Was Jesus the Messiah?
Christianity is the largest religion in the world. The Bible is the bestselling book in the world. It is estimated that around 2.1 billion people believe Jesus is the Messiah—God manifested in the flesh. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah.
So…He is either the Messiah, or He is the world’s ultimate deceiver.
Did Jesus actually claim to be the Messiah?
- When Jesus met the woman at the well in Samaria, she said to Him, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” Jesus replied to her, “I that speak unto thee am he” (John 4:25).
- In John 10:24-28, the Jews came to Jesus saying, “How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and ye believed not…”
- Toward the end of His ministry, Jesus asked His disciples, “But whom say ye that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:15-17).
- During the trial of Jesus, the high priest asked Jesus, “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus answered and said, “I am” (Mark 14:61-62).
The above is just a small sampling of the times that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One.
What was “the Messiah” supposed to be?
Ruler of the Jewish people
One of the most famous prophecies about the promised Messiah is found in Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
Mighty God and Everlasting Father
Isaiah prophesied concerning the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.”
Redeemer and Savior
As Cleopas and his wife walked along the Emmaus Road toward home, they said about Jesus, “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel” (Luke 24:21).
The woman at the well in Samaria said to Jesus, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” John 4:25
Can it be proven that Jesus is the Messiah?
Billions of people believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus Himself claimed to be the Messiah. But is there credible evidence that He really is the long-awaited “Anointed One”—“the Messiah”—“the Christ”?
There were around one hundred prophecies given in the Old Testament about the Messiah. Some of them were fulfilled in incredible detail by the first coming of Jesus. Others are yet to be fulfilled at the time of His second coming, which is to occur very soon.
Let’s consider some of the prophecies about His first coming.
The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2
This prophecy that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem was written approximately 750 B.C. Bethlehem was a very small town located six miles from Jerusalem. The outstanding thing is that Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her husband Joseph lived in Nazareth, 120 miles north of Bethlehem. In the days before automobiles or airplanes, this was a tremendous obstacle to the fulfillment of this prophecy. A most unusual thing happened, however, at exactly the right time. Caesar Augustus, the ruler of the Roman Empire, decided that every subject under his kingdom upon the earth would be required to return to the city of his lineage to be taxed. Joseph was from Bethlehem, known also as the City of David. At the exact time of the decree, Mary was due to have the child Jesus. Mary and Joseph embarked upon the several days journey to Bethlehem. As soon as they arrived, Jesus was born, amazingly fulfilling this 750-year-old prophecy to the letter.
He would come from the tribe of Judah
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” Genesis 49:10
The word Shiloh means Messiah. This prophecy that Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah was quite extraordinary. The nation of Israel was made up of twelve tribes. Those who were to be priests in Israel were to come from the tribe of Levi. Yet Jesus fulfilled this prophecy coming from the tribe of Judah. Both Mary and Joseph’s lineage was from the tribe of Judah.
Messiah would be born of a virgin
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
Joseph and Mary were espoused to be married. Before they came together Mary experienced an angelic visitation. She was told that she would conceive a child by the Holy Ghost, which soon came to pass. Joseph decided to break the espousal believing Mary had been unfaithful to him. However, an angel appeared to Joseph saying, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”
Several angelic visitations and other supernatural occurrences surrounding the birth of Jesus and his forerunner John the Baptist, when closely studied, attest to the truth that Jesus was born of a virgin.
He would make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on an ass colt
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zechariah 9:9
It is not normal for a king to make triumphal entries on a flop-eared donkey. Usually a king would ride the finest white stallion in the land. The scriptures prophesy, however, that Messiah would ride upon the foal of an ass.
At the time of Jesus’ triumphal entry, recorded in John 12:13-14, the people “Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him and cried, Hosanna: BLESSED IS THE KING OF ISRAEL THAT COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written.”
Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
“And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forebear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” Zechariah 11:12
One of the most amazing of the messianic prophecies is the foretelling of the exact amount of the betrayal price of Jesus. The book of Zechariah was written around 520 B.C., yet the betrayal price of 30 pieces of silver is accurately prophesied.
The New Testament fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in Matthew 26:15: “And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.”
What would be done with the betrayal money?
