Proving That Jesus is the Christ From the Old Testament. Part 6

[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 53:7-9 [NASB95] we read,

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By 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
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.”

It’s not every verse of the Old Testament that reads like it was written after the life of Christ, but there are a few that are. Isaiah 53 is one of them.

Jesus was sinless. This is essential doctrine. Anyone who says Jesus sinned is a devil. Scripture says, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14. This is clear imagery of his unblemished sacrifice. In John 8:46, Jesus asks, “Which one of you convicts Me of sin…?” knowing no one could then or at any time. In speaking of Jesus again, Hebrews says, “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15. Jesus is sinless. Aside from him, Scripture say without ambiguity that all others are sinful. This includes Mary, his mother. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus alone was truly and completely perfect.

Why do I say all this? Because Jesus is the only truly (truly) innocent person who’s ever suffered. He was entirely “oppressed” as Isaiah 53 says. “Afflicted and judged.” Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and sent on various stages of trial before his execution. The Gospels all record this. This was his oppression and judgment. He was afflicted. We would not be able to see this prophetic passage so clearly on display until after God the Holy Spirit illuminated the Gospel in the New Covenant, but we see it now in Christ on full display. He was arrested. Consider this: “Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” At his farce of a trial, Scripture says Jesus’ silence even made some of the authorities mad. We’ll come back to this. Before Herod, we read how Herod: “…questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing.” Luke 23:9. There was some talk by Jesus at the varying places of his trial such as with Pilate in John 19, but there was this clear silence during the times before the Sanhedrin, with Herod, with Pilate, and even on the Cross. He did not defend himself so as to try to escape the sentence of fallen men. We now know why by the soon following church given illumination of God the Holy Spirit. Acts 4:27-28.
But follow the amazing devotion and excellence of the Lord, as recorded by Isaiah, and detailed for us in the Gospels: “But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, ‘I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” Matthew 26:63-64. Jesus has been silent. Then suddenly he starts talking here and even quoting Scripture about who he, the “Son of Man” is. He’s not trying to rid himself of judgment. No, Psalm 22 (etc.) explains that his kingdom comes through suffering for him, but he’s all of a sudden responding. It’s as Ecclesiastes 3:7b reminds us in the life of its inspirer that there is, “…a time to be silent and a time to speak.” He starts talking when he’s sworn to it. Why? Look now briefly at Leviticus 5:1: “If a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.” In Matthew 26:63, the high priest put him under “adjuration” saying via his office “Tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus knows he is full well. Given this oath of swearing, what does the Law Jesus loved say of him if he does not tell the truth? It says he would “bear his guilt.” Leviticus 5:1. That’s sin. It’s a violation of the 9th commandment in court especially of bearing false witness if he does not tell the truth when sworn to. So, he tells the truth. Jesus is sinless. Even here, his purest excellence is in bold relief. Marvel with me.

So, he’s innocent but oppressed. He’s silent but speaks when it’s wise and when it’s necessary of him to. Again, Isaiah 53 could have been written in AD 50 but it comes from around 700 BC. Now, lastly, why?

It was to atone for his people. Israel yes, he is the yes and amen, but his people would be from every nation and tongue. 1 Peter 2:9-10, etc. All the animals in the Old Testament couldn’t do it. Yahweh gave his grace to many, and them as a temporary sign or type, but they could not do what the Son alone did by his sinless life and love. Jesus was “cut off out of the land of the living” which we now know is his death, but then the text goes on to talk more of this figure afterward which means that that’s not the end. It was not for his sake, but “for the transgressions of others” that this was done. Jesus is a substitutionary atonement for you and for me if we’re his. Jesus was then placed in a tomb. This was not a poor man’s burial tomb, but he wouldn’t need it for long. He had done no violence, and was no deceiver. This is a perfect description of Jesus. Yes, we learn this after his incarnation, but we can see it plainly.

Reader, this is all about the Son’s life and vicarious atonement. But, glory be, Isaiah’s preemptive biography doesn’t end there. Join me next time as we continue to see how this Old Covenant passage can be argued as to prove that Jesus is the Christ.

God bless!!!

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Joseph Pittano

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