, but it is often understood to ultimately be speaking of the coming messianic anointed one of God – “My Anointed” (NKJV).

Isa 61:1  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;g he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;h … ▤ 

g Or afflicted

h Or the opening [of the eyes] to those who are blind; Septuagint and recovery of sight to the blind

These words are prophetically attributed to the Messiah.

Isa 11:1-2  There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2And 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 the fear of the Lord. ▤ 

Isa 42:1b  I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. ▤ 

. . . They describe him as a remarkable chosen servant of God

Isa 42:1a  Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; … ▤ 

Isa 49:1-3, 5-7  Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. 2He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. 3And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” ▤ 5And now the Lord says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him— for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has become my strength— 6he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” 7Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” ▤ 

i Or I will display my beauty

Verse 2 speaks of God readying the one he had called for the decisive work ahead. In v. 3 “Israel” is usually understood to be a reference to the messianic servant, quite possibly as the one who would embody and accomplish all that Israel should have been and done in bringing God’s salvation to all nations.

Isa 52:13  Behold, my servant shall act wisely;j he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. ▤ 

j Or shall prosper

Isa 53:11  Out of the anguish of his soul he shall seek and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. ▤ 

k Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll he shall see light

Hag 2:23  On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like al signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

l Hebrew the

Many understand Zerubbabel – an ancestor of Jesus Christ (cf. Matt 1:12-13) – to be spoken of here as foreshadowing the Messiah. This is reflected in him being “chosen” by God and being described as God’s “servant” and “signet ring” – the latter term implying that he was representative of God’s authority, to implement his will.

Zec 3:8  Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. ▤ 

The term “the Branch” is a messianic title (cf. Zec 6:12-13 ).

  • The Jews also spoke of “the Christ of God, his Chosen One”:

Luke 23:35  And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” ▤ 

Here the Jewish rulers refer to OT teaching of the coming of God’s Christ, speaking of him as the one chosen by God.

The OT promises that such a one would arise as a great ruler of Israel

See also:

Gen 49:10  The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him;m and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. ▤ 

m By a slight revocalization; a slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Targum) until he comes to whom it belongs; Hebrew until Shiloh comes, or until he comes to Shiloh

Particularly in view of the text note (cf. AMP, NCV, NIV, NLT), this is commonly understood to refer to a great ruler coming from the tribe of Judah. Both this and the following prophecy from Numbers 24:17-19 may have been initially fulfilled in David, but probably both primarily or ultimately refer to the promised, divinely appointed leader.

Num 24:17-19  I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the foreheadn of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth. 18Edom shall be dispossessed; Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed. Israel is doing valiantly. 19And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion and destroy the survivors of cities! ▤ 

n Hebrew corners [of the head]

This speaks of the messianic leader of Israel crushing Israel’s enemies, exercising dominion beyond Israel.

Jer 30:21  Their prince shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the Lord. ▤ 

Dan 9:25a  Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. ▤ 

In this context, “a prince” speaks of a significant ruler of Israel.

Mic 5:2  oBut you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. ▤ 

o Ch 5:1 in Hebrew

Zec 6:11-13  Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. 13It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’ ▤ 

This crowning of the high priest (v. 11) is understood to be symbolic, portraying the messianic King-Priest who would build the temple of God (v. 12). The final statement (v. 13b) affirms that this leader will combine and bring harmony between the two offices of Priest and King (cf. AMP). Note that the temple of God (v. 12) is quite possibly a reference to the church, although some consider it to represent a millennial temple.

Zec 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. ▤ 

Zec 10:4  From him [Judah] shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler—all of them together. ▤ 

A number of commentators understand this to be messianic. The terms “cornerstone” and “tent peg” invoke thoughts of a supportive mainstay; the “battle bow” signifies might against enemies. Arguably “every ruler” looks forward to the ultimate ruler, the Messiah.

Mal 3:1  Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

This verse points to the messianic ruler – “the Lord” – bringing a new covenant, between God and his people.

Ps 80:16-18  They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face! 17But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! 18Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! ▤ 

Verse 16a speaks of Israel, God’s people (v. 16b). The nation of Israel may also be in view in v. 17 (cf. vv. 14-15). Alternatively v. 17 may speak of a Davidic king – possibly in particular the Messiah, through whom the nation would be given life (v. 18). This is perhaps supported by the use of the term “the son of man”, which was commonly used by Jesus Christ as a reference to himself. But note that v. 15 speaks of Israel with similar terminology – “the son whom you made strong for yourself”.

Ezek 21:25-27  And you, O profanep wicked one, prince of Israel, whose day has come, the time of your final punishment, 26thus says the Lord God: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. 27A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it. This also shall not be, until he comes, the one to whom judgment belongs, and I will give it to him. ▤ 

p Or slain; also verse 29

Some commentators understand the “turban” to refer to the high priesthood. This being the case, with the reference also to the “crown”, these verses would point to the dual role of high priest and king of the one to come (cf. Zec 6:13 ). Verse 27 appears to be speaking of Jerusalem and/or Israel being made a ruin, until the one comes “to whom judgment belongs” – the Messiah, to whom the right to rule would be given (v. 27; cf. AMP, NCV, NIrV). Note, however, that in light of the rendering in some translations of v. 27b, Nebuchadnezzar could be in view (cf. CEV, GNT) as the ruler of the Babylonians who would sack Jerusalem.

The OT says the ruler will bring justice and salvation to the nations

See also:

Isa 11:3-4  And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. ▤ 

Isa 42:1-4, 6-7  Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4He will not grow faint or be discouragedq till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. ▤ 6“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. ▤ 

q Or bruised

Verse 4b appears to speak of “foreign nations” (CEV; cf. GNT, NCV, NLT) putting their hope in the Messiah’s “law” or rule to bring justice and salvation. Note that these verses are part of the first of Isaiah’s four “servant songs” – possibly extending to v. 9. The others are in 49:1-7 or 1-13 (extracts of which follow); 50:4-9 or 4-11; and 52:13-53:12. Some consider that 61:1-3, or 1-11 to be a fifth “servant song”. Most commentators understand each of these to be primarily speaking of the Messiah, the divinely appointed leader.

Isa 49:5-6  And now the Lord says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him— for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has become my strength— 6he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” ▤ 

Isa 52:15  … so shall he sprinkler many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. ▤ 

r Or startle

The meaning of the Hebrew term translated here as “sprinkle” is not clear (cf. NRSV text note). It possibly means “cleanse” (NLT text note) – as “sprinkle” implies – in which case “sprinkle many nations” would have in view the cleansing and consequent salvation of the Gentiles by the Messiah.

