Proving That Jesus is the Christ From the Old Testament. Part 3

[Repeat of series introduction that began on 17 December 2023: Where would you go today in the Old Testament to argue that Jesus is the Christ? There’s so much to this that cannot be dismissed. We’re given in many ways what the Messiah would be like, what his character would be, how he’d be received (even by different people), what he’d do, how he’d redeem, that we’d have his lineage, what he’d say, how it would all end, how he’d come and more. So much, and we see it all done in just one man! How would you know that he is the promised Messiah? Jesus’ birth, life, suffering, and glorification all demonstrate the facets of his excellent work. Jesus himself asked two of his disciples the same question I could ask you today, and then went to the same source to explain it that I’d like to go to as well in this series: “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Luke 24:26-27. Jesus had to suffer to then enter into his glory he said. With this premise, he goes through some measure of the 39 books of the Old Testament revealing himself to them thereby. This is the same Old Testament we have today. I wish we were given the transcript of that talk, but God didn’t wish to give it. But can we see it? Many historical events in the Scriptures could be fulfilled by men and women, but no one but Jesus (Messiah) could fulfill them all. The Lord himself demonstrated that he was and is the Christ, and our New Testament reflects that its writers were well aware of this. The clear approach of the Apostles was to argue the same from the Bible that Jesus read- the 39 books we now call the Old Testament. To know what it means that Jesus is the Christ is to show the fulness of God’s revelation to mankind in the New Testament in him. In the Old Testament, God said he’d defeat sin and death; the New Testament shows us that work done. There are so many ways to talk of this. So many passages. I won’t exhaust them, but in this series, I wish to examine some of these passages. These passages are how I would prove Jesus is the Christ from the Old Testament].

Continuing on in Isaiah 53:3-4 we read:

He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.

Prophecies don’t come in any necessary order. One statement of a prophet to the next can represent many elapsed years and even millennia. One writer spoke of this as ridges on a mountain range. They may be seen in sequence without the miles in between in the prophet’s prophetic eye. Inspiration is in fact shown in this. The prophet may see some parts of the prophecy but does not or cannot see them all. They can flare back and forth, telescope a matter, poetically communicate truth, reflect both human and divine perspectives, refer to more than one time, person or place, and more. The passages in view today clearly cover much of Jesus’ life. What may be true in Israel itself or any other Israelite’s life- as many things surely were- when we combine the passage with all that the Old Testament says about Jesus with all that Jesus and the Apostles of the New Testament said post the Day of Pentecost it gives us an unmistakable biographical view of Jesus in the Old Testament. Jesus is the God of the Old Testament.

How or when was Jesus more “despised and forsaken of men” than at his arrest? Jesus (who we trust as an Old Testament interpreter) said in Matthew 26:31, “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.’” Jesus quotes Zechariah 13:7 to them which says, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man, My Associate,” declares the Lord of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; and I will turn My hand against the little ones.” Here we see Jesus reading Zechariah’s words (written around 550 years beforehand) as speaking directly of his own life and day. His disciples would be scattered. (Side note: notice that this passages makes no sense outside of the doctrine of the Trinity as in the relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit). Jesus was forsaken at that time of his arrest. His passive obedience would begin. He restored his flock later, but this scattering was clearly seen. I would argue this from Zechariah’s prophecy to show that Jesus is the one the prophets foretold.

The end of vs. 3 reads: “And like one from whom men hide their face he was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” The same mass crowd who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday asked for Barabbas to be released instead of him less than a week later. Matthew 27:21. Jesus was despised often. We saw this in Nazareth (Luke 4), during many times of public discourse around Israel, see John 8 and 10, and again surely in the last week of his life before the Resurrection. Given the reality of the Messiah, John said of him later how, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1:11. I read this in both a local and global context. He came to his own, Israel and mankind as a whole, and was not received. In fulfillment of Psalm 22:8, Matthew tells us in Matthew 27:43 that on his Cross they reviled him saying, “He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” They’d heard Jesus quote Psalm 22:1a earlier that day saying (for their sakes): “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (We’ll get to Psalm 22). They did not know that he was not forsaken by God but was fulfilling Isaiah 53 in full. This would not end in him being overtaken by his enemies. Everything was God’s plan. Acts 4:27-28. God would raise him up to the highest honor. Acts 2:36. I would argue Isaiah 53 here as evidence that the Son had to suffer to enter into his glory…as the Son himself clearly said. Luke 24:26. Jesus himself despised the shame of it all (Hebrews 12:2) and endured the ignominy looking forward eternally to that honor that is now his as the exalted Savior and Lord. Revelation 5:12.

There are so many griefs he bore in his life in living among us. So many deaths he died. People said he had a demon, would have stoned him for claiming to be God if they could, he fasted to the point of sure physical harm, they would have thrown him over a cliff once, his own half brothers doubted him, Satan came after him directly and he endured temptations like any man but did not sin. They would have seized him some ten times before he allowed it. Given the history of his life in the Gospels, these passages in Isaiah clearly could have been written in a New Testament epistle, but they came from Isaiah ~700 years before the bread came down to Bethlehem.

The promise of the Old Testament concerning this once despised and non-esteemed man is, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” Paul quotes this passage from Isaiah 45:23 of Jesus in Romans 14:11. And why? Because Paul saw the glorified Jesus beyond his suffering and bore witness to his glory. Everyone reading this will bow to Jesus the Christ as Lord and God without exception. But his suffering came first.

 God bless!!!

(If this has been a blessing to you, would you please share it with someone else? Come by anytime for new stuff).

Joseph Pittano

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