I have heard a lot about Jesus fulfilling all of the prophesies regarding the Messiah from the Old Testament, but I am a bit confused. When I read through Isaiah 51-53, for example, I can see now that it matches what Jesus did, but if I were to read it with no knowledge whatsoever of Jesus I am not sure I would come to the conclusion that these passages refer to a Savior for Israel. Other passages are even more obscure or seemingly ambiguous to my modern American eyes and brain. How were these prophesies known or identified by the readers of that time?
Post by Mike Miller on Aug 5, 2014 10:35:19 GMT -5
Great question. The four "Servant Songs" about the Messiah are found in Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-9; and 52:13-53:12. What indication is there that these refer to the Messiah? The truth is that Israel as a whole is sometimes referred to as the Lord's servant. However, in these passages, the servant is an individual who will serve Israel and even those who are not Jews. This servant is a descendant of David who will expand His rule throughout and beyond Israel. Then, in other prophecies we see that the heir of David is the one who will fulfill the Messianic role, so that when taken all together, Isaiah's audience would recognize that this servant is the once whom God would raise up as their Savior at some time in the future (after the exile). The reason this might seem occluded to a modern reader is that we have not been conditioned (as the Jews had) to think in terms of a coming Messiah. But of course, we know that even the Jews in Jesus' day did not conceive of a suffering Messiah either, which indicates that they didn't fully understand these passages either. It is from the words of Jesus and the Apostles (being inspired by the Holy Spirit) that we have such a clear picture of the Messianic prophecies being fulfilled in Jesus. From our perspective, it seems so obvious that Jesus is the promised One, but such is not the case for those who do not have eyes to see and ears to hear (See Matthew 13:13-17, which quotes from Isaiah 6).
Okay, thank you! It makes sense that since Jews were taught from an early age to look forward to the Messiah, they would have seen Isaiah's prophesies differently than I do because of the background information they already knew. It must have been part of the oral traditions as well as the written scriptures, ingrained in their culture and passed on from parents to children. Thank you for your time