Isa 55:4  Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. ▤ 

This is either referring to the Messiah or back to David (cf. v. 3) as “one (One) who shall testify of salvation” to the peoples (AMP). Even if David is primarily in view, the prophecy is ultimately fulfilled in the Messiah.

Ezek 17:22-23  Thus says the Lord God: “I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. ▤ 

This is understood to be a messianic promise. The “sprig” (v. 22) – i.e. a small stem – likely symbolizes the Messiah, who is thus portrayed as being given a place of authority above all others. The birds (v. 23b) most likely represent other nations or people from them, who would find shelter in the messianic kingdom produced by the “sprig”. As such this points to the Messiah’s salvation – and even his justice – for all peoples.

Isa 9:1-2  sBut there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.t 2 u The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. ▤ 

s Ch 8:23 in Hebrew

t Or of the Gentiles

u Ch 9:1 in Hebrew

The Messiah is in view here (cf. vv. 6-7) as bringing light – effectively the light of salvation – to Gentiles.

Isa 51:4-5  Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a lawv will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. 5My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait. ▤ 

v Or for teaching; also verse 7

This speaks of God bringing justice and salvation to the nations. However the references elsewhere in Isaiah to God’s messianic servant bringing justice (cf. Isa 11:4 ; Isa 42:1-4 ) and salvation (cf. Isa 49:6 ) – and “light” (cf. Isa 42:6 ; Isa 49:6 ) – point to God doing this through the work of the Messiah.

  • The OT Scriptures speak of God giving the Messiah sovereign authority and of all peoples serving him:

Dan 7:13-14  I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. ▤ 

The OT speaks of the ruler crushing the wicked

Isa 11:4b  … he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. ▤ 

Isa 49:1-2  Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. 2He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. ▤ 

Particularly in view of the imagery in 11:4b above, this may well point to the Messiah inflicting judgment on the wicked (vv. 8-9; cf. Rev 19:15). However a number of commentators understand it to be speaking primarily of the power and incisiveness of the Messiah’s words.

Ps 2:6-9  [God:] “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9You shall breakw them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” ▤ 

w Revocalization yields (compare Septuagint) You shall rule

Like the following two references (21:8-9; 110:5-6), this is from a psalm concerning a Davidic king and with messianic applications. Installed by God as King in Zion (v. 6), the Messiah will assert his authority over the nations (vv. 8-9). In so doing, he will shatter the wicked among them (v. 9b; cf. Rev 19:15).

Ps 21:8-9  Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. 9You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. ▤ 

The final statement (v. 9b) speaks of the manifestation of God’s wrath with the appearance of the Davidic king.

Ps 110:5-6  The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. 6He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefsx over the wide earth. ▤ 

x Or the head

Note that the “Lord” (v. 5) refers either to God, as he crushes rulers through his Messiah, or to the Messiah himself, referred to in v. 1 both as “Lord” and as being seated at God’s right hand as may be the case here in v. 5a.

Hag 2:21-23  “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother. 23On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like ay signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.” ▤ 

y Hebrew the

As commented earlier, many understand Zerubbabel here as foreshadowing the Messiah. The passage quite possibly ultimately points to the day of the Lord when God’s Messiah will come with his authority and the earthly powers will be crushed.

Mal 3:1-2, 5  Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. ▤ 5“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

This is generally understood as referring to the Messiah’s coming and God’s judgment through him. The wicked who have done things such as those things mentioned in v. 5 will not be able to endure or stand on that day.

The ruler would be a descendant of King David, in accordance with God’s promise to David

See also:

1Chr 17:11-14  When your [David’s] days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, 14but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever. ▤ 

This is God’s promise to David, as referred to in the above subheading, of a permanent kingdom under a godly and powerful king from David’s line. It speaks initially of David’s son Solomon, but the promise is understood to be consummately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In vv. 12, 14, the “house” refers firstly to the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem; in a messianic context it is readily applicable to God’s people, the church.

Ps 132:11, 17-18  The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your bodyz I will set on your throne. ▤ 17There [in Zion] I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. 18His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.” ▤ 

z Hebrew of your fruit of the womb

As is the case with the other passages in this subsection, this is understood to be messianic. The “horn” and “lamp” (v. 17) speak of the strength (“horn”) and continuation (“lamp”) of David’s dynasty, and would be embodied by the Messiah. The “lamp” metaphor appears to come from or allude to God’s promise to David that he would “always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem” (1Ki 11:36).

Isa 11:1  There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. ▤ 

Jesse was David’s father. The “stump of Jesse” refers to the family or line of David – likening David’s line to the remains of a tree that had been “cut down” (GNT), primarily in reference to the fall of Jerusalem (587 B.C.).

Isa 16:5  … then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness. ▤ 

Jer 23:5  Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. ▤ 

Jer 33:14-17, 25-26  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ 17“For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, ▤ 25Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, 26then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.” ▤ 

Mark 12:35  And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? ▤ 

Jesus is not questioning that the Christ is the son of David, but using this acknowledged truth to begin making a point.

John 7:42  Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was? ▤ 

Acts 2:29-30  Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, … ▤ 

  • Jesus’ followers associated him with the promised establishment of David’s kingdom:

Mark 11:9-10  And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” ▤ 

The OT also says he would suffer and die, for people’s sins – but then be raised and exalted

See also:

Isa 50:6  I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. ▤ 

This appears to anticipate the suffering of the messianic servant detailed shortly afterwards in Isaiah, in the extracts below.

Isa 52:13-15  Behold, my servant shall act wisely;a he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. 14As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— 15so shall he sprinkleb many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. ▤ 

a Or shall prosper

b Or startle

Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (cf. Isa 53:1-12 ) is the fourth of Isaiah’s “servant songs”. It depicts the sufferings of the messianic servant and the resulting atonement for God’s people. It has been called “the gospel in the OT” and is quoted in the NT more than any other OT passage. Verse 13 speaks of the Messiah’s exaltation. In speaking of the Messiah being exalted (cf. v. 15) after dying (cf. v. 14), such references imply that he would be raised to life (cf. Isa 53:10-12 ). Regarding the use of “sprinkle” (v. 15a), see the earlier comment under The OT says the ruler will bring justice and salvation to the nations. The remainder of v. 15 indicates that such will be the exaltation of the messianic servant that kings will be “speechless with amazement” (GNT) when they see his exaltation, and understand who he is and what he has accomplished.

