31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him… Matthew 25:31-32a NKJV
Jesus lived out each day of His life in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. These foretold His birth by a virgin, His coming kingship attested to by His miracles, and His sacrificial death on the cross for our redemption. Isaiah also told us that Jesus will rise from the dead. Once risen, He would ascend into heaven, and will return to earth one day to reign over all the nations of the world on David’s throne in Jerusalem.
But before He reigns, Messiah must first suffer. This was the key piece that was missed by so many who sought to put together the prophetic puzzle so as to recognize Him when He came. The prophet Isaiah gives more insight into the sacrifice that must be offered by this Servant King.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth. Isaiah 53:7 NKJV
The gospel writer Matthew tells us that when Jesus’ time had come, He was arrested by the religious leaders in the night in the garden of Gethsemane, after having celebrated the symbolic Passover meal with His disciples. The following morning, He was taken before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, where the religious leaders presented many false accusations against Him
Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews, and He responded in the affirmative. But when confronted by all the false accusations cast against Him, Jesus remained silent. Pilate was amazed. Even when Jesus was sentenced to be beaten and die on a cross, He went to the slaughter without opening His mouth. The Holy Lamb of God was laying down His life to take away the sins of the world.
Isaiah goes on:
8 …For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. Isaiah 53:8b NKJV
Both Isaiah and the prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:26) confirm that the Messiah would be cut off or killed. The Passover lamb will sacrifice Himself, but on God’s timeline, not on the devil’s or his minions.
In Psalm 22, King David added more prophetic insight into what the Messiah must experience on the cross:
14 I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me…
16 The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
17 I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
18 They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots. Psalm 22:14,16b-18 NKJV
The gospels give testimony that these events are precisely what happened to Jesus during His crucifixion almost a thousand years after David’s prophecy. The Roman soldiers who crucified Him even cast lots for His robe so as not to ruin it by dividing it amongst themselves.
Jesus did all of this for us. The Father allowed His most precious Son to go through such horrors for us. The devil threw every evil blow and temptation against Christ in an attempt to sidetrack Him from His mission of love, but Praise God, the devil was unable to stop the Lamb from offering this perfect sacrifice. Jesus’ courageous act ensures redemption and eternal salvation for all who would grasp for it in faith. God longs for each one of us to reach out to Jesus to invite Him into our own heart as King, the Holy Lamb of God.
Lord, thank You for laying out your loving plan of redemption through the prophets in the Old Testament. The prophecies about Jesus’ first coming have all been fulfilled, but now we await His return to fulfill the rest. Strengthen our faith today through Your word and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We choose to follow You – help us to stay the course and do so. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.