Seen as the fulfillment of the prophesized "Elijah who was to come" and "forerunner" to the Messiah
(Mal 3:1-3; 4:5-6;
Luke 1:13-17), John the Baptist publicly identified Jesus
as the Messiah when Jesus initiated His ministry (Hebrew: the anointed one, which translated in Greek:
Because messianic prophecies of the Old Testament validated the ministry of John the Baptist,
no other human being had the authority to justify that Jesus was the Messiah. And Jesus Himself did things that
only God could do (i.e. He healed people supernaturally [Mark 10:46-52]).
Demonstrating a continuity between the Old and New Testament, messianic prophecies provide the basis of
understanding Jesus' role in life and function in His Father's plan.
The two most quoted Psalms (22 and
69) in the New Testament portray Jesus as a righteous Sufferer.
In quoting passages from Isaiah (52 and
53), the New Testament develops the righteous Sufferer as the
Suffering Servant. And in associating Jesus Christ figuratively as the Lamb for the sacrifice for mankind's
transgressions, Jesus' sacrifice is understood within the context of the Law of Moses.
God mandated that the atonement of sin required a blood sacrifice
God established the annual Day of Atonement (Lev 16:15-34)
to atone for the sins of nation of Israel and cleanse the Tabernacle, which required an unblemished male lamb.
It is not until the last week of His life that Jesus explicitly cites messianic prophecies to
self-identify that He is the Messiah King (Matt 21:1-5;
John 12:12-15). This self-identification not only fulfills
prophecy but also provokes and facilitates the process and timing of the Crucifixion in accordance to God's plan
of salvation and His promise to Abraham.
Jesus Christ is crucified when the Passover lamb is being slaughtered.
Despite the rejection of His own people and abandonment of His disciples, Jesus' references
to messianic prophecies demonstrated that He was not a victim of circumstances; He was fully aware of God's holy
standard against sin that required a certain type of sacrifice, which He willingly fulfilled.
There are significant reasons for Messianic prophecies identifying Jesus as the righteous, suffering Servant.
1. They emphasize God's holy necessity of the Servant's voluntary sacrificial death juxtaposed
with Jesus Christ's vindication and glorification. The resulting atonement opens the way for repentance and
forgiveness – the healing of one's relationship with God.
2. They demonstrate that the way of salvation is the way of discipleship; one must put aside
self-glorification and obediently adopt the role of servanthood. God who is faithful vindicates one who is faithful.
3. They provide examples for how one serves and carries out His message of salvation to the world.
To learn more, see:
The significance of two prophecies concerning John the Baptist
Crucifying the unblemished Shepherd King
Keeping track of time… timing is everything…
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