They Found the Messiah!

THEME SCRIPTURE

“We have found the Messiah.”​—JOHN 1:41.

1. What happened before Andrew made the announcement: “We have found the Messiah”?

JOHN THE BAPTIST is with two of his disciples. As Jesus walks toward them, John says: “See, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples of John the Baptist, Andrew and John, immediately follow Jesus and stay with him the rest of that day. Later, Andrew goes to find his brother, Simon Peter, and makes this very exciting announcement: “We have found the Messiah.” Andrew then takes Peter to see Jesus.​—John 1:35-41.

2. How will our study of the prophecies about the Messiah help us?

2 As time passes, Andrew, Peter, and others will carefully study the Scriptures and will say without any doubt that Jesus is the promised Messiah. We will now study some more prophecies in the Bible that prove who the Messiah is. This will help us have stronger faith in the Bible and in the one whom Jehovah chose to be the Messiah.

“LOOK! YOUR KING IS COMING”

3. What prophecies came true when Jesus entered Jerusalem as a king?

3 The Messiah would enter Jerusalem as a king. Zechariah’s prophecy said: “Be very joyful, O daughter of Zion. Shout in triumph, O daughter of  Jerusalem. Look! Your king himself comes to you. He is righteous, yes, saved; humble, and riding upon an ass, even upon a full-grown animal the son of a she-ass.” (Zechariah 9:9) One Bible writer said: “Blessed be the One coming in the name of Jehovah.” (Psalm 118:26) A large crowd shouted with great joy as Jesus entered Jerusalem. Jesus did not tell the crowd what to do. But they did exactly as the prophecy said. As you read the Bible verses that describe the scene, imagine that you are there and that you can hear the happy voices of the crowd.​—Read Matthew 21:4-9.

4. How did Psalm 118:22, 23 come true?

4 Jesus is precious to God, even though many people would not accept him as the Messiah. As the prophecies said, many people hated Jesus and thought that he was of no account, or of no value. These people did not have faith. (Isaiah 53:3; Mark 9:12) But the Bible says: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. This has come to be from Jehovah himself.” (Psalm 118:22, 23) Once, Jesus spoke about this prophecy when he was talking to his religious enemies. And Peter said that this prophecy was about Jesus and the congregation. He compared the congregation to a building. A building has one cornerstone, or one main stone, in its foundation. In the same way, Jesus was the main stone in the foundation of the Christian congregation. Men without faith did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, but he is “chosen, precious, with God.”​—1 Peter 2:4-6; Mark 12:10, 11; Acts 4:8-11.

ONE DISCIPLE BETRAYS HIM AND THE OTHERS ABANDON HIM

5, 6. What did the prophecies say about the Messiah’s betrayal? How did they come true?

5 Someone who seemed to be the Messiah’s friend would betray him. David prophesied: “The man at peace with me, in whom I trusted, who was eating my bread, has magnified his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9) In Bible times, it was an act of friendship to eat bread together. (Genesis 31:54) So the prophecy meant that someone who was a friend of the Messiah would do something terrible. He would betray the Messiah! Jesus talked about this person when he said to his apostles: “I am not talking about all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But it is in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, ‘He that used to feed on my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’” (John 13:18) Jesus was talking about Judas Iscariot, who was a follower and a friend of Jesus. When he betrayed Jesus, David’s prophecy came true.

6 The one who betrayed the Messiah would betray him for 30 pieces of silver, that is, the price paid for a slave! Matthew said that Judas betrayed Jesus for only 30 pieces of silver and that this fulfilled the prophecy at Zechariah 11:12, 13. But Matthew says that what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled. Why does he say Jeremiah if the prophecy is in the book of Zechariah? In Matthew’s day the book of Jeremiah  may have appeared first in a group of books that included Zechariah. Judas did not spend those 30 pieces of silver. He threw the money into the temple and “went off and hanged himself.”​—Matthew 26:14-16; 27:3-10.

7. How did Zechariah 13:7 come true?

7 The Messiah’s disciples would leave him. Zechariah wrote: “Strike the shepherd, and let those of the flock be scattered.” (Zechariah 13:7) On Nisan 14 of the year 33, Jesus told his disciples: “All of you will be stumbled in connection with me on this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered about.’” And that is exactly what happened. Matthew said that all the disciples abandoned Jesus and fled.​—Matthew 26:31, 56.