Isa 53:3-12  He was despised and rejectedc by men; a man of sorrows,d and acquainted withe grief;f and as one from whom men hide their facesg he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief;h when his soul makesi an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall seej and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,k and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,l because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. ▤ 

c Or forsaken

d Or pains; also verse 4

e Or and knowing

f Or sickness; also verse 4

g Or as one who hides his face from us

h Or he has made him sick

i Or when you make his soul

j Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll he shall see light

k Or with the great

l Or with the numerous

The clause “laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v. 6) may well allude to the High Priest on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16) placing his hands on the scapegoat and confessing Israel’s sins, symbolically placing these sins on it. Verse 10 appears to speak of God raising his messianic servant to life (following his death): “… he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days …” The term “his offspring” (v. 10b) refers to the messianic servant’s spiritual descendants – those who would be given life through him. The resurrection of the Messiah is further spoken of in vv. 11-12. The phrase rendered “by his knowledge” (v. 11) may mean “because of what he has experienced” (NLT) or “by knowledge of him” (NIV® text note). All these alternatives are pertinent.

Dan 9:26a  And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. ▤ 

Zec 12:10  And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. ▤ 

This speaks of the people of Israel grieving over the Messiah whom they had killed. The phrase “when they look on me” could possibly be speaking of them looking “to” him (cf. NIV text note) in faith, or physically looking on him, presumably on his return. The latter interpretation in particular implies that the Messiah would be raised from death to life.

Zec 13:7  “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the Lord of hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. ▤ 

The “shepherd” is the Messiah, spoken of here as being killed or executed.

  • The OT Scriptures say that the Christ will remain forever:

John 12:34a  So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. ▤ 

Note that the cross references at the start of this and the previous subsection speak further of the everlasting reign of the Christ or Messiah.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Jesus Is the Promised Messiah

See also:

Bear in mind that in his first advent, or coming, Jesus Christ did not come as an all-conquering ruler, which is how the Messiah is depicted in much of OT messianic prophecy. The NT indicates that this aspect of messianic prophecy will be fulfilled on Jesus Christ’s second coming.

Jesus Christ is the one chosen and appointed by God

See also:

Luke 9:35  And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One;m listen to him!” ▤ 

m Some manuscripts my Beloved

Luke 23:35  And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” ▤ 

Here the Jewish leaders make reference to Jesus’ claims about himself, the validity of which they had failed to grasp.

1Pet 1:20  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you … ▤ 

The term “foreknown” suggests that Christ was chosen (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV).

1Pet 2:4, 6  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, ▤ 6For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” ▤ 

This portrays Jesus Christ as God’s chosen “stone” (vv. 4, 6), the prophesied chosen “cornerstone” on which God’s people would depend (v. 6).

Acts 3:20  … that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, … ▤ 

Heb 3:1-2  Therefore, holy brothers,n you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’so house. ▤ 

n Or brothers and sisters; also verse 12

o Greek his; also verses 5, 6

As “apostle” means “one who is sent”, the reference to “Jesus, the apostle” (v. 1) has messianic overtones. Consequently the reference in v. 2 to Jesus Christ being appointed by God as apostle and high priest (cf. AMP) can be understood to point to him being the Messiah appointed by God.

John 10:36  … do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? ▤ 

Here Jesus speaks of himself as the one God had “consecrated” – “set apart” (AMP, NIV) – in effect the one whom God had chosen (cf. NCV, NLT) and appointed.

Jesus Christ is the one anointed by God, with the Holy Spirit . . .

See also:

Luke 2:10-12  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” ▤ 

Such references to Jesus as “Christ” mean that he is “the Anointed One”, as is underscored here by the expanded title “Christ the Lord”. Note that the terms “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew) both mean the “Anointed One”.

Acts 4:26-27  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’p27for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, … ▤ 

p Or Christ

In v. 26 the believers are quoting from Psalm 2, applying “his Anointed” to Jesus Christ – as they make clear in v. 27.

Matt 3:16-17  And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,q and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,r with whom I am well pleased.” ▤ 

q Some manuscripts omit to him

r Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved

The descending of the Holy Spirit onto Jesus at his baptism was God’s anointing of Jesus for his mission (cf. Acts 10:38 ) – somewhat similar to the Holy Spirit in the OT coming upon some people at the start of their ministries, empowering them. This also marked Jesus as the Messiah – the “Anointed One” – fulfilling OT prophecies that God would bestow his Spirit on the Messiah (cf. Matt 12:18 ; Luke 4:17-19, 21 ).

John 1:32  And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. ▤ 

Acts 10:38  … how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. ▤ 

The coupling of the Holy Spirit and power may well be pointing to Jesus’ anointing with the Holy Spirit empowering him for his mission.

Matt 12:15-19  Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16and ordered them not to make him known. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 18“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; … ▤ 

The quotation, which finishes in v. 21, is from Isaiah 42:1-4. It is applied here to Jesus, asserting him to be the Messiah, the one on whom God had bestowed his Spirit.

Luke 4:17-19, 21  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” ▤ 21And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” ▤ 

. . . Jesus is the messianic Holy One of God

See also:

Mark 1:24  “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” ▤ 

The title “the Holy One of God” (cf. John 6:69 ) is a messianic title.

John 6:69  … and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God. ▤ 

Acts 3:14  But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, … ▤ 

Note that this may be speaking primarily of Jesus’ pure and righteous character – in contrast to the murderer Barabbas – rather than primarily of his messiahship. But it would appear to at least point to the latter.

Acts 13:35  Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ ▤ 

Paul is applying this quotation to Jesus Christ (cf. vv. 30-37).

Acts 3:20  … that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, … ▤ 

This speaks of Jesus being the Christ – God’s “chosen Messiah” (CEV; cf. GNT, NCV).

  • All who believe that Jesus is the Christ are “born of God”:

1Jn 5:1  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. ▤ 

The OT Scriptures testify to Jesus being the Messiah, the Christ

See also:

This and the following two subsections are composed mainly of NT references asserting that the OT Scriptures as a whole testify to Jesus Christ being the Messiah and to aspects of his messiahship. The following chapter section, cross-referenced immediately above, largely contains NT references citing particular OT Scriptures as evidencing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

Acts 18:28  … for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. ▤ 

John 1:45  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” ▤ 

Philip was convinced that the OT testimony about the Christ matched the man Jesus from Nazareth.

