Introduction to Jesus Christ in the Scriptures
By V Rev. George Gray
A look at the prophecies of the Christ and their fullfillment in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for teens and young adults
This guide is intended to serve as a "map" to help us find our way through some of the New Testament. Every map has a specific way of presenting information. Some maps show political boundaries. Other maps show physical characteristics such as mountains and valleys. Still others indicate what natural resources can be found in any given locale.
This "map" is intended to help you see the connection between many of the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah (i.e., the anointed one of God) and how they have been fulfilled by Jesus Christ (the word "Christ" is from the Greek, meaning anointed) as recorded in the New Testament.
As an Orthodox Christian, the Old Testament and the New Testament are not just books. They are your history with God. The stories they contain are your stories. The people they speak of are your ancestors.
The message they contain respond to your concerns. They are your Scriptures.
Let's begin by reading a lesson we hear at the Divine Liturgy on Tuesday of Bright Week (and also at Sunday Matins, Gospel selection # 5):
13: That very day two of them were going to a village named Emma'us, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14: and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15: While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16: But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17: And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. 18: Then one of them, named Cle'opas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" 19: And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20: and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21: But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. 22: Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning 23: and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24: Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see." 25: And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26: Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 27: And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28: So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, 29: but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. 30: When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. 31: And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32: They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" 33: And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, 34: who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" 35: Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
This passage tells us that the Lord Jesus discussed with Luke and Cleopas all the Old Testament scriptures of the law and the Prophets that concerned Himself. But just what are these?
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of the Old Testament prophecies
It is said that there were over 300 prophecies (spoken by different voices over 500 years) that the Lord Jesus fulfilled, including 29 major prophecies fulfilled in a single day the day He was crucified. (While some of these prophecies may have found fulfillment on one level in the prophet's own day; they found their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ.)
Look briefly at some of the prophecies about the Messiah from Isaiah. Note the prophetic expectation. (The texts marked with ° indicate that they are taken from the lectionary appointed for the Nativity services.)
1: The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2: It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3: and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4: He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5: O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.
° Isaiah 7:10-15
10: Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11: "Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven." 12: But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test." 13: And he said, "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman'u-el. 15: He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.
° Isaiah 8:9-10; 9:1-7
9: Be broken, you peoples, and be dismayed; give ear, all you far countries; gird yourselves and be dismayed; gird yourselves and be dismayed. 10: Take counsel together, but it will come to nought; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.
1: But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zeb'ulun and the land of Naph'tali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 3: Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4: For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Mid'ian. 5: For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." 7: Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
1: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2: And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3: And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4: but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. 5: Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins. 6: The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7: The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8: The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. 9: They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10: In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious.
17: Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest? 18: In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. 19: The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
1: The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus 2: it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 3: Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4: Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." 5: Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6: then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7: the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 8: And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein. 9: No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 10: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.