The King is Here Lesson 01 - The Resume of the King
People are convinced of truth if what is predicted will happen in the future actually comes to pass. Prophets, soothsayers, psychics, and diviners have held court worldwide sharing their foresight, and if the predictions materialized as promised, there was no denying the veracity of the prophecy or the one revealing it. What if there were 456 separate clues regarding a single person that were all being fulfilled by one person . . . would that be convincing? Jesus Christ is that person! He has fulfilled the prophecies of His first coming to prove that He is the Messiah, the true King.
For decades, psychic and astrologer Jean Dixon held center stage as someone who could tell the future. She became a sensation after predicting in the late 1950’s that the president of the United States who won the 1960 election would be assassinated. John F. Kennedy won that election and was assassinated. That prediction catapulted her to fame.
Never mind that she had also predicted that John F. Kennedy would actually lose that presidential race and Richard Nixon would win.
Never mind that throughout her career, time and time again, her predictions would never come true – whether it was her prediction of who antichrist was, when the end of the world would take place, that China would bomb American, or that world peace would sweep the globe in the year 2000.
She became a household name; her horoscope predictions were read by millions, and she was invited to advise world leaders. Late in life she wrote a book on horoscopes for dogs, and she even wrote that cats have ESP. I have always believed that cats have some sort of demonic connection . . . so I’m good with that one.
The question is: who is the expert you are listening to to deliver the news of what is going on in the world around you or, even, what is going to happen in the future? Who is your source?
I love the confidence, although misguided, of the little boy who was riding home with his father, who later wrote about their conversation. The article recorded that as they were heading home from the grocery store, his son asked, “Daddy, do you believe in the Bermuda Triangle?”
His dad replied, “Well, if you’re asking me if I believe in a physical location, yes; but if you’re asking me if I believe in a mystical place where ships and planes disappear into thin air, no, I don’t believe in that.”
His son exclaimed, “Well I believe in it! And do you wanna know why?”
“Yea, son, why?”
“Because I saw it . . . on Scooby Doo.”i
Well, that settles it.
What if someone delivered a series of predictions about the coming Messiah and a yet future Messianic kingdom? Let’s say 456 of them, according to Old Testament scholars, and let’s say that none of the predictions thus far have been proven false, instead every one of them about the Messiah’s first coming have come true, which they have, wouldn’t you start taking notice?
By the way, what was the success rate of a true prophet of God who predicted some future event? One hundred percent! In fact, if you decided to apply to be a prophet of God in the Old Testament, you had to make a prediction that came true; if the prediction did not come to pass you would have been stoned to death by the people. That had a way of limiting the number of applications!
Well, if you combine all the Old Testament predictions about the first coming of the Messiah, His life and ministry, and His crucifixion, death and resurrection, wouldn’t you come to the conclusion that God evidently wants us to know the Messiah’s resume? God wants us to know who the Messiah is? What He is going to do? What He is going to say? What we should look for? You don’t keep a secret by giving 456 clues.
God is essentially saying, “Is anybody awake down there?”
God’s word has delivered to us stunning and specific predictions regarding the resume of His Son, the King, that are related to his birth, his ministry, his betrayal, his suffering, his crucifixion, his atonement, his resurrection, and more.
Let us rehearse some of the clues that pointed to the prophesied King, the Messiah.
The Resume of the King
1. The virgin birth of the Messiah is predicted in the scripture.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
This clue alone is a headline. And 700 years later, when the angel arrived to inform Mary, an engaged-to-be-married teenager, that she was carrying the Messiah, her first question was obviously, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” I mean did I miss something in Phys. Ed?
Luke’s Gospel account records the conversation:
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35).
Jesus is going to be miraculously conceived as the Holy Spirit overshadows Mary’s egg with His divine power, which is crucial because Jesus needs to be fully human but needs to avoid the fallen sin nature of Adam passed down by the male. The virgin birth of Jesus allows Him to avoid being tainted by Adam’s nature and, yet at the same time, be fully and completely human. Thus, he was completely God and completely man. This was possible only through a virgin conception, and this was no small prediction which came true.