SOME WOULD ACCUSE AND BEAT HIM

8. How did Isaiah 53:8 come true?

8 People would take the Messiah to court and condemn him to death. (Read Isaiah 53:8.) On the morning of Nisan 14, all the members of the Sanhedrin Court gathered together. They tied Jesus with ropes and took him to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate questioned Jesus and said that Jesus had done nothing wrong. But when Pilate asked the crowd if they wanted him to free Jesus, the crowd shouted: “Impale him!” They said that they wanted Pilate to free Barabbas, a criminal, instead of Jesus. Because Pilate wanted to please the crowd, he freed Barabbas. Then he ordered his men to beat Jesus with a whip and to hang him on a stake.​—Mark 15:1-15.

9. How did Psalm 35:11 come true in Jesus’ time?

9 There would be false witnesses against the Messiah. David wrote: “Violent witnesses rise up; what I have not known they ask me.” (Psalm 35:11) Exactly as the prophecy said, “the chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin were looking for false witness against Jesus in order to put him to death.” (Matthew 26:59) The Bible says that many, indeed, were giving false witness against him, but their testimonies were not in agreement. (Mark 14:56) The enemies of Jesus did not care that the witnesses were telling lies about him. They just wanted Jesus dead.

10. How did Isaiah 53:7 come true?

10 The Messiah would not answer those who accused him. Isaiah prophesied: “He was hard pressed, and he was letting himself be afflicted; yet he would not open his mouth. He was being brought just like a sheep to the slaughtering; and like a ewe that before her shearers has become mute, he also would not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) While Jesus “was being accused by the chief priests and older men, he made no answer.” Pilate asked: “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?” But Jesus “did not answer him, no, not a word, so that the governor wondered very much.” (Matthew 27:12-14) Jesus did not insult his enemies.​—Romans 12:17-21; 1 Peter 2:23.

11. How did Isaiah 50:6 and Micah 5:1 come true?

11 Isaiah prophesied that they would beat the Messiah. Isaiah wrote: “My back I gave to the strikers, and my cheeks to those plucking off the hair.  My face I did not conceal from humiliating things and spit.” (Isaiah 50:6) Micah prophesied: “With the rod they will strike upon the cheek the judge of Israel.” (Micah 5:1) Mark showed that these prophecies were about Jesus. Mark wrote: “Some started to spit on him and to cover his whole face and hit him with their fists and say to him: ‘Prophesy!’ And, slapping him in the face, the court attendants took him.” Mark said that soldiers would hit him on the head with a reed and spit upon him, and bending their knees, they would do obeisance to him. (Mark 14:65; 15:19) Of course, there was no reason for those people to treat Jesus that way.

HE WAS LOYAL TO GOD UNTIL DEATH

12. How did Psalm 22:16 come true? How did Isaiah 53:12 come true?

12 The Messiah would die on a stake. David said: “The assembly of evildoers themselves have enclosed me. Like a lion they are at my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22:16) As Bible readers know and as Mark tells us in his Gospel, this prophecy came true. Mark wrote that they impaled Jesus about nine o’clock in the morning. They nailed his hands and his feet to a stake. (Mark 15:25) Another prophecy said that the Messiah would die with sinners. Isaiah wrote: “He poured out his soul to the very death, and it was with the transgressors that he was counted in.” (Isaiah 53:12) This came true when “two robbers were impaled with him, one on his right and one on his left.”​—Matthew 27:38.

13. How did Psalm 22:7, 8 come true?

13 David prophesied that people would insult the Messiah. (Read Psalm 22:7, 8.) People insulted Jesus while he was suffering on the stake. Matthew tells us: “The passersby began speaking abusively of him, wagging their heads and saying: ‘O you would-be thrower-down of the temple and builder of it in three days, save yourself! If you are a son of God, come down off the torture stake!’” The chief priests, scribes, and older men made fun of him and said: “Others he saved; himself he cannot save! He is King of Israel; let him now come down off the torture stake and we will believe on him. He has put his trust in God; let Him now rescue him if He wants him, for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” (Matthew 27:39-43) Jesus suffered, but he remained calm and never said anything wrong. He is a very good example for us.

14, 15. Some prophecies talked about the Messiah’s clothing and that he would be given vinegar to drink. How did they come true?

14 They would cast lots to take the Messiah’s clothes. David wrote: “They apportion my garments among themselves, and upon my clothing they cast lots.” (Psalm 22:18) That is exactly what happened. The Bible says that after the Roman soldiers put Jesus on the stake, they distributed his outer garments by  casting lots.​—Matthew 27:35; read John 19:23, 24.

