Jesus the Fulfiller of Prophecy

The prophecies Jesus fulfilled is found can be broken down into the prophecies about Jesus’ lineage, those describing the attributes of God that Messiah would bear, those about what Messiah would do, and those about what would be done to Messiah.  In the third category there are some prophecies that Jesus could have fulfilled by consciously attempting to fulfill them.  For example, when Isaiah 62:1,2 says that Messiah will preach good news to the humble, bind up the hearts of the broken hearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives, Jesus could consciously choose to do this or have this kind of focus.

But the other prophecies were beyond his control.  He couldn’t determine where he would be born, or that he would be raised in Nazareth, or that he would be crucified.

Still other prophecies could only be fulfilled by someone who had the divine approval and empowerment of God.  That he would be a prophet, do miracles, be without sin and rise from the dead, could only be fulfilled by one in whom the Spirit of God was at work.

But there are a number of prophecies that seem to be, in their original context of the Old Testament, only speaking about regular humans.  These are prophecies that we might never have identified as prophecies about the Messiah, but those who understood the principles of Messianic prophecy could and did.

These prophecies are what we call “typical” prophecies.  They are generally comments or experiences by or about individuals who represent Israel (like a king or prophet or priest in Israel).  God planned that Messiah would in some sense relive or fulfill what they lived or experienced.  So, for example, when David says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Psalm 22:1), as a king of Israel his experience will be relived in some way by Messiah.  However, the Messiah will fulfill it in an enhanced sense.  Whereas David felt abandoned by God during an attack by his enemies, Jesus was literally abandoned by God because he was bearing our sins.

When it says, in an exaggerated sense, that the righteous man’s bones will not be broken under the protection of God (Psalm 34:20), it literally becomes true of Jesus on the cross (John 19:36).

These prophecies overall give us a certainty that Jesus’ coming was anticipated by God, prepared for by God, and brought to pass in Jesus’ life here on earth.  There are so many lines of evidence here for Jesus that this becomes a possible avenue, if given enough time, to help someone see the truth about who Jesus is.


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