The week that Jesus entered Jerusalem and faced His death on the cross, there were a number of prophecies fulfilled. Seventeen to be exact; all very specific and detailed descriptions of events which would involve Jesus during this last week - the week of His death and resurrection. A review of these prophecies reveals how specific and detailed they were:
1. Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey: Given: Zech. 9:9 -Fulfilled: Matt. 21:5-7
2. Jesus betrayed by friend: Given: Psalm 41:9 - Fulfilled: Mark 14:17-18
3. Jesus betrayed for 30 pieces of silver: Given: Zech. 11:12 - Fulfilled: Matt. 26:14
4. 30 pieces of silver =”Potter’s Field”: Given: Zech. 11:13 – Fulfilled: Matt. 27: 3-5
5. Jesus accused by false witness: Given: Psalm 109:2 – Fulfilled: Matt. 26:59-60
6. Jesus silent before His accusers: Given: Isaiah 53:7 – Fulfilled: Matt. 27:12
7. Jesus beaten and whipped: Given: Isaiah 50:6 – Fulfilled: Matt. 27:26
8. Jesus hands and feet pierced: Given: Psalm 22:16 – Fulfilled: John 19:37; 20:27
9. Peter’s denial of Jesus: Given: Mark 14:30 – Fulfilled: Mark 14:66-72
10. Jesus garments divided: Given: Psalm 22:18 – Fulfilled: John 19:23
11. Jesus mocked as He died: Given: Psalm 22:7-8 – Fulfilled: Matt. 27:39-40
12. Jesus cried out to God on the cross: Given: Psalm 22:1 – Fulfilled: Matt. 27:46
13. Jesus offered vinegar on the cross: Given: Psalm 69:21 – Fulfilled: John 19:28
14. Jesus bones not broken on the cross: Given: Psalm 34:20 – Fulfilled: John 19:32-33
15. Jesus burial in a rich man’s grave: Given: Isaiah 53:9 – Fulfilled: Matt. 27: 57-60
16. Jesus resurrected in 3 days: Given: John 2:19-21 – Fulfilled: Acts 10:40
17. Jesus meets his disciples in Galilee: Given: Matt. 26:32 – Fulfilled: Matt. 28:16
Jesus, and only Jesus could meet the criteria given above. The fulfillment of these prophecies is just one of many reasons that we know that Jesus is who He claimed to be. Our Lord. Our Savior. Our Messiah. Our King of Kings. And He was willing to come to earth, in human form, and die an agonizing, horrific and brutal death, in order to give us eternal life with Him. In Heaven. And all we have to do is believe this - believe that He died for each of us, individually - and then accept this eternal gift. The gift of salvation.
Now to the story of Jesus - His appearances on the third day following death on the cross. Most of us are familiar with Jesus making his presence known to the apostles and to Mary, but a lesser known story is found in Luke's version of the resurrection period.
On the third day, following Jesus' death on the cross, Luke 24 takes us to the road to Emmaus, where "two of them" were going to a village called Emmaus. The scriptures inform us that these two "were talking with each other about everything that has just happened. As they talked and discussed these things Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him." (Luke 24:15)
The passage continues by describing the two as being "downcast" (v.17) because, according to them, Jesus had been "sentenced to death" and "crucified" (v.20). They continued the conversation by saying, "but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel" (v.21). By reading Luke 24:13-24, you quickly get the picture that these two individuals, who are walking back to Emmaus, are "downcast" because of Jesus death, and things didn't go as they had hoped or planned.
Jesus, however clarified matters:
"He said to them, 'How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?' And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself." (Luke 24:25-27).
In other words, Jesus considered them as having been "foolish" for not believing or understanding the many many prophecies that He had fulfilled. Had they understood these prophecies, particularly the scriptures describing Christ's death and resurrection, they would not have given up so easily, nor would they have been so "downcast". By understanding the prophecies, they would have remained in Jerusalem and waited for Jesus to make His glorious appearance.
As we celebrate the amazing gift that Jesus offers everyone by His death and resurrection, we have another reason to celebrate. We look ahead to His promised return.
The same prophets who correctly foretold the amazing array of details concerning Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection, also gave us the prophecies that we watch today; the prophecies that are telling us His return is near.
When Jesus was "taken up", as described in Acts 1:9-11, the angels informed the men:
"'Men of Galilee' they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken away from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
Its a promise. Maranatha! Our Lord Comes.