Prophecies from the Old Testament were fulfilled in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Nearly 300 predictions from hundreds of years before his birth were acknowledged by rabbis as having been made in reference to a coming deliverer they called the Messiah.
These predictions included Bethlehem as the place of his birth (Micah 5:2), that he would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 in the Septuagint Greek translation c.a. 250 B.C.E.), and that the time of his birth would be just before Israel lost their sovereign power as a nation (Genesis 49:10)—this took place just after the beginning of the First Century C.E. when Archelaus took the throne.
It is significant that when Israel cried, “Woe to us, for the scepter has been removed and the Messiah has not come!” (Talmud, Babylon, Sanhedrin), Jesus was walking in their midst.
It was also predicted that he would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5,6), that he would enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9), would die a dreadful, yet substitutionary death (Isaiah 53) by crucifixion (Psalm 22:14-17), a form of death not even known at the time of the psalm’s composition, and that he would be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:9f).
No one else in history can remotely claim to be the object of such prophecies except Jesus of Nazareth.
Astonishingly, the chances of fulfilling just eight specific prophecies is one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 notes a panel of scientists with the American Scientific Affiliation. See Josh McDowell’s New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. (Nelson, 1999), p. 164f. See also an interview with Rev. Louis Lapides in “The Fingerprint Evidence: Did Jesus—and Jesus Alone—Match the Identity of the Messiah?” found in Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, (Zondervan, 1998), p.171f. Lapides is a Jew who moved from agnosticism to belief in Jesus as the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.
Archaeology affirms the historical trustworthiness of the Bible. Renowned archaeologist, Nelson Glueck, has commented,
“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.”
Findings include inscriptions that Quirinius (Luke 2:2) was twice governor of Syria, and so in power when Jesus was born, and that Caesar Augustus ordered taxation enrollments that uprooted people such as Joseph and Mary from their homes (Luke 2:3,4). See Sir William Ramsey, The Bearing of Recent Discoveries on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament. (Hodder and Stoughton, 1920), p.238f.
See: When did the Luke 2 census occur? How can the Bible be correct?
Easter underscores the truth of Christmas. It is actually to Jesus’ resurrection that the New Testament points as the most important positive confirmation of his claims (Acts 2:22-32). The following partial list of unassailable facts “so converge as to point to Jesus’ resurrection with overwhelming probability” (A.M. Ramsey).
Jesus’ death by crucifixion caused his disciples to despair and lose hope. Yet shortly after, their fear was turn to boldness. Many went to their own deaths to proclaim the message that they had met the risen Jesus.
The very public tomb at Jerusalem was found empty. Yet neither the Jewish nor the Roman leaders produced Jesus’ body despite strong motivation to do so. Nor did they silence of refute the disciples’ message.
These disciples, who were monotheistic Jews, and who had rejected graven images of the Almighty, came to worship as God this Jesus who had walked as a human being among them.
These same Jewish disciples, who had longed for a powerful, military-like deliverer to overthrow the Roman yoke of oppression, came to call their long-promised Messiah this one who had died on a shameful cross.
In spite of severe opposition from every corner, their faith spread across Israel and throughout the entire Mediterranean world. Lives were changed for the positive. The world was turned upside down.
Former British High Court Justice, Sir Edward Clarke noted…
“To me the evidence is conclusive… Over and over again in the high court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling [as that supporting Jesus’ resurrection.]”
By His fulfillment of prophecy, we are reminded that Jesus Christ is the center of God’s plan for the world.
His resurrection from the dead is further confirmation that Jesus is God’s Son who will deliver on every promise. Jesus in the stable is not a fable. And because the message of Christmas is true, the implications are enormous for you.
It means that God the Son, in love, came to fulfill the meaning of his name, which is “The Lord Saves!” In other words, as one modern writer name him, he is “God to the Rescue!” By Jesus’ death on the cross he paid for your sins and mine. By his resurrection he has opened the way to heaven to all who receive him by faith.