2. His birthplace is another prediction that should have set off alarms.
Micah the prophet predicted:
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 (Micah 5:2).
In other words, the birthplace of the future King of Israel will be this politically insignificant town of Bethlehem. The reference to Ephrathah was important because it named the district or region. This would be like referring to the county you reside in. And it was important then because there were more towns than one called Bethlehem. If you told your friend, “Hey let’s meet this summer in London”, they might buy plane tickets and fly to England when you meant London, North Carolina, a couple of hours away.
This is Bethlehem, in the county of Ephratha. It is as if God did not want anybody confused as to which Bethlehem it was and end up in the wrong town.
Also notice the expression on the King’s resume that informs us He is from of old, from ancient days. That’s not a throw-away line in His resume. That expression is used in the Old Testament only of the eternal existence of God. Micah is saying that the King of Israel will have been eternally pre-existent. As strange as it sounded to Micah’s ears, he was essentially saying that the eternally pre-existent God will be born into time and space – in a little town called Bethlehem.
This was the birthplace of King David, now foretold to be the birthplace of the Messiah King. This prediction comes true 740 later as Matthew records:
And (Herod) assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet.” (Matthew 2:4-5).
The word Bethlehem means “House of Bread”. It was no coincidence that in the House of Bread is born the Bread of Life. And beyond that, it was no coincidence that temple shepherds are the first to hear the announcement and come to that stable to worship Him, shepherds keeping watch over flocks of sheep destined to be sacrificed in the temple 5 ½ miles away in Jerusalem. It was no coincidence that Jesus was born in the fields of Bethlehem in an animal stall or shelter destined to be sacrificed as the Lamb of God.
We see Him in the manger scene in famous paintings throughout the centuries surrounded by all kinds of animals, a couple of cows and a donkey, usually kneeling and commonly displaying halos. No animals are mentioned in the texts of scripture. Jesus could just as well have been born in a stable used by shepherds; in fact, they did not seem to have any trouble finding this particular manger. Jesus might very well have been born surrounded by sheep.
3. His forerunner was foretold in scripture.
In another prediction Jesus, the Messiah, would be preceded by a forerunner, someone announcing His appearance.
Isaiah the prophet predicts that the forerunner will be:
A voice crying: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3).
And in John’s Gospel, John the Baptizer, the cousin of Jesus, who will serve as the announcer or the forerunner of Jesus is approached by religious leaders asking who he was and he answered,
I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ (John 1:23).
It was customary in those days for special roads to either be built or existing roads to be repaired in preparation for the processional of a visiting king. They were made “straight” or prepared. In other words, John the Baptizer is saying, “Get ready . . . the King is coming! Prepare the roadway of your heart to receive Him!”
With that, Jesus begins His ministry of miracles and parables, also predicted by the prophets.
4. His entrance into Jerusalem was another indicator.
Three years later, just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey as predicted. The prophet Zechariah prophesied of that day we refer to as Palm Sunday:
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 (Zechariah 9:9).
This is a purebred donkey, born of a female donkey and not a mule, which then qualified it to be a royal mount. In the ancient near east, rulers visited other nations riding into the city on donkeys if they came in peace but riding on horses if they came to fight.
Now keep in mind that Zechariah isn’t writing this text in Jerusalem on the day after Palm Sunday. He is predicting this 500 years before Jesus does this. Zechariah’s prophecy was fulfilled as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. The Gospel writers record that amazing prophecy:
And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written . . . “Behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” (John 12:14-15).
They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him (John 12:13).
And many spread their cloaks on the road (Mark 11:7).
Jesus is essentially announcing to Israel, “Here comes your King.” Did the Jewish people know what was going on with this processional? Were they prepared to coronate Him?
Oh, yes – they waved palm branches before Him! The palm branch was a symbol of nationalistic hope and their belief that the Messiah would bring victory to their nation over Rome.
They threw their cloaks in front of that colt. Their cloak represented their lives; they were saying to Jesus that He had the right to walk all over them or, literally, He had the right to rule their lives.
