Messianic Prophecies, Pt. 1

Scripture: Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14, Psalm 41:9
Is Jesus really the Messiah? The whole Christian faith is based on the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Historical references prove He lived. But what about Christ's claims to be the Son of God?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible and talk about themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw and with me is Gary Gibbs. Hi, Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi, John. Today we're going to be talking about, is Jesus really the Messiah? The whole Christian faith is predicated upon that belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

John: How in the world do you go about proving this? In fact, Gary, how can a person prove that Jesus even existed as a human being?

Gary: Well, John, the people who know history are historians. They don't question this. It's beyond question. The historical references to Christ are numerous and it's a fact that He lived. But let me just answer that if you were a true doubter and you really wanted to find the evidence for it.

John: Yes, let's say I'm coming to you and I'm saying, "OK, you want me to believe in Jesus but I've never met him, haven't seen him," and even though you can say as he lived but it was 2000 years ago, where do you lead me on this thing?

Gary: First, you have to recognize that there are only four possible Roman historical sources for Christ during that period of time.

John: Let me understand what you mean. You mean from the time when Jesus lived that we've got the writings of four historians.

Gary: That's correct.

John: OK, and what did these historians say? These are regular old historians. Did they write about Jesus or didn't they?

Gary: I don't know that they were actually historians as much as they are historical resources writings from that era.

John: OK.

Gary: Two of them don't apply. They're outside of the area where Jesus lived or outside of our time window.

John: Two of these writers just wouldn't have known anyway, wrong place, wrong time.

Gary: Very irrelevant.

John: That leaves two.

Gary: The two. Tacitus was one of these. Here's what Tacitus wrote and by the way, he lived 115 to 117 AD, all right?

John: OK.

Gary: He said this. He said they got their name referring to Christians from Christ who was executed by the sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.

John: That's interesting, historical reference that names Jesus, names Pilate, mentions his execution, talks about Tiberius.

Gary: That's right and then the other one, he also has an apparent, the other Roman writer, has an apparent reference to Christ as well. Two of the relevant Roman writers of that era mentioned Christ as a historical figure.

John: Historically speaking, based on what we've got to go on, we can say with some real solid conviction, Jesus, at least we know He lived, He existed, He was a real man, He lived on this earth.

Gary: Definitely. All the relevant non-Jewish historical sources mentioned him and in both of the Jewish resources of that time, Josephus and the rabbinical writings like the Talmud, the...what is it? The Midrash mentioned him. All of those referred to him. Let me share with you a quote from Josephus. Josephus, now of course, he lived around 93. He wrote this around 93 AD. He says, "Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man for He was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure." And then he goes on, he talks about Jesus, talks about Pilate and he talks about Christians. Here's a gentleman who lived, he was a contemporary of John the apostle, Paul, he lived with these guys. He knew their works. He knew their teachings. Like I said John, no person who really understands history would ever question the existence of Jesus as a person. Now, what a person may question is, what are the claims regarding Jesus.

John: Yes, that's a good question. OK, I'm going to give it to you, He lived but the fact that He lived and the fact that He was the Messiah don't have to naturally go together. Maybe He wasn't the Messiah. He was just this good man that lived. What proof, what evidence do we have that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Messiah of Bible prophecy?

Gary: The answer is right there in your question. Messiah is a technical term. It means the anointed one.

John: Sure.

Gary: It is used in Daniel chapter 9. That word is used in Daniel nine where we have a prophecy about this deliver, who is going to come, the Son of God who's going to come to this planet, come to Israel specifically and He would be the Anointed One, the Son of God. Now there are numerous prophecies in the Old Testament pointing forward to Jesus' life and these were written hundreds of years if not a thousand years before Jesus ever lived.

John: Let me ask you a question. I don't want to get you off track here but we're talking about prophecies that were supposedly written before Jesus lived. How do we know they weren't written after he lived, people going back and making it fit for Jesus?

Gary: Dead Sea Scrolls. Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that the writings of Isaiah or the same scriptures that we have today and they're dated before Christ.

John: So, no question what Isaiah wrote, he wrote before Jesus lived.

Gary: No question whatsoever.

John: OK, well, let's look at what he wrote and maybe some others wrote. What did they say about Jesus that indicates He might indeed be the true Messiah?

Gary: Here's what Isaiah wrote. Isaiah 7:14, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel." This was quoted as being fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 1:18.

John: The virgin birth was prophesied of long before Jesus came along.

Gary: That's right. Now, somebody might say virgin birth. I mean how do you prove a virgin birth other than people say it was a virgin birth? You can't really prove that necessarily. Yes, it's interesting that you have the testament writers and the testimony of Joseph and Mary and the family and the people around that it was a virgin birth.

John: Yes, they believed it.

Gary: They believe it but let's put that aside, just...

John: Hey, let me say this, too.

Gary: Yes.

John: If I was the Messiah or if I wanted you to think I was the Messiah, I wouldn't want anything put in the Bible that kind of shared the funny old light on my parentage and my heritage.

Gary: They made reference to that. Jesus' contemporaries made reference to that. They questioned His parentage.

John: That might be a detail that I would want covered up but not Jesus.

Gary: No.

John: All right, so we've got the virgin birth.

Gary: Let's go to another prophecy that I think is even more compelling.

John: All right.

Gary: It's the one in Micah 5:2 that says that he would be born in Bethlehem. "Bethlehem, out of you shall come forth to me the one to be ruler in Israel." Well, Jesus was born in Bethlehem even though his parents weren't living there at the time. Remember the Roman governor I believe it was made the rule that there was going to be this tax and everybody had to go to their city of origins.