John 5:39, 46  You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, ▤ 46For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. ▤ 

Jesus implies that the OT writings showed that he was the Messiah. (Note that Moses is generally accredited with writing the first five books of the OT.)

John 12:41  Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. ▤ 

This may indicate that Isaiah spoke of Jesus as the Messiah (cf. vv. 37-40; NLT).

Acts 28:23  When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. ▤ 

Paul tried to convince the Jews in Rome that Jesus was the Messiah of the OT scriptures (cf. Acts 18:28 ).

For the OT speaks of the sufferings and resurrection of the Christ as fulfilled in Jesus . . .

See also:

Acts 17:2-3  And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” ▤ 

Matt 26:24, 52-56  The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” ▤ 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. ▤ 

Jesus accepted his fate that the OT Scriptures prophesied so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.

Luke 24:25-27, 44-47  And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. ▤ 44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. ▤ 

Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection – and subsequent ascension – showed emphatically that he did indeed fulfill the prophecies of the Scriptures referred to here – leading to the ensuing fulfillment of that spoken of in v. 47.

John 20:9  … for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. ▤ 

Acts 2:29-33  Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. ▤ 

In vv. 30-31, Peter asserts that David had spoken (cf. vv. 35-38) of the Christ being resurrected to assume the Davidic throne, as the descendant whom God had promised David would be placed on his throne. In vv. 32-33, Peter implies that God’s resurrection of Jesus Christ and his exaltation of Christ to his right hand (pointing to Christ’s enthronement) shows him to be the one of whom David had spoken.

Acts 3:15, 17-18  … and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. ▤ 17“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. ▤ 

The title “the Author of life” (v. 15) refers to Jesus Christ (cf. vv. 13-14).

Acts 13:27-33  For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead, 31and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ ▤ 

In vv. 27-29 Paul indicates that the sufferings of the Messiah were foretold in the OT Scriptures and that these were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In v. 32, “what God promised to the fathers” is obviously a reference to OT promises and prophecies of the Messiah, but precisely what aspects of these and how God fulfilled them “by raising Jesus” (v. 33) is debatable. The phrase “raising Jesus” (v. 33) is taken by some to refer to God sending Jesus, viewing the quotation from Psalm 2:7 as referring to Jesus’ birth. But more often it is understood to be speaking of Jesus’ resurrection – in keeping with the subsequent verses – with Psalm 2:7 being fulfilled in the Father begetting (cf. AMP, NASB, NKJV, NRSV) or giving life to the Son, God raising Jesus from death to life. Possibly it refers to Jesus’ resurrection along with his ensuing exaltation and lordship. For further comment see Acts 13:32-37 in Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection.

Acts 26:22-23  To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles. ▤ 

As Jesus fulfilled these prophecies – which Paul implies in this chapter of Acts – they showed that he was the Christ.

1Cor 15:3-5  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. ▤ 

. . . and the OT speaks of the messianic salvation that would come through Jesus Christ

See also:

The following references refer to the OT speaking of salvation, or aspects of it, coming through the Messiah. Additionally, they assert or imply that Jesus was this messianic savior, who would or did bring these OT prophesies of salvation to fruition.

Luke 1:69-70  … and [God] has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, … ▤ 

Here Zechariah refers to the messianic salvation prophesied in the writings of the prophets (v. 70), as coming through Jesus (cf. vv. 76-79) –,the “horn of salvation” from the line of David (v. 69).

Luke 2:25-32  Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29“Lord, now you are letting your servants depart in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation 31that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” ▤ 

s Greek bondservant

In vv. 31-32 Simeon alludes to OT messianic prophecies of the Messiah bringing salvation to all people (cf. Isa 42:6; 49:6), seeing the fulfillment of them in Jesus. Note that in v. 25 “the consolation of Israel” refers to the comfort and salvation (vv. 30-32) associated with the coming of the Messiah.

John 5:39-40  You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. ▤ 

In conjunction with speaking of the Scriptures as testifying to him being the Christ, Jesus may be implying that the Scriptures indicated that eternal life – a key aspect of salvation – would come through him, the Christ, the one who can give life (v. 40).

Acts 10:43  To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. ▤ 

Rom 3:21-22a  But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. ▤ 

Rom 16:25-26  Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— ▤ 

The “mystery of the plan of redemption” (AMP) – redemption which comes through Jesus Christ – has been made known through the writings of the prophets.

1Pet 1:10-12  Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ▤ 

The “glories” (v. 11) most likely primarily refers to those of Christ (cf. CEV, NLT), but some see them as also encompassing those associated with believers’ salvation (v. 10a). The “things” (v. 12) refers to the various aspects of the gospel message of salvation – including Christ’s sufferings and the subsequent “glories”.

  • All the prophets foretold Jesus Christ’s coming and the new covenant era:

Acts 3:24  And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus

See also:

Broadly speaking, there are two ways in which prophecies are spoken of as being fulfilled by Jesus Christ. One is that prophecies or predictions were accomplished or came true in Jesus’ life. The other is that aspects of his life have marked parallels in OT Scripture which they thus fulfill in the sense that they correspond to them and reveal a deeper, more complete meaning in them. See also the comments at the beginning of . . . Further OT Scriptures fulfilled or reflected in Jesus’ death; and Other messianic OT Scriptures applied to Jesus Christ.

Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ birth and early years

See also:

Matt 1:18-23  Now the birth of Jesus Christt took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothedu to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). ▤ 

t Some manuscripts of the Christ

u That is, legally pledged to be married

The conception of Jesus through the Holy Spirit (vv. 18b, 20b) fulfilled Isaiah 7:14, which is understood to point to the Messiah being born of a virgin. In regard to the relevance of the latter part of the prophecy in v. 23b, possibly Matthew was implying a correlation between the meanings of “Jesus” (v. 21) and “Immanuel” (v. 23b). The former means “the Lord saves”, and the latter “God with us” (v.23b).

Matt 2:1-6  Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise menv from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rosew and have come to worship him.” 3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” ▤ 

v Greek magi; also verses 7, 16

w Or in the east; also verse 9

Matt 2:13-15  Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” ▤ 

Matt 2:22-23  But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.” ▤ 

The prophecy in question is not a quotation from a particular verse, as perhaps intimated by Matthew’s general reference to the “prophets”. One of the more prominent interpretations of this is that Matthew had in view the portrayal of the Christ in the prophets (and Psalms) as being despised, and correlated this with Nazareth being renowned as despised by many people of the time.

