Jesus in the Old Testament

Because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working…the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
John 5:16–17, 36-40 (NIV)

One of the most amazing things about Jesus Christ is that his life was predicted hundreds of years before he came. Can you imagine if God had to try to do things? What if God had to attempt or try to get something right? That’s what human beings do. We call it trial and error. The following are just a few of the three hundred some prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. These are just about his death and resurrection:

  • He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
  • He would enter the temple (Malachi 3:1).
  • He would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9).
  • He would be sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12).
  • The silver would be thrown into the temple (Zechariah 11:13).
  • The silver would be used for a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13).
  • He would be forsaken by His disciples (Zechariah 13:7).
  • He would be accused by false witnesses (Psalm 35:11).
  • He would remain silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7).
  • He would be wounded and bruised (Isaiah 53:5).
  • He would be whipped and spat upon (Isaiah 50:6; Micah 5:1).
  • He would be mocked (Psalm 22:7–8).
  • His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16).
  • He would be crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12).
  • People would shake their heads at Him (Psalm 109:25).
  • His clothes would be divided and lots cast for them (Psalm 22:18).
  • He would be offered gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21).
  • The exact words of His death cry were predicted (Psalm 22:1).
  • Not one of His bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20).
  • His heart would literally burst (Psalm 22:14).
  • His side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10).
  • Darkness would fall in broad daylight (Amos 8:9).
  • He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9).
  • He would be resurrected from the dead (Psalm 16:10).

But, the truth is just believing facts is not enough. The Bible does not tell us everything about Jesus. God has a purpose in what He chooses to tell us: that we would know Jesus and put our trust in Him, and so receive life. The facts are very important and the Bible is completely true and reliable. But the real testimony that the New Testament gives us is how Jesus draws people to Himself. He is, indeed, mighty to save! When Jesus appeared to His disciples on the day of His resurrection, this is what He told them:

“He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’” Luke 24:44-49 (NIV)

Jesus loved them before He died on the cross and He loved them when He came back. We are to know and trust in this love. We are to look for Him in the Bible. We are to believe that what He said to them and did for them is for us too. Yes, they had the advantage of seeing Him after He rose from the dead, but they also were tasked with bringing the Gospel to you. Jesus lives! Spend your life getting to know Him; praise and proclaim Him!