The Essential Purposes for Christ’s First Coming
The heavenly Father and the Son, also called the Word, are both God (John 1:1). They planned “before the foundation of the world” that the Word would one day temporarily give up His glory and power in heaven, be born as a human being and set a perfect example for mankind of how to live a godly life (1 Peter 1:20; John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 John 2:4-6).
Jesus Christ revealed God’s amazing plan for enabling mankind to receive eternal life as children in the Kingdom of God (Romans 8:14-17). Jesus, as God in the flesh, then allowed Himself to be killed in order to pay the penalty of sin for all (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-10).
His resurrection and return to His former glory in heaven were the final proofs that He was God and had become mankind’s Mediator, Lord and Savior (1 Timothy 2:5; Acts 5:30-31; 2 Peter 1:11). In fact, the entire Bible points directly and indirectly to the past, present and future work of Jesus Christ.
Let’s now take note of several important prophecies and their fulfillments.
Was the Messiah to be a descendant of King David?
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.”
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham…
Note that Jesse, mentioned in Isaiah 11:1, was the father of Israel’s greatest king, David. During Jesus’ ministry, some people quickly became convinced that He was the promised “son of David.” Then during Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem several days before He was crucified, “the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!'” (Matthew 21:9).
Was the Messiah to come from Bethlehem?
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem…
There were two Bethlehems, one in the region of Ephrathah in Judea and the other to the north, in the region of the biblical tribe of Zebulun. But Micah’s prophecy is clear. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea as Micah foretold.
Would the Messiah be born of a virgin mother?
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
An angel appeared first to Mary to tell her that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. The angel appeared later to Joseph to explain to him that Mary’s conception was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Matthew 1:20-23).
Did the biblical sacrifices point prophetically to Jesus’ sacrifice?
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…
The book of Hebrews explains how the animal sacrifices and temple rituals required of ancient Israel were a physical type of the perfect sacrifice of Christ. They pointed to the future “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The sacrifice of the lamb for Passover dramatically pointed to “Christ, our Passover [who] was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). As a fulfillment of prophecy, Jesus died on the very day of Passover. The lamb’s blood on the doorposts of the Israelites’ houses symbolized the shed blood of Christ who died so we can be forgiven and saved (Romans 5:9).
Would the Messiah be crucified?
For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet.
And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
John 20:25, 27
The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”…
Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
Crucifixion is the only form of execution likely to cause a piercing of hands and feet. Yet amazingly, this prophecy was stated about 800 years before the Romans started using crucifixion for condemned criminals!
Would any of the Messiah’s bones be broken?
He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken.
John 19:32-33, 36
But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs…
For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.”
In spite of all the brutal and cruel torment that Jesus received, God made sure that none of His bones were broken in order to fulfill this prophecy!
Would the Messiah be betrayed by a trusted friend for 30 pieces of silver?
Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
When Jesus indicated it was Judas Iscariot who would betray Him, He said this was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Psalm 41:9 (John 13:18, 26). And Judas was indeed paid 30 pieces of silver for his traitorous act (Matthew 26:14-15).
In fact, no fewer than 29 prophecies were fulfilled in the 24-hour period leading up to Jesus’ death. In a sermon by the apostle Peter, he said, “But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18).