  • The prophecy fulfilled in Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus:

Matt 2:16-18  Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” ▤ 

Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ life and ministry

See also:

In addition to the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ life and ministry below, note that the above cross reference shows how Jesus also fulfilled prophecies regarding God bestowing his Spirit on the Messiah (cf. The OT Scriptures speak of a coming anointed one of God, who would have God’s Spirit on him . . .), for the Messiah’s work.

Matt 4:12-16  Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” ▤ 

Matt 8:16-17  That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” ▤ 

Matt 11:2-5  Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepersx are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. ▤ 

x Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13

Jesus’ reply to the enquiry as to whether he was the promised Christ, alludes to prophecies regarding the work of the Christ – e.g. Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1 (cf. Luke 4:17-21 ) – implying that he was fulfilling them, as the Christ.

Matt 12:14-21  But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. 15Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16and ordered them not to make him known. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: 18“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; 20a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; 21and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” ▤ 

Matthew may be meaning that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy (vv. 18-20) in two ways. Firstly, Jesus was not antagonistic and avoided unnecessary confrontation (vv. 14-16); and secondly, he was not loud, even avoiding publicity (v. 16). These aspects of his approach were in accordance with – and in fulfillment of – the quoted prophecy of the messianic servant (vv. 19-20).

Matt 13:34-35  All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:y “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” ▤ 

y Some manuscripts Isaiah the prophet

Luke 4:17-21  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” ▤ 

Jesus’ claim to fulfill the messianic prophecy of one who would be anointed by God with the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s messianic work (vv. 18-19) was supported by his proclamation of the good news of God’s salvation and in his healing works, whereby he liberated people from various kinds of bondage. The release from sin that Jesus would accomplish was a further aspect of his fulfillment of this prophecy.

John 2:14-17  In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” ▤ 

John 12:12-16  The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. ▤ 

In addition to the fulfillment of the prophecy in vv. 14-15, note that the terms used in regard to Jesus in v. 13 also have messianic significance – as John suggests in v. 16. Regarding the crowd’s use of “Hosanna!”, it is apparent that their use has messianic significance in view of both Matthew’s account and it being an exclamation of praise. In Matthew’s account the crowd uses the word in two expressions: “Hosanna to the Son of David!” and “Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt 21:9); the first is obviously messianic. The crowd’s quotation of Psalm 118:26 (“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”; v. 13) indicates that they considered Jesus to be the Messiah and in a sense it is a fulfillment of that verse and prophecy. The title “the King of Israel” is obviously messianic.

  • John the Baptist’s fulfillment of prophecy of the one would prepare the way for the Christ:

Mark 1:2-4  As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,z “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, 3the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Preparea the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” 4John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. ▤ 

z Some manuscripts in the prophets

a Or crying: Prepare in the wilderness

Mark combines quotations from two prophets and attributes it to the major one, Isaiah (cf. Matt 27:9-10). In addition to these two prophecies, John the Baptist is likewise understood to have fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 4:5 as the “prophet Elijah” who would come before the “day of the Lord” – as indicated in: Matthew 11:14 (“he is Elijah who is to come”); Matt 17:10-13; and Luke 1:17 (“he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah”).

Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ rejection and betrayal

John 12:37-41  Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” 41Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. ▤ 

Note that vv. 39-40 are interpreted by many commentators to not mean that God prevented the people from believing, but rather that because they had purposely and repeatedly rejected God’s message (cf. vv. 37-38), God bestowed on them a judicial blindness and hardening of heart. The consequence of rejecting God’s message time after time is that one loses the capacity to believe.

John 15:24-25  If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ ▤ 

Matt 21:37-39, 42  Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. ▤ 42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;b this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? ▤ 

b Greek the head of the corner

Verses 37-39 are from a parable in which Jesus portrays the Jews’ rejection of him. Jesus subsequently implies in v. 42 that their rejection of him fulfilled the quoted Scripture, with them rejecting the one whom God would make the “cornerstone” of his kingdom.

John 13:18, 21, 26, 30  I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled,c ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ ▤ 21After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” ▤ 26Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. ▤ 30So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. ▤ 

c Greek But in order that the Scripture may be fulfilled

In v. 18 Jesus indicates that not all the disciples belonged to him, but that in one of them the scripture would be fulfilled that spoke of betrayal by a close associate, as he clarifies in v. 21. That Judas would be the one is made apparent in vv. 26, 30.

Matt 27:3-10  Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesusd was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, 4saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” 5And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. 6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. 8Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, 10and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.” ▤ 

d Greek he

The Scripture referred to is not a direct quotation. Matthew appears to have in view verses from both Zechariah and Jeremiah (cf. NIV text note on v. 10), which he attributes to the latter, presumably as the major prophet.

Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ death . . .

Matt 26:31, 56  Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ ▤ 56But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. ▤ 

Mark 15:27  And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.e ▤ 

e Some manuscripts insert verse 28: And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “He was numbered with the transgressors”

The text note speaks of this fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12. Jesus also refers to his fulfillment of this prophecy in Luke 22:37, prior to his arrest – “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

John 18:8-9  Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” ▤ 

This and vv. 31-32 immediately below speak of fulfillments of Jesus’ own prophecies (cf. Matt 12:39-40; Luke 24:6-7) rather than OT prophecies, which make up the bulk of the other entries in this section.

John 18:31-32  Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. ▤ 

The reference to Jesus’ words being fulfilled (v. 32) most likely has in view references such as John 3:14  and John 12:32-33 – ‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.’ The Jews maneuvered Pilate into executing Jesus, which involved the Roman form of execution (crucifixion) rather than the Jewish form (stoning), thus fulfilling Jesus’ words.

John 19:23-24  When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.f But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, … ▤ 

f Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin

John 19:28-29  After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. ▤ 

The Scripture John refers to is probably Psalms 69:21 – “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.”

John 19:31-37  Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” ▤ 

Acts 8:32-35  Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 33In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” 34And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. ▤ 

The accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and the preceding events attest to his sheep-like meekness approaching his death (notably his silence before his accusers), his humiliation, the injustice of his trial, and of course his death – thus comprehensively fulfilling the prophecy quoted from Isaiah (cf. 1Pet 2:21-25 ).

1Pet 2:21-25  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. ▤ 

This passage draws heavily from Isaiah 53 and – as does Acts 8:32-33 above – clearly implies that Jesus fulfilled what is a monumental messianic prophecy. In addition to the quotation of 53:9 in v. 22: v. 23 appears to refer to 53:7 (“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth …”); v. 24a to 53:11 (“… he shall bear their iniquities”; cf. 53:4, 12); v. 24b to 53:5 (“… with his stripes we are healed”); and v. 25 to 53:6 (“All we like sheep have gone astray …).

