By Hector M. Earle
Our heavenly father inspired His prophets to write about the future of his son hundreds of years before the events came to pass.
The suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was prophesied hundreds of years before it happened by men moved by the Holy Spirit to warn people of this divine and traumatic event that changed the world forever.
There are many prophecies in the Old Testament that foretell the betrayal and suffering of Christ long before He came to this earth as our savior. Ten prophecies are worth noting since they depict the graphic details of what would happen to our savior, who suffered beyond our imagination and died the most punishing death for the sins of the world.
The following is a brief description and a sure testimony of the accuracy of God’s word.
Jesus’ death would be a form of crucifixion
“They pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16 KJV throughout unless noted). This statement was written some one thousand years before the event was fulfilled (John 20: 25,27). It is interesting to note that this prophecy described a form of execution that would not even come into practice until some 800 years later when the Romans adopted this form of punishment on condemned criminals (New World Encyclopedia – crucifixion, 2013).
They would pierce his body
“They will look on me who they pierce” (Zechariah 12:10). Later in the New Testament John tells us of the soldier who pierced his side with a spear and immediately blood and water came rushing out (John 19:34). Notice too that John tells us that he witnessed the event (verse 35) and this was a fulfillment of that prophecy. “And again, another scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they pierced” (verse 37).
His bones would not be broken
“He guards all his bones: not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:20). Again, John writes: “Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw he was already dead, they did not break his legs’ (John 19:32-33).
They would cast lots for his clothing
“They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” (Psalm 22:18). John tells us too that this prophecy was fulfilled. “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.” (John 19: 23-24).
He would pray for those who condemned him
…”And he bore the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). In Luke 23:34, he writes: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
He would be treated like a criminal
“…And he was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Matthew 27:38 tells us that “two robbers were crucified with Him, one on his right and one on his left.”
He would be silent and not retaliate
“He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers in silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). Again, in the gospel of Matthew it reads: “While he was being accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing” (Matt 27:12). Even the governors marveled greatly when he remained silent (verse 14).
He would be forsaken and rejected by his closest followers
“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered” (Zechariah 13:7). When Jesus was arrested all his disciples forsook him and fled (Mark 14:51).
He would be betrayed by one of his disciples
In Psalm 41:9 we read: “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Jesus proclaims this prophecy when he gave Judas the piece of bread in John 13:18, and :26.
The price of betrayal would be thirty pieces of silver.
The amount paid to Judas when he betrayed his master in Matthew 26: 14-15, is understood to have be prophesied in Zechariah 11:12 where it reads: “So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.”
Our heavenly father who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and can control all things, inspired His prophets to write about the future of his son hundreds of years before the events came to pass. It’s no wonder then that the apostle Peter proclaimed: “But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.” (Acts 3:18 ESV).
God knew even before the foundation of the world that His son would have to come to earth (1 Peter 1:20). And he made all this happen so that we would have evidence on which to base our belief in the only begotten of the father ‘full of grace and truth.” Aren’t you glad He came?
New World Encyclopedia (Crucifixion) 2013
Biblical Archeology Society
Jesus Christ – The Real Story (United Church of God) “Prophecies Surrounding Jesus Betrayal”
-Hector M. Earle is a retired Canadian teacher/principal and spent 34 years teaching in Newfoundland and Alberta. He is the author of three published novels and now lives in Stoneville, NL, Canada