Prophecy connections in the Bible prove that God loved the world so much, He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him WILL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE!
The Lord God of heaven promised that He would send a Messiah to save people from their sin. Messiah means “savior.”
THE PROPHET ISAIAH WROTE about a man who would be despised and rejected and familiar with suffering. This man would take up our diseases and carry our sorrows. He would be “pierced” for our wrongdoings, and by his wounds we would be healed. The punishment that he received would bring us peace of mind and heart.
JESUS was despised and rejected and familiar with sorrow and suffering. Men who were invited to share his life and witness the persecution that he endured wrote about the time they spent in his company. They gave testimony to what they saw and heard – the people who were healed of diseases and delivered from demons, and crowds that gathered to hear his wisdom. The words of these men are written in the Bible, “God’s Word” for those who wish to know Him and spend eternity with Him.
ISAIAH WROTE: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord laid on him the iniquity [sin] of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
JESUS predicted his own death. He KNEW THE PURPOSE FOR HIS LIFE! Jesus’ closest friend John gave this testimony:
“Jesus replied: ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds…. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour’? No, IT WAS FOR THIS VERY REASON I CAME TO THIS HOUR. Father glorify your name!’” Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd that was there heard it …’ (John 12:23-27).
GOD’S PROPHETS TOLD WHAT THIS MAN WOULD BE LIKE AND GAVE SPECIFIC DETAILS TO HELP US IDENTIFY HIM WHEN HE APPEARED!
— THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH WROTE that a king would appear to the descendants of Jacob (Israel). They would recognize him as gentle and riding on the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). … JESUS rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt! (You can find it in Matthew 21.)
— AND ZECHARIAH FORETOLD that “thirty pieces of silver” would be exchanged, thrown into the house of the Lord, and then given “to the potter” (Zechariah 11:12-13). … JESUS was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver! Then after Jesus’ arrest, his betrayer threw the coins he had been paid into the temple, then he committed suicide. Later, the priests used the money to buy “the potter’s field” as a burial place for foreigners! (Find it in Matthew 27:1-10.)
— ZECHARIAH ALSO WROTE, “I [the Lord God] will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered” (Zech. 13:7). … JESUS FORETOLD that his disciples would “fall away” and all of them – except for John and Peter who followed him – ran away when Jesus was arrested, JUST AS JESUS AND ZECHARIAH SAID WOULD HAPPEN! (You can read about it in Mark 14:27-31,50-52 and John 18:15.)
— THE PROPHET ISAIAH WROTE, “he [will be] pierced for our transgressions … crushed for our iniquities … the punishment that [brings] us peace [will be] upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). … JESUS was beaten and mocked. A crown of thorns was crushed onto his head, and nails were pounded into his hands and feet! (Read about it in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.)
— ISAIAH ALSO WROTE that this man would be “assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death” (Isaiah 53:9). … JESUS was placed in the new tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent, wealthy member of the Council! (See Mark 15:43-46.)
— KING DAVID WROTE, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken” (Psalm 34:19-20). … JESUS was without sin (Isaiah 53:9 and 1 Peter 2:22-23). And when Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus, they did not break Jesus’ bones! (Find it in John 19:31-33.)
Right before he died, Jesus said, “It is finished.” ONE OF THE SOLDIERS PIERCED JESUS’ SIDE WITH HIS SPEAR “bringing forth a sudden flow of blood and water” – the soldier broke Jesus’ heart! And: JESUS FULFILLED ZECHARIAH’S PROPHECY: “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great …” (Read it in John 19:31-37 and Zechariah 12:10-11.)
Jerusalem wept when Jesus died, BUT three days later, they learned that he had risen from the dead – just as he had told them that he would!
Jesus told his disciples that he was going to be killed, BUT IN THREE DAYS HE WOULD RISE AGAIN!
JESUS’ BODY REMAINED IN THE TOMB FOR THREE DAYS to fulfill His own prophecy . . .
