Isaiah 53 is #1 for a couple of reasons. First almost every line has a fulfillment – some in very specific details. Secondly, Isaiah 53 is precious to us because it foretells Jesus death on the cross.
The chapter tells about Jesus’ humble beginnings, His rejection by the people, His suffering for the sins of others, His innocence, His passive nature as He suffered, how His death would provide atonement for sin, and His resurrection and ultimate victory.
Some specific details include Jesus being buried in a rich man’s tomb (9) being crucified with criminals (12), praying for those who crucified Him (12).
It is truly an amazing prophecy and it deals with the most precious truth for sinful mankind: Jesus died for our sins!
What else do you see in Isaiah 53?
The #4 Most Powerful Bible Prophecy is Exodus 12:46.
When you read Exodus 12:46 your first reaction might be, “that doesn’t sound like a prophecy!” and you would be right. These are the Passover meal instructions God gave to Moses the night of the Exodus from Egypt. Concerning the preparation of the Passover Lamb, He said “you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.”
Was it a prophecy? The Apostle John claimed (John 19:36) that Jesus fulfilled the Exodus passage when He died on the cross. We know now that the Passover Lamb of the Exodus was a foreshadowing of Jesus. Jesus is “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, see also 1 Corinthians 5:7).
Here is how it happened: After the crucifixion the Jews were in a hurry to get the body of Jesus off the cross before the Sabbath. Soldiers were sent to be sure the three who were crucified were dead so they could be buried. The two thieves crucified with Jesus were not dead so their leg bones were broken to hasten their death. John tells us that Jesus was already dead and that the soldiers therefore did not break His legs but they did pierce His side.
John 19:36 says this actually fulfilled two prophecies. In addition to not one of His bones being broken, he was to be pierced. “They will look on Me whom they pierced” is from Zechariah 12:10, a passage rich in Messianic references. (See 9:9-10, 13:1, 7).
Consider how amazing the fulfillment of both of these prophecies are: The soldiers did not pierce the side of the thieves but they did break their bones. They did pierce the side of Jesus but did not break His bones.
The soldiers certainly did not know it but in fact they were fulfilling Old Testament prophecy by their actions!
The #5 Most Powerful Bible Prophecy is Psalm 22.
It has been said that Psalm 22 sounds like it was written by someone sitting at the foot of the cross. The chapter begins with the words Jesus cried as His death drew near: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”
There are several direct references to events at Calvary (see verses 7 and 8) but there are two parts in particular that have amazing, detailed fulfillment:
In verse 16 it says “they pierced My hands and My feet”, a reference to crucifixion. This is powerful because the Jews of David’s day did not crucify criminals, they stoned them! The Persians introduced crucifixion and the Romans perfected it as a method of capital punishment.
Consider also verse 18: “they divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots”. The amazing thing about this is that when the soldiers disbursed the garments of Jesus they divided one of His garments, but cast lots for the other (John 19:23-24). One garment was divided into four parts, one part for each soldier, fulfilling the first part of the prophecy. They did not want to tear the tunic so they cast lots for it to see whose it would be, fulfilling the second part!
Psalm 22 was not written by someone at the foot of the cross but by David 1000 years before Jesus lived! How did He know?
In order to hasten death and have the bodies off the cross before sunset (the beginning of the Sabbath) the Jews ask Pilate to break the legs of the men being crucified. This is done to the two thieves but Jesus had already died. To confirm his death Jesus body is pierce with a sword and blood and water come out.
John 19:36-37 tells us this incident fulfilled two prophecies – one stating that Jesus would be pierced (which He was) and the other said that none of His bones would be broken (the two thieves bones were broken but not Jesus).
Research the prophecy, “None of His bones will be broken”. Where in the Old Testament is it found? How does it refer to Jesus?
Some amazing natural and supernatural things happened when Jesus died on the cross. In addition to the darkness the final 3 hours of his life, the text says when He died there was an earthquake. the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and graves were opened. The Roman Centurion over the crucifixion saw these things and confessed that Jesus was the Son of God.
When did the saints who were raised come out of their graves and appear?
What happened in the temple and why is this significant?
Matthew tells us there was three hours of darkness (in the middle of the day) as Jesus suffered and finally died on the cross. The text says he “yielded up His spirit” which describes physical death. (Remember James 2:26 which says “the body without the spirit is dead”.
That this was more than just a physical death is indicated by Jesus crying out “My God My God why have You forsaken me?”. God does not forsake the righteous when they die (Romans 8:38-39) so this may refer to Jesus bearing the sins of the world and as a result experiencing separation from the Holy Father in heaven.
Question: Jesus last words were “it is finished” (John 19:30). What was finished?
Yesterday we read about the mocking Jesus endured as He was hanging on the cross and read that even the thieves being crucified with Him joined in the ridicule. Today Luke’s account tells us that one of the thieves had a change of heart. He asks Jesus to save him and by that change of heart, confession, and request, he was promised a place in paradise.
Look closely at the penitent thief’s confession. How does it show a genuine of faith?
Today’s reading lists three different groups who joined in the mocking of Jesus as he hung on the cross: (1) those passing by, (2) the chief priests, scribes, and elders, and (3) the robbers who were crucified with Him.
Jesus restraint in the face of such blasphemous ridicule is impressive. Consider carefully the meaning of some of the things being said about Jesus. Which were the most blasphemous? Which could be the most hurtful?
Some time into the crucifixion Jesus is able to see his mother (and other women and John) nearby and He asks John to care for her as if she were his own mother.
What does it say about these four women and John, that they were near the cross? What does it say about Jesus that He thought of His mother as he was dying on the cross?
Today we look at John’s account of the crucifixion which reveals a few more details.
Concerning the inscription, the Jews object to the words “The king of the Jew” and would rather it it say “He said I am the king of the Jews”. Pilate refuses to make the change.
John also gives more details about how the soldiers dealt with the garments of Jesus and how this fulfilled Psalms 22.
The Jews requested a change in the in the inscription. Why did they want to change the words? Why do you think Pilate refused?