15 They would give the Messiah vinegar and bitter gall to drink. The prophecy says: “But for food they gave me a poisonous plant, and for my thirst they tried to make me drink vinegar.” (Psalm 69:21) We know that this prophecy came true because Matthew tells us: “They gave him wine mixed with gall to drink; but, after tasting it, he refused to drink.” And later, “one of them ran and took a sponge and soaked it with sour wine and put it on a reed and went giving him a drink.”​—Matthew 27:34, 48.

16. How did Psalm 22:1 come true?

16 It would seem that God had left the Messiah. (Read Psalm 22:1.) Mark tells us that at the ninth hour, Jesus called out with a loud voice: “‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ which means, when translated: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:34) When Jesus said that God had left him, he did not say this because he had lost faith in his Father. He knew that God would not protect him from his enemies at the time of his death. This was an opportunity for Jesus to show that he would always be loyal to God. When Jesus said with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” the prophecy at Psalm 22:1 came true.

17. How did Zechariah 12:10 and Psalm 34:20 come true?

17 Enemies would stab the Messiah. They would not break his bones. Zechariah said that the people of Jerusalem would look to the One whom they pierced through. (Zechariah 12:10) And Psalm 34:20 says that God “is guarding all the bones of that one; not one of them  has been broken.” The apostle John said that these prophecies came true. John wrote: “One of the soldiers jabbed his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he that has seen it has borne witness, and his witness is true.” John also wrote: “These things took place in order for the scripture to be fulfilled: ‘Not a bone of his will be crushed.’ And, again, a different scripture says: ‘They will look to the One whom they pierced.’”​—John 19:33-37.

18. The prophecy said that Jesus would be buried among the graves of rich people. How did that prophecy come true?

18 The Messiah’s burial place would be among the graves of rich people. (Read Isaiah 53:5, 8, 9.) Late in the afternoon of Nisan 14, “a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph,” asked Pilate if he could take Jesus’ body. Joseph wanted to bury him, and Pilate agreed. Matthew tells us: “Joseph took the body, wrapped it up in clean fine linen, and laid it in his new memorial tomb, which he had quarried in the rock-mass. And, after rolling a big stone to the door of the memorial tomb, he left.”​—Matthew 27:57-60.

PRAISE THE MESSIAH, OUR KING!

19. How did the prophecy at Psalm 16:10 come true?

19 Jehovah would resurrect the Messiah. David wrote: “You will not leave my soul in Sheol,” that is, in the grave. (Psalm 16:10) On Nisan 16, some women came to the tomb where Jesus was buried. Imagine their surprise when they saw an angel sitting inside the tomb! The angel said to the women: “Stop being stunned. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was impaled. He was raised up, he is not here. See! The place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6) Later, on the day of Pentecost of the year 33, the apostle Peter talked to a large group of people in Jerusalem about David’s prophecy in Psalm 16. He said about David: “He saw beforehand and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Hades nor did his flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:29-31) God did not allow the body of his dear Son to decay. And Jehovah did something even more wonderful. He resurrected Jesus to life in heaven!​—1 Peter 3:18.

20. What do the prophecies say about the Messiah’s rule?

20 God would announce that Jesus is his Son. (Read Psalm 2:7; Matthew 3:17.) When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds praised him and his Kingdom. Today, we also praise Jesus. We are happy to tell others about him and his Kingdom. (Mark 11:7-10) Soon, Christ will destroy his enemies when he rides “in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness.” (Psalm 2:8, 9; 45:1-6) Then he will rule over the whole earth. All will live in peace and have what they need. (Psalm 72:1, 3, 12, 16; Isaiah 9:6, 7) Jehovah’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ, already rules as King in heaven. It is a great honor to be Witnesses of Jehovah and to tell others about these truths!

SOME WORDS EXPLAINED

Sanhedrin: The Jewish high court

Cast lots: This was a way to decide a question. Lots, or small pieces of wood or stone, were marked and then thrown on the ground or shaken in a container. A decision was made based on how the lots fell or on which lot was pulled out

WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER?

▪ How did the prophecies about Jesus’ being betrayed and abandoned come true?

▪ How did the prophecies about Jesus’ death come true?

▪ Why are you sure that Jesus is the Messiah?

[Study Questions]

[Blurb on page 12]

Our study of the prophecies about the Messiah helps us have stronger faith

[Picture on page 9]

What prophecies were fulfilled when Jesus entered Jerusalem as a king?

[Pictures on page 13]

Jesus died for our sins, but now he rules as King