People tend to listen to you when you tell them what is going to happen and you are correct in your prediction. This is essentially what God does throughout the Old Testament. Without using His name, God tells us about Jesus through his prophets, psalmists, and other holy persons with whom He interacted. This causes a connection between the Old and New Testaments, that were written across thousands of years, that gives us profound evidence to the reality of God.
On their own, the Gospels and other books of the New Testament of the Bible are powerful, convincing, and have the capacity to change people’s lives through simple belief in them. Essentially, the New Testament on its own would be enough to save us. However, Jesus did not simply drop out of the sky to give us the New Testament alone. Instead, He prepared humanity for Himself with deep imagery, various themes and symbols, dead on prophecies that gave His people the knowledge of exactly what they were to look for in a Savior.
In fact, there are well over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that Jesus fulfills with His life and death. That is more than any other figure of any religion. Essentially God prepared humanity for Jesus and then delivered on all of His promises.
There are too many to go through here, but I wanted to share the prophecies that I found to be the most bewildering to me. These are the ones that are specific and, in my opinion, the most convincing.
1.Jesus is a Descendant of David, foretold in 1 Chronicles 17:1-17 and fulfilled in Mt. 1:1 and Luke 3:23-31
Amazingly enough, this is foretold in many other places in the Old Testament. It is also a source of confusion for the Jews that encountered Jesus as they heard that Jesus was from Nazareth, not the territory of Judah where a descendant of David would be from.
Nevertheless, we have the full story and can see the truth that Jesus is not only the descendant, or son, of David promised, but He is furthermore the same descendant who will sit on the throne of David forever as promised in 2 Samuel 7.
2.Jesus will have his hands and feet pierced, prophesied in Psalm 22:17 and fulfilled in Jn 19:34-37
All of Psalm 22 is easily spot on with what happens to Jesus on the cross. This will be seen throughout the Old Testament, but the fact that David says, “they pierced my hands and feet” about 1,000 years before Jesus has his hands and feet pierced stuns me. While I believe David is talking about being attacked by dogs, the connection can still be applied to Jesus on the cross as an implicit prophesy given by way of prefigurement.
A prefigurement is a person or event in the Bible that is similar to a future person or event in the Bible that seems to copy it. While Jesus does actually quote Psalm 22 on the cross, the fact that the words seem like they were written about Jesus so long before show me that the Bible is more powerful than many understand it to be.
3. They give Jesus vinegar on the cross – foretold in Psalm 69:22 and fulfilled in Mt 27:34
I don’t understand how this is even something mentioned in this psalm. It is such a random occurrence. It’s a detail that would be overlooked otherwise. However, the psalmist does mention it and vinegar is given to Christ to drink on the cross.
4. The miracles of Jesus -foretold in Isaiah 35:5-6 and fulfilled in Mt 11:5,6
In the first passage Isaiah gives the Jews the exact miraculous deeds to look for to identify the long awaited Messiah. “The eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will no longer be sealed.Then the lame will leap like a stag and the tongue of the dumb will shout joyfully.”
About 800 years after this prophesy is made and written down, Jesus comes to fulfill these words. He indeed heals the blind, deaf, mute, and disabled. Not only does this show Jesus’ power, but these incredible signs allow for the Jews and all people after to know that Jesus is the messiah, the Savior for whom the Jewish people had been waiting.
5. The Suffering and death of Jesus foretold -Is. 53:4-12 and fulled in Mt. 27 (and elsewhere).
The passage of Isaiah was written about 800 years before Jesus walked the earth. This is shocking because Isaiah 53 reads like a theological explanation of the Gospel. It describes the Suffering of Jesus perfectly with observations such as, “But he was pierced for our sins, by his wounds we were healed, Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth.”
Basically God gave humanity a deep spiritual understanding of Jesus suffering and death before the event took place. It might not have made complete sense before Jesus came, but absolutely makes sense after.
6. Jesus is beaten and spat upon – foretold in Isaiah 50 and fulfilled in Matt. 27:26,30
Similar to the last prophecy, Jesus experienced exactly what was foretold by Isaiah 800 years prior to His coming.
7. The Messiah is born in Bethlehem – foretold in Micah 5:1 and fulfilled in Mt. 2:1-6
The long awaited Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. It specifically says Bethlehem. This is interesting because Jesus was born there, but He did not stay there. This just was not expected by the Jewish people who often questioned Jesus being the Messiah when they thought He was born in Nazareth.
8. The Messiah rides a donkey into Jerusalem. – foretold in Zechariah 9:9 and fulfilled in Mt. 21:1-9
This might be my favorite prophecy of Jesus. It is another random, seemingly unimportant detail. Yet, it is still mentioned by Zechariah and Jesus still fulfills it.
9. Jesus is despised and rejected – foretold in Isaiah 53:3,4 and fulfilled in Jn 12:37-38 and John 19.
Not only is it specifically mentioned in the Old Testament that Jesus will suffer and die as the Messiah, but so does it say that He will be harshly rejected by his people. As we have seen, Jesus has fulfilled many prophesies, but the reality of this is clear only to those who looked at Him with faith and repentance for their sins.
For others, Jesus was seen as an enemy to be rejected and destroyed and so he was. This in turn fulfills another prophecy.
10. The soldiers cast lots for His garments – foretold in Psalm 22:19 and fulfilled in John 19:24.
Another extremely specific detail that Jesus experiences during his crucifixion. I have to wonder how confused the Jewish people were when they prayed this Psalm in the Temple before the crucifixion of Jesus.
All of these fulfilled prophesies have certain lessons in them that upon reflection can give us great insight. However, I think another lesson that we can take from all of these is the understanding that we might not understand certain events or experiences in our life at first, but if we hold on to Jesus and trust in Him, soon everything will become clear. The understanding will come!
Is there another prophecy in the Old Testament that Jesus fulfills you like that we did not mention? Let us know in the comments below!