Jesus said, “He who [that is, “whoever”] has the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36). By receiving Jesus into your life you also are made a child of God (John 1:14), receive the forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:46), and become a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17). Your future becomes a life of discovery of His gracious plan for you (Ephesians 1:18f).
A long time ago he was born in a manger. But he wishes to be born within your heart today (Revelation 3:20). This Christmas season receive the greatest gift that can ever be given. Open your heart and let the One who was born in a stable in humility, died on a cross in love, and rose from the dead in power, enter in!
Are you skeptical about the claims of Jesus Christ and the true meaning of Christmas?
Do you have an open-mind? If so, here are some things to think about…
Was Jesus Christ a good person or was he evil? Was he insane? He claimed to be God, the all-powerful Creator of the universe—the Alpha and Omega. What kind of man claims such things? a liar? a bad man? a lunatic? Or is he exactly who he claimed to be, the promised Messiah—God in human form? During his the 3 years of his ministry on Earth, a provided abundant proof—thousands of miracles witnessed by thousands upon thousands of people. Even his most ardent foes—the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes did not deny these were real.
What about rising from the dead? Have you ever considered the implications of the fact that Christianity is the only religion whose leader is said to have risen from the dead?
If Jesus’ resurrection was a lie, a fake or unproven, why would twelve intelligent men (Jesus’ disciples) die rather than deny what they saw with their own eyes?
How do you explain the record of his public execution, certified by all present including Roman soliders, and burial—then followed by Jesus being seen healthy, walking and talking to thousands after his death? Do realize that highly qualified lawyers and scientists have examined the evidence in detail, trying to disprove it, and come to the conclusion that the claims are irrefutable?
Is the Bible a bad book? If the Bible is not true, if it is a book containing many lies, why is it so universally regarded as “the Good Book”?
How do you realistically account for the vast archaeological documentation of Biblical stories, places, and people?
What do you say about the hundreds of scholarly books that carefully document the veracity and reliability of the Bible? Nonsense? Foolish rubbish?
Why have so many of history’s greatest thinkers been believers? Thousands of intelligent scientists, living and dead, have been men and women have accepted Christ and the Bible as true. Are you suggesting that so many intelligent people have been radically in error?
Changed lives— How do you explain the fact that a single, relatively uneducated and virtually untraveled man, dead at age 33, radically changed lives and society to this day? If it was all a stupid fraud, why have so many bad, selfish, abusive people become truly loving and self-sacrificing as a result of doing exactly what Christ asked them to do?
Whose side are the odds on? The odds are 1 in 10 to the 157th power against even just 48 ancient prophecies becoming fulfilled in one person and one place and time on earth. 300 prophecies came true of Jesus Christ.
Is it possible that your unbelief in God is actually an unwillingness to submit to Him?
Why would I want to become a Christian; they’re a bunch of hypocrites? Answer
Above questions adapted from
44 Questions for the Not-Yet-a-Believer, AIIA Institute
Find answers to many other questions about the Bible and Christianity
Am I good enough to get to Heaven? Answer
How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer
If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer
Why do Christians insist that one must believe in Christ alone to be saved? Aren’t all religions basically the same and different ways to the same end? Answer
Are you SKEPTICAL about the Bible? If so, read our questions to consider.
How can I be sure of my salvation? Answer
Can a saved person ever be lost? Answer
Can a Christian sin to such a degree that he will lose his salvation and ultimately be consigned to the lake of fire?
Salvation by grace alone, not your efforts (a difference between Biblical Christianity and teachings common in the Roman Catholic church) - Go
Can a gay person go to heaven? Answer
Can small children come to Christ to be saved? - Answer
Redemption, what is it? Answer
Regeneration, what is it? Answer
What is the eternal destiny of an infant who dies? Answer
What are some of the guidelines the Bible gives us about infant death and eternity?
Judging from all the hypocrisy in the church, why would I want to be a Christian? Answer