Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you believe Jesus to be the Son of God and Savior of mankind? Is your belief based on anything concrete or is it merely a belief that has been passed down to you from your parents that you have simply come to accept without ever questioning why? Do you have a faith in Jesus that is a personally held faith? Or, is your faith an “inherited” faith – one that is borrowed from someone else?
These are tough questions that we each need to ask ourselves, because there will come a time when our faith will be tested and if our faith is not our own then it will fail the test. All too often, a young person has grown up “in the church” never having developed their own personal, evidence based, faith in Christ only to have their faith destroyed the first time they set foot in a college classroom. Sadly, this very thing has happened to many a young Christian in our day.
So my challenge to you is this: Take out a pen and paper or word processing software on your computer and write a brief essay “Why I Believe Jesus Is the Messiah.” Print it out, keep it in your Bible, and every time you run across any scripture that supports or strengthens your faith write down the citation on the bottom of your paper – or incorporate it into your essay. This will be a very challenging and thought-provoking exercise that will cause you to really examine yourself and what you believe. I believe that the end result of such a study will help you to develop a faith strong enough meet any test of faith head on. With this thought in mind, here is my essay:
Why I Believe Jesus is the Son of God
The reasons I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of God are numerous. It begins with a belief in the reliability of the Bible, especially the New Testament. The Bible has been tested and tried by skeptics for centuries and no one has ever successfully argued against its accuracy and reliability. It is, without question, the Word of God! So, without going into great detail about the evidence for the Bible’s inspiration, I will examine my faith in Jesus from the scriptures based on three major points: Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, the fulfillment of His own prophecies concerning His death, burial and resurrection and the resurrection itself, including the eye-witness accounts of it recorded in scripture.
Old Testament Prophecy Fulfilled
There are approximately 300 Messianic prophecies fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth – far too many to be examined here! Let’s begin with the prophecies connected with His birth. Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This prophecy is shown to be fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-35. Lk.1:26-27 says, “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Also in Luke’s account the angel appeared to the virgin Mary and told her of her child, “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest…” (Lk. 1:31-32) That it was to be a virgin birth is clearly seen in Lk.1:34-35, “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
Isaiah’s prophecy was intimately connected with God’s promise to Satan made in Genesis 3:15 the “seed” of Eve would destroy his power, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The seed of woman, not man, would triumph over sin and death. Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law…”
Another prophecy concerning His birth is connected with the place of His birth – Bethlehem. Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Lk. 2:4-5 records that Joseph took Mary with him to Bethlehem and that it was there she gave birth to Jesus.
Other Messianic prophecies fulfilled in the person of Christ are connected with His death. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 both describe the crucifixion scene in great detail. Read these two chapters and compare with the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus found in Mat. 27:1-54, Mark 15:1-40, Lk. 23:1-47 and John 19:1-37. Notice Jn. 19:33, 36 “But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs… For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken…” – referencing Psa. 34:20. Also, compare Mat. 27:35, “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” referencing Psa. 22:18. These prophecies and many more like them prove Jesus to be the Messiah.
Jesus’ Own Prophecies Fulfilled
Jesus made several prophecies pointing to His death, burial and resurrection that later came to pass exactly as He had predicted. Notice Mat.16:21, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Also, note Mat. 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Compare these prophecies to what is recorded later in the Gospel accounts. Jesus went to Jerusalem was persecuted by the “elders and chief priests.” He also suffered “many things” such as His beatings and tortures at the hands of the Roman soldiers. He was “killed” by the Roman soldiers when they nailed Him to the cross. He was “raised again the third day.” All of these things and more transpired according to how Jesus predicted they would.
The single most compelling evidence that Jesus is the Son of God was powerfully demonstrated by His resurrection. In Romans 1:4, Jesus is “…declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” It is the power demonstrated in the resurrection that proves indisputably that Jesus IS the Messiah! All of our faith in the Gospel is based upon the fact of the resurrection – it is the corner stone of faith. 1 Corinthians 15:13-14 “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”
The fact that He rose again is proven in several ways. First notice the fact that the chief priests had to bribe the men who had guarded Jesus’ tomb so that they would say that Jesus’ body was stolen.(Mat. 28:11-16). The chief priests had ordered the tomb guarded, the guards had witnessed the resurrection (Mat. 28:2-4), and then they were paid to keep their mouths shut.
The resurrected Savior was witnessed by hundreds of people, beginning with Mary Magdalene in Jn. 20:15-16. Then He appeared to Peter and the other Apostles. (1Cor. 15:5); He was witnessed by a crowd of more than five hundred (1Cor. 15:6); He appeared to James and finally to Paul (1Cor.15:7-8).
The Resurrected Savior was not an illusion or “ghost” – He was real; He had a physical body; He ate with His disciples and they touched Him (Lk. 24:36-43; Jn. 20:25-28). The apostle John records in 1 John 1:1-2, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)”
John and the other apostles witnessed the resurrection, touched the Savior confirmed without a doubt that He was risen.
The apostles witnessed Jesus’ ascension up into Heaven in Lk. 24:51 and Acts 1:9-11 “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
We can see through the fulfillment of prophecy that Jesus is the Messiah – the Son of God and Savior of mankind. We must believe this – our salvation depends upon it! Jn. 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” The resurrection is the key point of the Gospel – it proves without a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah. When we take into account the weight of all the evidence supporting the Messiahship of Jesus we cannot come to any other conclusion than – He is Lord!
We have not even made mention of the signs and miracles that Jesus performed. Jn. 20:30-31 “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Jn. 21:25 “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” Signs that were witnessed by an entire nation. Ac. 2:22 “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:”