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: Christ).
Because messianic prophecies of the Old Testament validated the ministry of John the Baptist, no other human being had
the authority to authenticate 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 (Lev 17:11).
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
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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