In the Old Testament, God fore-told the advent of his son. Although many prophets wrote about events that mankind could watch for which would herald the birth and life of Messiah, Isaiah wrote more about Messiah than any other prophet. Isaiah prophesied during the latter half of the eighth century before the birth of Jesus, yet, his predictions about Jesus were amazingly accurate. Below are eight of Isaiah’s prophecies and how Jesus full-filled them in his life. Mathematically, the odds of an individual fulfilling eight prophecies are one in 100 trillion.
Isaiah wrote that the coming Messiah would be born of a young virgin woman and Jesus would be called Immanuel which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9-6). Jesus was born from a virgin, Mary of Nazareth (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35). In ancient times, names had meaning. Calling a child Immanuel identified that in the child, God was with mankind (Luke 1:35).
Both Isaiah and Malachi wrote that before Jesus began his public ministry, a messenger would announce its start (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1). Often, in the Bible a messenger was an angel; but, in this instance the messenger was John the Baptist. Two gospel writers, Matthew and John, recorded that prior to the start of Jesus’ public ministry, John the Baptist preached and baptized in the wilderness of Judea and on the east side of the Jordan River (Matthew 3:1-3; John 1:23-28).
Isaiah prophesizd that the Spirit of God would rest upon Jesus (Isaiah 11:2). This prophecy was full-filled when Jesus was baptized by John (Matthew 3:16-17). The Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove and landed on Jesus. A voice from heaven declared that Jesus was God’s son. Isaiah wrote that the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was on his son (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus himself identified that he full-filled this Isaiah-prophecy when he read Isaiah’s writing in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4:21).
Isaiah wrote that the coming Messiah’s ministry would honor Galilee and cause its people to see a great light (Isaiah 9:1-2). The province of Galilee was an outback region of the Roman Empire, where little happened of any note in the first century. Yet, Galilee was the region where Jesus spent most of his life. Likely, in the 21st century westernized individuals only know of first century Galilee because Jesus taught there. Thus, Isaiah’s prophecy was accurate.
According to Isaiah, the Messiah’s ministry would include miracles, such as giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, a fluent, clear tongue to individuals who stammered or were mute, and the lame individual would leap like a deer (Isaiah 32:3-4; Isaiah 35:5-6). Jesus cured the blind, deaf, dumb/mute, and the lame (Matthew 9:2-8; Matthew 9:28-32).
The eighth prophecy that Isaiah gave about the Messiah was that when he spoke listeners would hear, but, not understand what the Messiah said (Isaiah 6:9-10). Although Jesus didn’t begin his ministry speaking in parables (see Matthew chapters 5–7), after a time he taught almost exclusively in parables to full-fill prophecy, i.e., hard-hearted listeners wouldn’t understand him (Matthew 13:14-15; John 12:38-41).
Reflection: Should Messiah’s birth and behaviors have been a surprise to the Jews?