The Old Testament contains many prophecies about the coming of a Messiah. Through history, Jews have waited for such a Messiah. Is Jesus that Messiah who was prophesized?
Prior to Jesus‘s resurrection, Jesus’s disciples, life-long Jews, were hopeful, but not necessarily convinced that Jesus was the awaited Messiah. During Jesus’s torture, crucifixion and just prior to Jesus’s resurrection it is likely that his disciples had major reservations about Jesus as the Messiah. Afterall a Messiah was supposed to save the Jewish people, not die. The resurrection, however, turned their thinking around. The disciples were so convinced of Jesus’s status as the Messiah and Son of God, that they spread the word about Jesus. They were persecuted for doing so.
So what is the evidence in the Old Testament that points to Jesus as the long awaited Messiah? Following are just some of the Old Testament passages pointing to Jesus.
Jeremiah 23-5 indicates that the Messiah will come from the line of David. Matthew, in the first book of the New Testament, begins his book carefully setting out the lineage of Jesus, showing that Jesus was in fact from the line of David and is the expected Messiah.(Matthew 1:1-16)
Micah 5:2 indicates that the Messiah was expected to be born in Bethlehem, as was Jesus.
Isaiah 7:14 indicates that the Messiah would be born from a virgin and shall be Immanuel (God with us), which Jesus was.
Zechariah 9:9 indicates that the Messiah would triumphantly enter Jerusalem on a donkey as Jesus did.
Isaiah 40:3 indicates that the Messiah will be preceded by a messenger, which John the Baptist was.
Isaiah 53 indicates that the Messiah will be wounded and bruised, his hands and feet pierced, would be silent before his accusers, and that he would carry our sins. He did all these things.
Psalm 22 offers many parallels between David’s suffering described figuratively by him and which were predictive of what Jesus would experience during his crucifixion — mocked, lots cast for his garments, abandoned, cried that he was forsaken, and suffered from extreme thirst.
Scientist Peter Stoner in Chapter 3 of the online edition of Science Speaks looked at the probability that Jesus is the Messiah by calculating the probability that one man could fulfill only eight of the many Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah. Stoner concludes,
Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 1017 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ.
In other words, the evidence points to Jesus Christ as the Messiah prophesized in the Old Testament.