John: They're like a census that was being taken.

Gary: That's right. Joseph had to go to back to Bethlehem.

John: Took Mary his spouse, wife, Jesus was born there and it was prophesied by Micah. How many years? Years and years and years beforehand that that's where Jesus would be born.

Gary: Then we have the prophecy regarding his betrayal that he would actually be betrayed and that's how He would end up going to the cross. We have that in Psalm 41:9.

John: What does it say there?

Gary: "Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted who ate my bread has lifted up his heel against me."

John: Interesting. Yet at the last supper Jesus gave that piece of bread to Judas. Judas indeed lifted up his heel against him.

Gary: John 13:26. "How about the price paid to the traitor?" Zechariah 11:12, "So they paid me 30 pieces of silver." And that's exactly what Judas was paid for revealing where Jesus would be that night when they arrested him.

John: Now, that's four prophecies pointing to Jesus as being the Messiah. I'm going to ask you in a moment if we've got some more that you can add to this list. Right now, I want you to know about the offer we have for you today. It's a Bible study called "It's Still There". Now I want you to have this. Call the number we give you, write the address that we give you, ask for It's Still There. It's free. It will be a blessing to you. It will deepen your appreciation of the word of God and of Jesus Christ himself. Our offer today, "It's Still There". We want you to have it. It's not going to cost you anything to get in touch with us and get a hold that, no obligation. We'd like you to have it absolutely free. Gary, you've given us four prophecies here on Bible Talk today that indicates that Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah. You've talked about his birth place, his betrayal, the price that was paid for him, the virgin birth. Are there more?

Gary: Let me give you five and six, next two, his beating and abuse and the manner of his death, the fact that he was crucified.

John: The Bible predicted before Jesus was tortured and crucified that that's what will take place.

Gary: Isaiah 50:6, "As I offered my back to those beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard, I did not hide my face from marking and spitting."

John: I remember a verse in the Bible that says His visage was marred, so marred more than any man.

Gary: Every aspect regarding His death was prophesied there. They pierced His hands and feet. Psalm 22:16 says they pierced them and that's exactly what happened. Now, this was prophesied before crucifixion was a common means of torture and death.

John: Hey, let's go back and revisit that point. They pre-figured this crucifixion at a time crucifixion was barely known.

Gary: Right.

John: Interesting.

Gary: And yet you come to Jesus' day and crucifixion was the common means of executing criminals.

John: Didn't it say somewhere in the prophecies that not one of His bones would be broken?

Gary: Typically, they would break the bones of the people on the cross and yet Jesus' bones weren't broken because He was already dead.

John: Very fascinating. We're looking today on Bible Talk at the idea, is Jesus really the Messiah. We've established that historical sources claim that he existed and he had followers and now we're looking at the prophesies that indicate that this Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the savior of the world as talked about in the Holy Bible.

Gary: John, we could go on and on with these prophesies but let me just point out a couple of things, events that were beyond Jesus' control.

John: In other words, these are things He couldn't concoct.

Gary: He couldn't concoct these, the place of His birth. You have no control over the place of your birth.

John: Right.

Gary: The manner of His birth. His betrayal and the events surrounding His death, you can't control all that.

John: No.

Gary: If you look at the mathematical probability of these things happening to one person all of these different prophesies.

John: You can calculate that.

Gary: You can calculate it and a mathematician from a college out in California, Pasadena College so the probability of just eight of these prophesies being fulfilled in one man in a lifetime is one with 33 zeros behind it.

John: Wow. I don't know what that number is but I know it's huge.

Gary: It's big, I can't even pronounce it. I've got all the zeroes out here that our listeners might want to write 33 zeroes out, that's the mathematical probability of one man fulfilling just eight of the prophesies that refer to Jesus' life on this planet in one lifetime.

John: I heard it put this way. Not the number but this way. If you cover the state of Texas, six feet deep with silver dollars and then you took one silver dollar and painted it red and put it out there somewhere in Texas, and blindfolded somebody and ask them to stumble out into this vast sea of silver dollars and pick one of them at random, the probability of that person picking out your red silver dollar is the same as any one person. Indeed Jesus of Nazareth fulfilling the prophesies of the Bible concerning the Messiah. Unbelievable but He did it. In other words, it could only be Jesus and just couldn't possibly be anybody else.

Gary: The most remarkable thing here is if you look at major leaders of religion who've lived in past times, you have a grave there. You have a shrine...

John: That's right.

Gary: To where they died. You can't find a grave of Jesus today. You find an empty tomb.

John: He's not there.

Gary: An entire religion has been built upon the fact that He lived, He died and He resurrected again. And today, time is divided, pre-Christian era, the Christian era because this man did live. He split time and He will - everything he claimed about himself is true.

John: So if he's truly the Messiah, if he's truly the savior of the world that means that I need Him to be my savior. Friend, we want to encourage you to allow Jesus to be your savior as well. Open up your heart to Him today. Trust Him. Speak to Him in prayer. Read His word. Accept the forgiveness that He offers you and the joy in peace that comes from being in His saving presence. We thank you for joining us today. Be with us again next time for more right here on Bible Talk. [music]

Announcer: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free informative Bible Study Guide, simply call, write or email and ask for It's Still There. The toll free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058 Roseville, California, 95678. Or email us at Bible Talk is being produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Live Talk Radio.

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