. . . Further OT Scriptures fulfilled or reflected in Jesus’ death

Unlike the bulk of the previous references, the OT verses quoted or reflected in the following NT passages are not actually said by the NT passages to have been fulfilled in Jesus, nor were all of them necessarily seen by the Jews to be speaking of the Messiah. But each of them is reflected in the circumstances of Jesus’ death, and as such it can be argued that they were “fulfilled” in his death.

Matt 27:39-46  And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. 45Now from the sixth hourg there was darkness over all the landh until the ninth hour.i 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ▤ 

g That is, noon

h Or earth

i That is, 3 P. M.

Just as v. 46 is a direct quotation from Psalm 22, the mocking and insults (vv. 39-44; cf. Rom 15:3 ) parallel vv. 7-8 of the same psalm; in particular much of v. 43 appears to be an unconscious quotation from v. 8 of the psalm. Thus many consider Jesus’ suffering on the cross to be a fulfillment of these verses. Additionally, there is the fulfillment of v. 18 of this same psalm in John 19:23-24 (in the previous subsection), and further parallels with his suffering in other parts of the psalm. For example: “… they have pierced my hands and feet …” (v. 16b), which is emulated in Jesus being nailed to the cross. In the light of all this, Psalm 22 is not surprisingly considered a messianic psalm, to a large degree fulfilled in Jesus’ death.

Matt 27:57-60  When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. ▤ 

The fact that Jesus’ body was laid to rest in a rich man’s tomb, quite possibly an expensive one in a location amongst other such tombs of rich people, is understood by many to be a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9 – “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death …”

Luke 23:46  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. ▤ 

From the cross Jesus quotes Psalms 31:5. In a sense Jesus fulfills it in his fitting utterance of it, with his dire circumstances paralleling that of the quote’s context.

John 3:14-15  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.j ▤ 

j Some interpreters hold that the quotation ends at verse 15

On one occasion when the Israelites spoke against God, God sent venomous snakes among them (cf. Num 21:6-9). In response to their repentance and Moses’ intercession, God told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole, designating that anyone who had been bitten by a snake could look at it and live. This was paralleled – and in a sense fulfilled – in God’s provision of salvation through Jesus Christ, with Jesus being “lifted up” (v. 14) on a cross in order to provide eternal life (v. 15).

Acts 4:25-27  … who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,k said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’l 27for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, … ▤ 

k Or child; also verses 27, 30

l Or Christ

Rom 15:3  For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” ▤ 

Matthew 27:39-46 above shows that this quotation of Psalm 69:9 was fulfilled in Jesus’ death.

  • OT Scripture pointing to Jesus’ death as the consummate sin sacrifice:

Heb 10:5-7, 10  Consequently, when Christm came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” ▤ 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ▤ 

m Greek he

Psalm 40:6-8 was fulfilled in Jesus in that, as affirmed here in v. 10, he came in accordance with God’s will to offer his body as a sacrifice for sin, which – unlike previous sacrifices and offerings – was effective in dealing with the problem of sin once for all and so pleasing to God.

Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection

Acts 2:25-32  For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.29“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. ▤ 

Acts 13:32-37  And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ 34And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 35Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ 36For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. ▤ 

The OT quotations here are all indicated to be ultimately fulfilled by the Messiah. In particular they relate to God’s promises to David (cf. 2 Sam 7) which ultimately where to be bestowed upon and manifested through David’s messianic descendant. Paul asserts that these prophecies have been fulfilled in Jesus, largely in God raising him from the dead. In this Paul may well also have Jesus Christ’s subsequent exaltation and lordship in view – particularly with Psalm 2 (cf. v. 33) being a coronation psalm. For further comment on this passage see God raised Jesus from the dead, by his power . . .. For more comment on “raising Jesus” (v. 33) in particular, see For the OT speaks of the sufferings and resurrection of the Christ as fulfilled in Jesus . . ..

  • Jesus fulfilled his own prophecies of his death and resurrection:

Luke 24:6-7  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise. ▤ 

On more than one occasion Jesus had foretold his death and resurrection (and his betrayal). For example in 9:22, 44 Jesus says: ‘“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” …  44 “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”’

Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ ascension and exaltation

See also:

Acts 2:33-36  Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, 35until I make your enemies your footstool.’ 36Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” ▤ 

Peter asserts that in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1 Jesus ascended to heaven, to God’s right hand (v. 33), where God has made him Lord and Christ over all (v. 36).

Eph 4:7-11  But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?n 10He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherdso and teachers,p … ▤ 

n Or the lower parts of the earth?

o Or pastors

p Or the shepherd-teachers

Paul sees in Christ’s ascension (v. 10) – along with his bestowing spiritual gifts on his people (vv. 7, 11) – the fulfillment of Psalm 68:18.

Heb 1:5, 8-9, 13  For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? ▤ 8But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” ▤ 13And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? ▤ 

The psalms quoted from here are royal psalms, with Psalm 2 being a coronation psalm. From early times they were widely understood as messianic. These quotations, along with a key aspect of God’s promise to David (v. 5b), are presented here as being fulfilled by Jesus Christ in his enthronement at God’s right hand on his ascension and glorification. For further comment on v. 5, see Following his death and resurrection, God exalted Jesus Christ to his right hand . . ..

Heb 2:5-9  Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor,q 8putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. ▤ 

q Some manuscripts insert and set him over the works of your hands

One interpretation of this passage is that the writer is presenting the quotation from Psalm 8 – where it referred to humankind and the present world – as being ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ in his dominion over the world to come. At present we do not see everything in this world subject to humankind (v. 8; cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV); but we do see in Jesus Christ, with his glorification and enthronement, the one who is Lord of all creation and to whom the world to come will be comprehensively subjected.

Heb 5:5-6, 8-10  So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; 6as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” ▤ 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. ▤ 

Following his resurrection and ascension, Jesus Christ was “designated by God a high priest in the order of Melchizedek” (v. 10), thus fulfilling Psalm 110:4 (quoted here in v. 6). (Note that Heb 7:17, 21 also quote Psalm 110:4 in regard to Christ’s appointment by God as a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.) Additionally, the phrase “he was a son” (v. 8) may well be alluding to the quotation from Psalm 2:7 in v. 5, implying that Christ fulfilled it. Quite possibly the writer uses the quotation here to affirm Christ’s sonship (cf. 1:5) and his uniquely close relationship with God, both of which are critical to his priesthood.