“And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.” Zechariah 11:13
This prophecy that the 30 pieces of silver would be “cast to the potter in the house of the Lord” was fulfilled in a most amazing way! Judas wanted to back out of the betrayal agreement when he realized what an enormous mistake he had made. He went back to the chief priest and told them he wanted to reverse his actions. They replied, “What is that to us?” In frustration Judas threw the betrayal money on the floor of the temple and fled into the night.
Matthew 27:6-7 records this: “And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.”
The prophecy says, “And they cast my price unto the potter in the house of the Lord.” Most unusual wording and most amazing fulfillment!
Messiah would be wounded, bruised, and beaten with stripes
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
This prophecy was fulfilled by the brutal events of the crucifixion. Scripture records that before the crucifixion Jesus was scourged by Pilate.
He would die by crucifixion
“For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me. They pierced my hands and my feet.” Psalms 22:16
Both scripture and history testify that Jesus died with nails in his hands and in his feet.
Messiah would be given vinegar to drink
“They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Psalms 69:21
When Jesus was crucified he became very thirsty while hanging on the cross. He cried out, asking for a drink. John 19:29 records what happened. “Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.”
Lots would be cast for His garments
“They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” Psalms 22:18
When Jesus was crucified, the soldiers parted His garments, casting lots for them. Mark 15:24
Not one of His bones would be broken
“He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.” Psalms 34:20
This prophecy was fulfilled in a most extraordinary way. After a person had been crucified and had hung on the cross all day, it was the custom of the Romans to break the person’s legs. This was to hasten the time of death so the soldiers could hurry home. The sudden injury and pain would most of the time shock the person into death. The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves that were crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they marveled that He was dead already. Instead of breaking His legs, they merely thrust a spear into His side, fulfilling to the letter the prophecy that His bones would not be broken. This fulfillment is recorded in John 19:33.
He would be “cut off” before the temple was destroyed by the Romans
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…” Daniel 9:26
This prophecy plainly says that the Messiah would come and then be “cut off” after which the city of Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed. Jesus came and was then crucified around 30 AD. The Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. This leaves no doubt that Jesus was the promised Messiah!
Isaiah 53 foretells Messiah would be “cut off”
“…for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Isaiah 53:8
The entire fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is devoted to foretelling that the Messiah would suffer and die for the sins of mankind. Verse 10 says that His soul would be made an offering for sin.
John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the world by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”
Messiah would be buried with the rich
“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” Isaiah 53:9
Jesus died between two thieves, dying with the wicked. When it was time to bury Him, they had no place. A wealthy man by the name of Joseph of Arimathaea had become Jesus’ disciple. He went to Pilate and begged to have the body of Jesus. It was granted. Joseph laid the body in his own new tomb, fulfilling the prophecy that Jesus would be buried with the rich.
Messiah would be resurrected from the dead
“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Psalms 16:10
In spite of soldiers guarding the tomb of Jesus, after three days Jesus rose from the dead. The chief priests paid the soldiers large sums of money to lie, saying that Jesus’ disciples had stolen His body. For the next 40 days, Jesus appeared to many people at different times. Over 500 people saw him at one time. This evidence would be accepted as irrefutable by any court of law.
Seeing every one of these prophecies fulfilled to the letter is more than enough evidence for any honest and sincere person to know that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah. He is the redeemer of mankind. He is the great teacher that came to show us the way to eternal life. He is the mighty God and the everlasting Father.
And He will soon return to earth to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords!
Messiah is come! Now what?
At the birth of Jesus, the angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds in Bethlehem, saying unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord…”
Then there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:10-11, 13-14).
Peace on earth and goodwill toward men is a promise to all of us through Jesus, our Messiah. But how do we access that peace and that goodwill?
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
How can we “learn of Him?” He has left us His Word, the instruction book for the human race. Four books in the Bible are devoted specifically to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus returns to earth, which will be very soon, His teachings will govern the entire world. As a result, there will not be one war on earth during the entirety of His 1,000-year reign.
However, we do not have to wait for the return of Jesus to enter His kingdom of peace and goodwill. Jesus said we can enter His kingdom now by being “born again” (John 3:3-5).