To Fulfill the Scriptures

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Way back in August we spent some time studying the fifth chapter of John’s Gospel in which Jesus was quoted as saying to the Jewish religious leaders, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me…”

And after the resurrection when Jesus appeared to the two disciples walking along the road to Emmaus he told them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)

What were these things that the Old Testament scriptures said concerning Jesus? The Old Testament contains over 300 prophecies concerning the coming messiah. Although some of the Gospel writers emphasize the fulfillment of those prophecies to a greater degree than others, they all feature the fulfillment of those prophecies prominently in their efforts to authenticate Jesus as the Savior of the world. It is because of the Old Testament that we believe in the Jesus we encounter in the New Testament.

As we come to the nineteenth chapter of John, our eyewitness guide to the life and ministry of Jesus points out a number of things that happened at the crucifixion, but more than what happened he explains also why they happened:

“This was to fulfill the Scripture…” (John 19:24)

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” (John 19:28)

For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” (John 19:36-37)

We’ll be spending this message and the next in John 19. We’ll be studying the meaning of the prophecies concerning the messiah and the role of Old Testament prophecy in authenticating Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah. Next week we’ll study some of the things that Jesus said from the cross.