Matthew (who personally witnessed these things) wrote: “Jesus took his twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man [Jesus] will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. ON THE THIRD DAY HE WILL BE RAISED TO LIFE!’ ” (Matthew 20:18-19).
According to Jewish custom, here is the timeline of what happened to Jesus before he arose to fulfill prophecy:
— ON SATURDAY (the Jewish Sabbath) Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). Christian tradition celebrates this event as “Palm Sunday.”
— ON SUNDAY (the next day) Jesus entered the temple and rebuked the money changers for making his Father’s house into a den of thieves (Matthew 21:12). He went to the city of Bethany and spent the night (Matthew 21:17).
— ON MONDAY Jesus returned to Jerusalem and taught in the temple courts (Matt. 21:23). On that day he also gave to his disciples – and to us through Matthew’s testimony – signs of his second coming and the gathering of “his elect” (Matt. 24:1-35). Two days later would be Passover AND the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the chief priests were looking for a way to arrest Jesus and kill him (Mark 14:1-2). It was also the day when Judas approached the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12).
— ON TUESDAY preparations were made for Wednesday’s evening meal, called the Passover. Jesus sent two of his disciples to prepare a place for the Seder, Tuesday’s evening meal. This marked the beginning of the Jewish holy days, combining the Feast of Unleavened Bread and remembrance of the Passover (described in Exodus 12). It was filled with symbolism, and that’s when Jesus said that the bread they were eating symbolized his body that would be “given for you,” and the cup of wine they drank from symbolized his blood “poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20). At that time, Jesus predicted Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial – both prophecies were fulfilled that night!
— ON TUESDAY NIGHT AFTER THE SEDER, Jesus and his disciples – minus Judas, who had gone to lead the chief priests to Jesus) went to “a place called Gethsemene” (read Mark 14:32). There, Jesus prayed to his Father: “Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). Afterward, Judas led the chief priests to where Jesus was, and they arrested him for “blasphemy,” because he claimed to be God’s Son, “making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
— ON EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING Jesus was brutally mistreated, sentenced to death. He carried his own cross – then was helped by a man pulled from the crowd, named Simeon (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26) – to the site where he would be crucified. Jesus was nailed to the cross around 9 a.m.
— ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON JESUS DIED AT 3 P.M. (Mark 15:33). At that moment the 42-foot-high curtain in the temple was ripped vertically in two (Mark 15:38), symbolizing the fact that JESUS’ DEATH PAID FOR ENTRANCE INTO THE VERY PRESENCE OF GOD! His body was removed from the cross and placed in a tomb before sundown in accordance with Jewish law.
JESUS’ BODY REMAINED IN THE TOMB FOR THREE DAYS . . .
— THURSDAY WAS PASSOVER so the people were not allowed to travel. The chief priests and Pharisees requested that Roman guards be posted in front of the tomb where Jesus’ body lay. And the tomb was secured with a seal. (Read about it in Matthew 27:62-65.)
— FRIDAY WAS AN ADDITIONAL SABBATH, always observed on the day after Passover, according to Jewish tradition.
— SATURDAY WAS A REGULAR SABBATH, so travel restrictions still kept people from going to visit Jesus’ tomb.
— ON SUNDAY travel restrictions were lifted. So Sunday was the first day visitors were allowed at Jesus’ tomb. THEY SAW THAT THE TOMB WAS OPENED AND EMPTY – except for the linen shroud and the cloth that had wrapped Jesus’ head. (Find it in John 20:6-7.)
The guards were told, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And this story has been widely circulated to this very day! (Find it in Matthew 28:11-15.)
Jesus was seen, heard and touched after he arose from the grave.
Testimonies of eyewitnesses are recorded in the gospels, so WE CAN KNOW JESUS IS ALIVE!
And when the time is right, “he will send his angels to gather his elect” (Matthew 24:31).
COPYRIGHT 2011 PAULA YINGST
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