Q. I saw the film “The Passion of Christ.” For the first time I could understand the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Afterward, a friend told me that everything that happened to Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy and that there were thousands of prophecies predicting his suffering the in the Old Testament. Is this true? If it is would you help me to find these prophecies in the Bible?
It is true. There are thousands of passages in the Old Testament which foretell the coming of the Messiah. There are hundreds of passages which deal with the specifics of his suffering. Probably the best known passage on this subject is Isaiah chapter fifty-three:
1* Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4* Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
10* But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
Since there are literally hundreds of prophecies found in the Old Testament dealing with the Messiah we simply cannot give time to them all, but I have selected a few, which all occured in a twenty-four hour period. Prophecy states that the Messiah would be:
1. Sold for 30 pieces of silver. (Zech 11:12 & Matthew 26:14–15)
2. Betrayed by a friend. (Psalm 41:9, 55:12–14 & Matthew 26:47–50)
3. Money to go to a potter. (Zech 11:13 & Matthew 27:3–10)
4. Disciples to forsake Christ. (Zech 13:7 & Mark 14:27)
5. Accused by false witnesses. (Psalm 35:11, 109:2 & Matthew 26:67)
6. Jesus to be smitten and spat upon. (Isaiah 50:6 & Matthew 26:67)
7. Silent before accusers. (Isaiah 53:7 & Matthew 27:12–14)
8. Wounded and bruised, stripped. (Isaiah 53:5 & Matthew 27:26)
9. Strength to fail. (Psalm 109:24–25 & John 19:17 & Luke 23:26)
10. Hands and feet to be pierced. (Psalm 22:16 & Luke 23:33 & John 20:25–27)
11. Crucified with thieves. (Isaiah 53:12 & Mark 15:27–28)
12. Prayed for persecutors. (Psalm 109:4 & Isaiah 53:12, Luke 23:34)
13. Scorned and ridiculed. (Psalm 22:7–8 & Matthew 27:39–43)
14. Staring eyes. (Psalm 22:17 & Luke 23:35)
15. Garments gambled for. (Psalm 22:18 & John 19:24)
16. Cry to God. (Psalm 22:1 & Matthew 27:46)
17. Gall and vinegar. (Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:34 & John 19:29–30)
18. Commits spirit unto God. (Psalm 31:5 & Luke 23:45)
19. Friends to stand afar off. (Psalm 38:11 & Luke 23:49)
20. Bones unbroken. (Exodus 12:45, Psalm 31:5 & I Cor 5:7, John 19:33–36)
21. Side pierced. (Zech 12:10 & John 19:34–37)
22. Heart broken. (Psalm 22:14 & John 19:34)
23. Darkness. (Amos 8:9 & Matthew 27:45)
24. Buried with rich. (Isaiah 53:9 & Matthew 17:57–60)
These 24 prophesies were selected because they were fulfilled in one twenty–four hour period.