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Was Jesus the Messiah?

How do we know that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah?

Today, most Jewish people are still awaiting the arrival of the Messiah or “Meshiach.” How do we know that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jewish people?

What is the evidence that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah?

The Hebrew Bible describes the Messiah in great detail.  These writings contain specific information about his lineage, the place of his birth, and other identifying characteristics.  

1. Lineage

Prophecies:

The Messiah will be from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10)

The Messiah will come from the lineage of King David (2 Samuel 7:12-16)

The Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem. (See Micah 5:2)

Fulfilment:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem…

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied…

– Holy Bible: Matthew 2:1,3-5

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

– Holy Bible: Luke 2:4-7

Why is this significant?

Proof of such lineage was destroyed when the Temple was destroyed. Now nobody can claim this prophecy. And while we do not have the Temple records, we do have the record of Jesus’ family tree in the accounts of his life by both Luke and Matthew. 

We don’t know anyone else who lived at that time and claimed to be the Messiah, who is descended from the tribe of Judah and the house of David, apart from Jesus.

2. Preceded by Elijah, the “voice calling from the wilderness”

Prophecies:

See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.

– Holy Bible: Malachi 4:5

A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

– Holy Bible: Isaiah 40:3

Fulfilment: 

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness,‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

– Holy Bible: Matthew 3:1-3

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

– Holy Bible: John 1:23 

In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel told Zachariah he would have a son who would go forth as Elijah. Then Jesus confirmed this was John.

The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

– Holy Bible: Matthew 17:10-13

3. The Messiah will establish a covenant

Prophecy:

The days are coming,” declares the Lord,“when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt…

– Holy Bible: Jeremiah 31:31-32

Fulfilment:

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

– Holy Bible: Matthew 26:28

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

– Holy Bible: Luke 22:20

4. The Messiah will Come When a Temple is Built:

Prophecy:

I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

– Holy Bible: Malachi 3:1

Fulfilment:

Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. 

– Holy Bible: Luke 21:37-38

Jesus came before the temple was destroyed, so he already fulfilled that sign. 

Daniel 9:24-27 says that Messiah, the Anointed One, will be “cut off,” or killed, before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, therefore Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. 

Jesus claimed to be the Messiah

In addition to the many proofs which Jesus came with, he also claimed to be the Messiah in the Bible.  In one story, when Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman, he reveals to her that he is the Messiah. 

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

– Holy Bible: John 4:19-26

Jesus’ disciples, companions and followers were all Jewish and acknowledged him as the Messiah for their people. The disciples of Jesus were so certain they went to their deaths preaching that Jesus was the Messiah. The question then becomes, if Jesus fulfilled so many prophecies about the Messiah, why didn’t all of the Jewish people accept him as such?

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