How Jesus Fulfilled Prophecy – 5 Examples
When people ask you how you know that the Gospel is true, one evidence you can point out to them is fulfilled prophecy. There are plenty of examples of fulfilled prophecy in the Bible, including the destruction of cities. But Jesus’ life alone has at least 5 examples of fulfilled prophecy.
Why does this count as evidence? Because God, being outside time, is the only One who could know the future. So when a collection of writings (the Bible) has multiple examples of fulfilled prophecy, then we have good reason to think that God was involved in the authorship of those writings.
Let’s consider five broad aspects of Jesus’ life that were prophesied and then fulfilled:
Fulfilled Prophecy #1: Line of David
Isaiah 11:1 “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” It should be remembered that Jesse was David’s dad. So this text is saying that someone in the line of David and Jesse would be the Messiah.
Matthew 1:1 “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew goes on to record in detail how Jesus was descended from David.)
2. Birth location
Micah 5:2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” This text predicts that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, which was a rather insignificant city.
Matthew 2:1 ” Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king.” Just like Micah said, Jesus was born in Bethlehem!
3. Entered Jerusalem on a donkey and was welcomed by crowds:
Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” This text predicts that Jesus would enter Jerusalem on a donkey, and that they would rejoice greatly as He comes.
Luke 19:35-37 ” And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen.”
Yes, I realize that Jesus had some control of whether or not this prophecy would be fulfilled. It is still worth noting, however, that the crowd welcomed him so joyously. That part no mere human could guarantee. Perhaps plenty of people have ridden donkeys into Jerusalem, but who else has been welcomed like that?
4. Was killed and had his garments claimed by casting of lots:
Psalm 22:16-18 “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Matthew 27:35 “And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.”
5. The details of Jesus’ death
If you read Isaiah 53, you will know immediately that it is about Jesus. I have done informal surveys on college campuses, and I’d estimate that 90% of people know that Isaiah 53 is about Jesus, even though it contains no mention of his name and was written 800 years before he lived! Here are some of the specific parallels that jump out to me. Many more could be mentioned.
How in the world could Jesus’ life be pre-recorded? There must be a God who has spoken, and He has announced what was to come before it happened, in order that we might know it was truly from God.
Fulfilled Prophecy: Conclusion
This is why Blaise Pascal said “The most weighty proofs of Jesus are the prophecies.” He continues:
If a single man had written a book foretelling the time and manner of Jesus’s coming and Jesus had come in conformity with these prophecies, this would carry infinite weight. But there is much more here. There is a succession of men over a period of 4,000 years, coming consistently and invariably one after the other, to foretell the same coming; there is an entire people proclaiming it, existing for 4,000 years to testify in a body to the certainty they feel about it, from which they cannot be deflected by whatever threats and persecutions they may suffer. This is of a quite different order of importance.