What are the proofs that Jesus was God’s son and divine? Most people acknowledge that Jesus really existed in history, but some do not believe that Jesus was anything but an ordinary man. Christians certainly believe that Jesus was extraordinary and divine. But why? Consider the many prophesies fulfilled by Jesus that point to His uniqueness.
In Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ1, he interviews Louis Lapides, a Jew and Christian pastor. Lapides had attended a conservative Jewish synagogue as a youth but began a spiritual quest after his parents divorced. When instigated by a Christian pastor, Lapides began to investigate the Old Testament prophesies that point to a Messiah and Jesus. His was convinced and accepted Jesus as his Savior. Here are just eight of the prophesies that led to Lapides conversion, which we will discuss below:
- Jesus’ suffering and death
- When Jesus would live
- Location of Jesus’ birth
- Virgin birth and Jesus’ name
- Miracles Jesus would perform
- Jesus’ betrayal
- Method of Jesus’ death
- Jesus’ resurrection
Before, we discuss these prophesies, consider the odds that they would apply to one man. According to Lapides, “the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled is one chance in one hundred million billion. That number is millions of times greater than the total number of people who’ve ever walked the planet.”2
His suffering and death
( Isaiah 53:3-9, 12) Written 7th Century before Christ (in the 700 BC century)
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus was “pierced” by crucifixion. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, crucified during Passover, when lambs were sacrificed. He “bore the sin of many” on the cross.
When He would live
( Daniel 9:25-26) Written: 6th Century Before Christ (in the 600 BC century)
25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was issued by King Artaxerxes of Persia around 446 BC. Seven ‘sevens’ and sixty-two ‘sevens’ would be 69 ‘sevens’or 483 years. 446 BC plus 483 years equals 37 A.D. However, in ancient times a year was a lunar year or 360 days, which would yield 476 calendar years (483 lunar years x 360 days = 173,880 days. 173,880 days/365.25 = 476 calendar years). 446 BC plus 476 years equals 30 AD, the exact year that many believe Jesus was crucified
Location of birth
( Micah 5:2) Written 7th Century before Christ (in the 700 BC century)
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4).
Virgin birth and name
( Isaiah 7:14) Written: Written 7th Century before Christ (in the 700 BC century)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Mary was a virgin when she gave birth (Matthew 1:18). The name Jesus in Hebrew is “Yehoshua,” meaning “Jehovah saves.” The name “Immanuel” means “God is with us.”
Miracles He would perform
( Isaiah 35:5-6) Written 7th Century before Christ (in the 700 BC century)
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert
Jesus tells John the Baptist’s messenger, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor (Matthew 11:4-5).”
9 Even my close friend,
someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
has turned against me.
Jesus was betrayed by his disciple, Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26: 14-15)
( Zechariah 11:13) Written 5th Century before Christ (in the 500 BC century
13 And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the LORD.
Jesus was betrayed by his disciple, Judas Iscariot for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26: 14-15)
Method of death
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
(Zechariah 12:10) Written 5th Century before Christ (in the 500 BC century)
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. 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
In 1044 BC crucifixion hadn’t been invented. Jesus was crucified by the Romans (Luke 23:33).
( Psalm 16:10) Written: 1044 BC
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week. Luke (24:1-5)
Jesus was certainly no ordinary man. Prophesies written up to 1,000 years in advance foretold of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection. For no one else in history has this occurred. Do you believe?
For Further Reading
Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus(Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1998)
- Lee Strobel, The Case For Christ (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1998)
- Ibid, 183.
- Nevin, Alfred, Ed., et al. “Table Showing the Probable Occassion when Each Psalm was Composed,” The Parallel Bible. Blue Letter Bible. 1 Aug 2002. 23 Apr 2012.