Other messianic OT Scriptures applied to Jesus Christ

See also:

It is difficult to ascertain to what extent some OT Scriptures applied to Jesus Christ in the NT were understood to be messianic. Some were obviously generally understood to be messianic; others were obviously seen by the NT writers as messianic, but not necessarily by Jews in general; while with some it is not clear if even the NT writers themselves were using them as messianic references. As with the majority in the preceding subsections, most of the following references clearly belong to the first two categories, but with some it is debatable.

Note that there are likely other OT messianic references mentioned in the NT that have not been included in this or the preceding subsections. There are also some OT verses that are reflected in Jesus’ life that are not specifically referred to in the NT (e.g. Isa 50:6; Dan 9:25-26).

Acts 3:20-26  … that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. 22Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness. ▤ 

Peter sees Jesus Christ as fulfilling Moses’ prophecy of a coming great prophet (vv. 22-23). He seems to portray the prophecy as applicable both to Jesus Christ’s work in his first coming (v. 26) and to his return (vv. 20-21). In v. 24 Peter indicates that predictions of the OT prophets were fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s mission and the new covenant age that had now begun. Peter may also imply that Jesus Christ is the consummate “offspring” of Abraham through whom all peoples will be blessed (v. 25) – particularly with v. 26 speaking of him bringing blessing firstly to the Jews. Alternatively it is possible that Peter may be referring to the Jews themselves (cf. v. 25a); but in Galatians 3:8, 16 below Paul certainly understands Jesus Christ to be in view in the original prophecy.

Rom 11:26-27  And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27“and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” ▤ 

In v. 26, Paul most likely is applying Isaiah 59:20 to Israel’s salvation in the end times, quite possibly implying that it will come through the return of Jesus Christ, with him probably being in view as “The Deliverer” (v. 26). This being the case, Paul’s subsequent quotation of Jeremiah 31:33, 34 in v. 27 suggests that he also sees this as being fulfilled through Jesus Christ on his return.

Rom 15:8-9, 12  For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” ▤ 12And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” ▤ 

Note that the first quotation (v. 9) is not necessarily messianic and is not being applied to Jesus Christ directly, but it is being applied to his work (in bringing salvation to the Gentiles) or at least to the results of it (cf. vv. 10-11).

Rom 15:20-21  … and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, 21but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.” ▤ 

Heb 2:11-13  For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source.r That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,s 12saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” 13And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” ▤ 

r Greek all are of one

s Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church; also verse 12

The writer sees an application of the three quotations to Christ. The reasons for the inclusion of the two in v. 13 are not so obvious. Perhaps to show that Christ and Christians “all have one source” (v. 11), the writer may be using them to illustrate a common nature, with Christ being one who trusted in God during his time on earth and they being his children (cf. ZBC).

Note that in their original setting (cf. Isa 8:17-18), these two quotations in v. 13 shortly follow the messianic sounding: “… a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling …” (Isa 8:14; cf. 1Pet 2:4-8 ). This adds plausibility to the writer’s messianic interpretation of them here, in applying them to Jesus Christ.

1Pet 2:4-8  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”t 8and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. ▤ 

t Greek the head of the corner

The term “stone” was understood to be a messianic title by Jews as well as Christians. For further examples of these OT verses being applied to Jesus Christ, see Matthew 21:42 (above in Prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ rejection and betrayal), Acts 4:10-12 and Romans 9:32-33.

  • Jesus’ claim to be “the Son of Man”:

Matt 26:64  Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” ▤ 

Here Jesus claims to “the Son of Man” who was prophesied about in Daniel 7:13-14 (cf. God will establish the Messiah as ruler over all, forever).

Pray for persecuted Christians

Further Testimony to Jesus Being the Messiah

See also:

Jesus’ deeds showed that he is the Messiah, the Christ

See also:

Matt 11:2-5  Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepersu are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. ▤ 

u Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13

As indicated earlier in this chapter, Jesus here effectively says, “Yes.” His reply implies that by his deeds he was fulfilling prophecies from Isaiah concerning the Messiah (cf. Isa 35:4-6; 61:1).

Matt 12:22-23  Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” ▤ 

John 6:9-15  [Andrew:] “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” 15Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. ▤ 

The “Prophet” (v. 14) is quite possibly a reference to Deuteronomy 18:15-19, where Moses speaks of God raising up a prophet like him. As such some scholars consider it to not or not necessarily be a messianic ascription. However the people’s associated intention to make Jesus king (v. 15) suggests strongly that they were using it as a messianic ascription and did see Jesus as the Messiah, due largely to his astonishing miracle (vv. 9-13).

John 7:31  Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” ▤ 

John 10:24-25  So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, … ▤ 

John 20:30-31  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ▤ 

Jesus himself claimed to be the Christ

See also:

John 4:25-26  The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” ▤ 

Matt 16:20  Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. ▤ 

Note that a common explanation for Jesus giving this command at this point in time, concerns the common Jewish misconception that the Messiah would be a powerful political figure that would release the Jews from their oppressors. If the people had realized at that point that he was the Messiah, it would have made it more difficult for Jesus to fulfill his mission as the Messiah who would suffer and die for his people, due to the Jewish expectations and corresponding Roman reaction. Another common explanation of Jesus’ command was that it was due to the Jewish people having largely rejected him.

Matt 23:10  Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. ▤ 

Here Jesus is speaking, in reference to himself.

Matt 26:63-64a  But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64Jesus said to him, “You have said so. ▤ 

Mark 9:41  For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward. ▤ 

Here Jesus refers to himself as “Christ”.

Luke 23:2-3  And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” 3And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” ▤ 

The title “the King of the Jews” is a messianic one – which Pilate may have realized, with his question (v. 3) immediately following the Jews’ accusations that Jesus “claims to be Christ, a king” (v. 2). Jesus’ answer was in recognition of it being a messianic title.

John 13:19  I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. ▤ 

It appears that “before it takes place” refers to Jesus’ death – with the preceding events – and his resurrection. With the phrase “I am He” (cf. 8:38), Jesus may well have been speaking of himself as the Messiah, the one for whom the Jews were waiting.

  • Jesus Christ’s messianic claim in Revelation:

Rev 22:16  “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” ▤ 

The title “the root and the descendant of David” is a messianic one (cf. Isa 1:1, 10), and this may also be the case with “the bright morning star” (cf. Num 24:17).

