The Old Testament contains over 400 prophecies about the coming Messiah. Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled every one of them.
Do you know what the odds of that happening are? Think about it: one single man fulfilling every prediction about the coming Messiah, Savior of the world.
A professor named Peter Stoner worked with 600 students to figure out what the probability would be of just eight (of the over 400) prophecies being fulfilled in any one person who had lived up to the present time. The result: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.21
Lee Strobel, an atheist-turned-Christian, performed some calculations to try to figure out what this would look like in real life. Lee notes:
“I imagined the entire world being covered with white tile that was one-and-a-half inches square—every bit of dry land on the planet—with the bottom of just one tile painted red. Then I pictured a person being allowed to wander for a lifetime around all seven continents. He would be permitted to bend down only one time and pick up a piece of tile. What are the odds it would be the one tile whose reverse side was painted red? The odds would be the same as just eight of the Old Testament prophecies coming true in any one person throughout history!”22
Here are some of the over 400 Old Testament prophesies that Jesus FULFILLED:
FULFILLED: Jesus’ genealogy comes through the tribe of Judah. (Matthew 1:1-16)
FULFILLED: Jesus was a descendant of King David. (Matthew 1:1-16)
FULFILLED: Jesus was born in Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4-6)
FULFILLED: Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (Matthew 1:22, Matthew 1:23, Luke 2:7)
FULFILLED: “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’” (Luke 1:35)
FULFILLED: “‘Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.” (Mark 6:3)
FULFILLED: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:5)
FULFILLED: “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.” (Matthew 13:34)
FULFILLED: “They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (Luke 19:35-38)
FULFILLED: Jesus was betrayed by his disciple, Judas. (John 13:18, John 13:21, Matthew 26:21-25)
FULFILLED: “Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.” (Matthew 26:14-15)
FULFILLED: When Judas hanged himself, they used the money to buy a potters field. (Matthew 27:7)
FULFILLED: “Then everyone deserted him and fled.” (Mark 14:50)
FULFILLED: Jesus was despised, rejected and crucified. (Luke 23:20-23)
FULFILLED: “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’ In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” (Matthew 27:39-44)
FULFILLED: Jesus was beaten, nailed to a cross and crucified. (Luke 22:63, Luke 23:32-33, John 19:18)
FULFILLED: “They came to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.” (Matthew 27:33-34)
FULFILLED: “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.” (Matthew 27:35-36)
FULFILLED: “The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.” (John 19:32-33)
FULFILLED: In Matthew 26:67-68, they spat in His face and struck Him with their fists.
FULFILLED: “Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” (Matthew 27:26) Isaiah not only talks about the flogging that Christ would receive, he even outlines the reason why Christ would suffer—to save us from the judgment of sin and death.
FULFILLED: “When He was accused by the chief priests and the elders, He gave no answer. Then Pilate asked Him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.” (Matthew 27:12-14)
FULFILLED: “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.” (Romans 3:25)
FULFILLED: “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)
These are just a few of the many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. But as I said to you at the beginning of this chapter, if you’re bent on refuting God and Jesus, nothing I say is likely to change your mind. You can argue until you’re red in the face. You can be a skeptic and declare, “There’s no way 400 of those prophecies are about Jesus.” But the fact of the matter remains: they are real. Even if you can argue away half of them, the other half will still taunt you. Your arms are too short to box with God; he’s created too much evidence for you to just ignore it.
As Lee Strobel puts it, even if Jesus only fulfilled eight prophecies, you would still be walking across the earth hoping to flip over that one red tile. God is real and Jesus is the Son of God, Messiah and King.
21 Science Speaks, Peter Stoner, (Chicago, Moody Press, 1963), p. 109
22 Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary, Lee Strobel, (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1993), pp. 36-37