If you’ll recall the Christmas story there was an old Godly man named Simeon in Luke chapter 2 who was “eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come.” (Luke 2:25). There were also “Magi”, or “wisemen from the East” who arrived sometime after Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:1). And of course, just before the kickoff of Jesus’ earthly ministry John the Baptist understood that his calling was to prepare the way for the Messiah. Luke 3:15 even goes so far as to say, “Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon,…”
This begs the question. How did people know? Why were so many expecting the Messiah? It was because of the many prophecies foretelling the time frame and conditions for his arrival.
There are 109 separate and distinct prophecies, or over 300 if you include prophecies that are repeated in some form, about the Messiah that were fulfilled at Jesus’ first coming. Specific details regarding the timing, conditions, lineage, and city of his birth; the nature of his life and ministry; the specifics of his death, burial, and resurrection; were all foretold long ago in the Old Testament scriptures. Daniel chapter nine even provided the exact time frame for his first coming!
Studies have been made calculating the probability of these prophecies being fulfilled by one person. Even if four of these prophecies were fulfilled by one person, the probability would be 1 in 10 trillion. The odds of just 48 prophecies being fulfilled by one person is one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion!
Read these two verses and ask yourself who this passage is talking about.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
That was from Isaiah 53:5-6 (NKJV), written eight centuries before Jesus came, yet it may as well have been from John chapter 3. By the way, did you know that death by crucifixion was not invented until around 520 BC but various Old Testament verses give details of Jesus’ crucifixion about 300 years before that?
In Luke chapter 24, after the resurrection, Jesus provides an Old Testament survey overview to a couple of his disciples demonstrating how he fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. In verse 27, we read, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Indeed, Jesus is all over the Old Testament and fulfilled a staggering amount of prophecies at his first coming.