One of the most persuasive lines of evidence that Jesus was the Messiah is that His life fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies. There are at least 456 Old Testament prophetic references that pertain to a future person which all were fulfilled in Jesus’ life. Many of these He could not have any control over, such as His place of birth. The following is a brief outline of some of these Old Testament prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment.
- Jesus fulfilled the predicted family tree of the Messiah (Genesis 3:15; 49:10; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 1:20-23; 22:41-42)
- Jesus fulfilled the predicted time of the coming of the Messiah (Daniel 9:25-26)
- Jesus fulfilled the predicted details of the Messiah’s life (selected examples from many):
- Bethlehem as birthplace (Micah 5:2 and Matthew 2:1-6)
- Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:18-23)
- Hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16 and John 20:25)
- Betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12ff and Matthew 26:14-16)
The odds that these and so many other Old Testament prophecies would be fulfilled in one man are beyond imagination. What is the chance that any man might have lived from the day of these prophecies down to the present time and have fulfilled even eight of them? It has been estimated that the odds are one chance in 1017. Scientist Peter Stoner illustrated this probability:
Suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom (Peter W. Stoner, Science Speaks [Chicago: Moody Press, 1958], p.107).
The Christian religion began by the conversion of Jews from Judaism. A major argument persuading them was the evidence that Jesus’ life was the fulfillment of Old Testament Messianic prophecy (Luke 24:25-27; John 5:46; Acts 8:30-35; 28:23). The apostles Peter, Paul, and John all taught that Jesus was the promised Messiah (Acts 2:36; 17:1-3; 1 John 2:22). There is overwhelming evidence to link Jesus’ life with the prophesied Messiah.