We are familiar with Hollywood’s hype and the careful cultivation of anticipation by Apple for their latest gadget. Some of us even remember the eager anticipation and excitement surrounding the wedding of Charles and Diana. The magnificence and pomp and ceremony of the royal wedding had much of the world riveted to their TV screens on July 29, 1981. There had been a massive build up to the wedding, the media reported every detail they could discover about the preparations and plans, whether fact or rumour.
A similar sense of anticipation existed in Palestine around A.D. 30. The Jewish Scriptures were replete with prophecies anticipating the messiah (Christ) and the nation was desperate for a leader who would overthrow the Roman tyranny and lead them into the glorious promised inheritance.
So, when the camel-hair-clad, locust-and-honey-eating, wild prophet John burst onto the scene and was confronted with the question, “who are you?” He knew they were expecting the messiah (John 1:19-27). John told the people bluntly that he was just the herald, then when he did meet Jesus he told everyone who would listen who Jesus really was (John 1:29-36).
Our witness to the identity of Jesus is a bit more difficult due to the fact we don’t have a physical, walking, talking man to point to when we say, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” What we do have is actually superior — the risen and glorified Lamb of God. It requires faith to behold Him, but we still need to tell people who it is they are confronted with.
A few of the prophecies anticipating the messiah:
- Genesis 12:2, see Matthew 1:1 and Galatians 3:16
- Genesis 49:10, see Matthew 1:2
- 2 Samuel 7:12-16, see Matthew 1:1
- Isaiah 7:14, see Matthew 1:23
- Micah 5:2, see Matthew 2:6
- Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1, see Matthew 3:3
- Numbers 24:17 and Psalm 2:6, see Matthew 21:5
- Deuteronomy 18:15-18, see Acts 3:22-23
- Psalm 110:4, see Hebrews 5:6-10
- Psalm 22:1, see Matthew 27:46
- Psalm 22:7-8, see Matthew 27:39; 43
- Psalm 22:16, see John 20:25
- Psalm 22:17, see John 19:33-36
- Psalm 22:18, see John 19:24
- Psalm 22:24, see Matthew 26:39 and Hebrews 5:7
- Isaiah 52:14, see John 19:1
- Isaiah 53:5, see John 19:1; 18
- Psalm 16:10 and Psalm 22:22, see Matthew 28:6 and Acts 2:27-28
- Psalm 68:18, see Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:9-11