Eventually, in fact, within a matter of hours, they changed their cry from “Crown Him!” to “Crucify Him!” Their change of heart can only be explained in terms of Satan’s hopes and, at the same time, God’s eternal purposes fulfilled in the atoning death of Christ.
The prophets had predicted the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, which was really the betrayal of Jesus by the nation Israel.
5. The scriptures’ prophesies pronounce His betrayal.
And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12).
What is happening here is that Zechariah served as a protective and caring shepherd for the sheep of Israel. He asks them for payment for having been their shepherd. In this day, 30 pieces of silver was the amount you would pay for a handicapped slave, a slave that had been gored and was nearly worthless. This was an incredible insult to Zechariah.
This will become a prophetic connection with Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who is considered by the sheep of Israel to be as worthless as a handicapped slave.
The religious leaders gave Judas thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15).
This becomes a remarkable prophecy and incredibly specific. The Good Shepherd is considered nothing more worthwhile to the sheep of Israel than a disabled slave.
But that’s not all. Back to Zechariah, in the very next verse, after Zechariah is given 30 pieces of silver by Israel, the Lord tells him,
Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter” – so I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord (the Temple), to/for the potter (Zechariah 11:13).
Watch what happens when Judas goes back to the religious leaders after Jesus is arrested and sentenced to death. Matthew’s Gospel records that these same religious leaders are gathered in the Temple precinct as Judas shows up and confesses,
“I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us?” . . . And throwing down the pieces of silver into the Temple, he departed . . . so they took counsel and bought with the money the potter’s field (Matthew 27:4-7).
Is anybody awake down there?
What about the prophecies of Christ’s crucifixion?
6. His crucifixion was described well ahead of its time.
David prophesied in one of his psalms,
Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet (Psalm 22:16).
David is referring to a scene of execution and suffering he knew nothing of; crucifixion would not be invented until 500 years after he writes this. That would be like someone in the 1500’s before the invention of electricity describing someone being executed in an electric chair. The thought would never cross their mind. This is the miraculous nature of all these prophecies.
In this same psalm of David, he writes prophetically:
They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment (Psalm 22:18).
This never happened to David – but 1,000 years later John’s Gospel records:
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier . . . but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece . . . so they said to one another, “Let us . . . cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things (John 19:23-24).
We will look at one more, though there are numerous other prophecies about the Messiah’s resurrection.
His resurrection and victory over death was expected.
And he will swallow up on this mountain, the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever (Isaiah 25:7-8a).
Referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Paul takes these words from Isaiah and applies them to the victory we have in Christ and our own eternal security in the resurrection power of Christ.
The Apostle Paul writes,
Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? . . . Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 10:54-56).
The victory is over the penalties of sin. The victory is over judgment and death. Eternal life is through God the Son, the King whose resume is of Old Testament prophesies.
Listen, these predictions can be ignored, they can be rejected, but they cannot be refuted and they cannot be disproved.
They came true.
David Greenglass was a spy who gave atomic secrets to the Soviet Union during World War II. He needed a passport to live in hiding in Mexico and was instructed to make his way to Mexico City. When he arrived in Mexico City, in order to be positively identified, he was instructed to do five things:
he was to send a letter to the secretary of the soviet ambassador in Mexico and sign it with the name Jackson
3 days later he was to go to the Plaza de Colon
he was to stand in front of the statue of Columbus
he was to hold a certain guide book in his hand
when approached, he was to say he was visiting from Oklahoma
Those five things were enough to convince his handlers that he was, in fact, David Greenglass.ii And, of course, that would be enough. Nobody is going to be in that particular plaza on that particular day holding that particular guidebook, standing in front of that particular statue while claiming they are from Oklahoma.
Just those five actions for Greenglass to fulfill were enough to prove his identity. And we have covered seven actions related to the identification of the Messiah, seven predictions fulfilled by Jesus. And there are hundreds more.
How many do you need?
How many does anyone really need?
I invite you to join me in declaring with confidence, “Jesus is the Messiah; Jesus is the true King – Jesus is my King!”
ii John Ankerberg and Walter Kaiser Jr., “Specific Prophecies Fulfilled”, https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2005/may/15917.html
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