Jesus’ followers acknowledged him as the Christ . . .

Matt 16:16  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” ▤ 

John 1:41  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). ▤ 

John 1:45, 49  Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” ▤ 49Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” ▤ 

John 6:69  … and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God. ▤ 

Quite likely Peter is here acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah (cf. AMP, GNT).

John 11:27  She [Martha] said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” ▤ 

Acts 3:6  But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” ▤ 

The fact that titles such as “Jesus Christ” (cf. Rom 1:1 ; 2Pet 1:16 ) are regularly used of Jesus in the NT clearly indicates that his followers acknowledged him as the Christ.

Rom 1:1  Paul, a servantv of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, … ▤ 

v Or slave; Greek bondservant

2Pet 1:16  For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. ▤ 

. . . and Jesus being the Christ was a central aspect of his followers’ teaching

See also:

John 20:31  … but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ▤ 

Acts 5:42  And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. ▤ 

Acts 9:22  But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. ▤ 

Acts 17:2-3  And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” ▤ 

Acts 18:5  When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. ▤ 

Acts 2:36  Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. ▤ 

Acts 13:23  Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. ▤ 

Although the term Christ is not used here, it is apparent that Paul is speaking to his listeners of Jesus as the promised Messiah.

Others also acknowledged Jesus as the Christ

See also:

Matt 2:1-4  Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise menw from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rosex and have come to worship him.” 3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ▤ 

w Greek magi; also verses 7, 16

x Or in the east; also verse 9

The wise men may not necessarily have been familiar with the promise of a Messiah, but their description of Jesus as “king of the Jews” (v. 2) is in essence a reference to him being the promised Christ – as Herod was acutely aware (v. 4).

Luke 2:25-32  Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29“Lord, now you are letting your servanty depart in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation 31that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” ▤ 

y Greek bondservant

As commented earlier, “the consolation of Israel” (v. 25) refers to the comfort and salvation (vv. 30-32) associated with the coming of the Messiah.

Matt 21:9  And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” ▤ 

The crowd was acknowledging Jesus as the Christ, referring to him with messianic expressions in declaring him to be “the Son of David” and the one “who comes in the name of the Lord”.

Matt 27:17  So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” ▤ 

In referring to Jesus as the Christ (cf. John 19:19-22 ), Pilate was unlikely himself acknowledging Jesus as the Christ. But his words imply that this was what a number of others were saying about Jesus.

Luke 1:67-70  And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, 68“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, … ▤ 

Zechariah speaks of Jesus as being God’s chosen Christ – the one God “raised up” (v. 69), from the line of David (v. 69), as the OT prophets had prophesied (v. 70).

Luke 2:11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ▤ 

Here an angel is declaring that Jesus is the Christ (cf. Luke 1:32-33 ). This angel was almost immediately joined by a great company of angels (cf. vv. 13-14), who no doubt were in agreement with this angel’s declaration.

  • Pilate’s notice on Jesus’ cross:

John 19:19-22  Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” ▤ 

“The King of the Jews” was a messianic title – no doubt a major reason for the Jews’ objection (v. 21). Pilate may have used it in retaliation for the Jews forcing him into allowing an innocent man to be crucified, rather then because of any belief of his own. Nevertheless its place on the cross in three notable languages is significant and striking.

Note: The Christ is understood to be the Son of God

The understanding that the Christ would be the Son of God appears to be largely based on OT messianic passages where God speaks of the Christ or Messiah as his Son (cf. 2Sam 7:11b-14a ; Ps 2:6-7 ; Ps 89:27 ).

2Sam 7:11b-14a  Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. ▤ 

This promise to David initially referred to Solomon, but was understood to ultimately point to the Messiah, who would in an exclusive sense be God’s son (v. 14a; cf. Ps 89:27 ).

Ps 2:6-7  “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. ▤ 

Note that this and 2 Samuel 7:11b-14a above are quoted from in Hebrews 1:5 in reference to Jesus Christ – ‘“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?’

Ps 89:26-27  He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ 27And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. ▤ 

The description of the Messiah – in this messianic psalm – as “the firstborn” (v. 27) implies that the Messiah would have a position of sonship above all others.

Matt 16:16  Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” ▤ 

Matt 26:63  But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” ▤ 

Bear in mind that here it is the high priest who speaks of the Christ as being the Son of God. As such this correlation is not a uniquely Christian teaching.

Luke 1:32-33  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. ▤ 

The reference to kingship here – as with occurrences in the following verses (cf. the comment on John 1:49 ) – is speaking of the Christ. With this immediately following the reference to him being “called the Son of the Most High” (v. 32a), these verses indicate that the Christ is understood to be the Son of God.

Luke 4:41  And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. ▤ 

The final thought reflects on the demons’ exclamation, showing a correlation between the Son of God and the Christ.

John 1:49  Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” ▤ 

Note that as with “The King of the Jews” (John 19:19-22 ; cf. Matt 2:2-4 ), “the King of Israel” is a messianic title (cf. vv. 41, 45). In Mark 15:32 it is correlated with “Christ” – “the Christ, the King of Israel”. The correlation is also seen in Matthew 2:2-4 in the preceding subsection.

John 10:24-25, 36  So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, ▤ 36do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? ▤ 

Here Jesus appears to correlate being the Christ (vv. 24-25a) – “him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world” (v. 36a) – with being “the Son of God’” (v. 36b).

John 11:27  She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” ▤ 

John 20:31  … but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ▤ 

Acts 9:20, 22  And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” ▤ 22But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ. ▤ 

The close proximity of these verses with the former having “He [Jesus] is the Son of God” (v. 20) and the latter having “Jesus was the Christ” (v. 22) as the focus of Paul’s message or ministry, implies that these descriptions are being used more or less interchangeably and that there is a close correlation between the two.

1Jn 5:1-5  Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? ▤ 

This appears to correlate believing that Jesus is the Christ (v. 1a) with believing that Jesus is the Son of God (v. 5b). In addition to both being referred to in a like manner and in close proximity, this is further shown by the intervening discussion associating being born of God (linked with believing that Jesus is the Christ in v. 1a) and overcoming the world (linked with believing that Jesus is the Son of God in v. 5).

  • Further reference to the divinity or deity of the Messiah:

Isa 9:6  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be uponz his shoulder, and his name shall be calleda Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ▤ 

z Or is upon

a Or is called

Also, in 7:14b Isaiah says, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This too speaks of the Messiah’s divinity or deity as “Immanuel” means “God with us”.

Pray for persecuted Christians