Have you ever read Luke 24:25-27 and thought, “Man, I wish I had been there. It would be really nice to know what events from the Old Testament Jesus identified and interpreted for those disciples”?
I think about this every time I read these verses.
“He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.”Luke 24:25-27
Interestingly, I read through The Gospel of John recently and discovered that, throughout the book, John sprinkles references to Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. So, in an attempt to identify some of the things Jesus, likely, interpreted for the disciples concerning himself, I’ve compiled this list of fulfilled prophecies from John.
- A forerunner would make a straight path for Him (John 1:23, Isaiah 40:3)
When John the Baptist was asked to identify himself, he said,
““I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord”—just as Isaiah the prophet said”” (John 1:23).
Jesus was the Lord for whom John made a straight path.
Isaiah had said,
“A voice of one crying out:
Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness;
make a straight highway for our God in the desert” (Isaiah 40:3).
- Zeal for God’s house would consume Him (John 2:17, Psalm 69:9)
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus cleansed the temple.
“And his disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me”” (John 2:17).
They recognized the connection between Jesus’ actions and Isaiah’s words:
“I have become a stranger to my brothers
and a foreigner to my mother’s sons
because zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me” (Isaiah 69:8-9)
- He would be the Savior who came in the name of the Lord (John 12:13, Psalm 118:25-26)
When Jesus made his triumphal entry, the crowd identified him as their savior.
“The next day, when the large crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him. They kept shouting:
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord —the King of Israel!” ” (John 12:12-13).
They, accurately, ascribed to him the position of savior, in keeping with Isaiah’s prophecy:
“Lord, save us!
Lord, please grant us success!
He who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed.
From the house of the Lord we bless you” (Psalm 118:25-26).
- He would come as Israel’s king; riding on a donkey (John 12:15, Zechariah 9:9)
When Jesus made his triumphal entry, he also rode into town on the back of a donkey, claiming to be the King of Israel.
“Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written:
“Do not be afraid,
Daughter Zion. Look, your King is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt”” (John 12:14-15).
The people of Zion responded well when they rejoiced at seeing him riding the donkey:
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem!
Look, your King is coming to you;
he is righteous and victorious,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).
- His message would be rejected by the people (John 12:38, Isaiah 53:1)
Even after the success of the triumphal entry, many still rejected Jesus:
“Even though he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet, who said: “Lord, who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”” (John 12:37-38).
Isaiah had predicted this earlier:
“Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1).
- He would be betrayed by a friend (John 13:18, Psalm 41:9)
Jesus knew that he would be betrayed by a friend:
““I’m not speaking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the Scripture must be fulfilled: “The one who eats my bread has raised his heel against me.” I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am he”” (John 13:18-19).
David experienced this betrayal, and recorded this as his experience and as a prophetic word:
“Even my friend in whom I trusted,
one who ate my bread,
has raised his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).
- He would be hated for no reason (John 15:25, Psalm 69:4)
Jesus only did good works in the name of his Father, yet he was hated by the world:
“The one who hates me also hates my Father. If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not be guilty of sin. Now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But this happened so that the statement written in their law might be fulfilled: “They hated me for no reason”” (John 15:23-25).
David experienced undeserved hatred, and recorded this as his experience and as a prophetic word:
“Those who hate me without cause are more numerous than the hairs of my head;
my deceitful enemies, who would destroy me, are powerful.
Though I did not steal, I must repay” (Psalm 69:4).
- His clothing would be divided among his murderers (John 19:24, Psalm 22:18)
The Romans had developed the custom of dividing the possessions of a crucified man between the soldiers at the crucifixion. This was predicted long before and happened to Jesus:
“When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier. They also took the tunic, which was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: “They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.” This is what the soldiers did” (John 19:23-24).
David did not experience crucifixion at the hands of the Romans but he had a similar experience of having his possessions divvied up between persecutors, and recorded this as his experience and as a prophetic word:
“They divided my garments among themselves,
and they cast lots for my clothing” (Psalm 22:18).
- None of his bones would be broken (John 19:36, Psalm 34:20)
The bones of the Messiah were not to be broken. The Romans used to break the legs of their crucified victims to speed up death. While Jesus was on the cross, he gave up his spirit and his legs were not broken:
“Since it was the preparation day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special day). They requested that Pilate have the men’s legs broken and that their bodies be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other one who had been crucified with him. When they came to Jesus, they did not break his legs since they saw that he was already dead. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows he is telling the truth. For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken”” (John 19:31-36).
David recognized that God took care of his own, physically. He recorded this as a general truth and a prophetic word about the Messiah:
“One who is righteous has many adversities,
but the Lord rescues him from them all.
He protects all his bones;
not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:19-20).
- He would be pierced; looked upon by those who pierced him (John 19:37, Zechariah 12:10)
Instead of breaking Jesus’ legs, one of the soldiers stabbed him with a spear in the presence of Jesus’ accusers:
“When they came to Jesus, they did not break his legs since they saw that he was already dead. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows he is telling the truth. For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” Also, another Scripture says: “They will look at the one they pierced”” (John 19:33-37).
Zechariah predicted that those who would be responsible for the Messiah’s death would watch him die and observe him being pierced:
““Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at me whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for him as one weeps for a firstborn”” (Zechariah 12:10).
Here are 10 Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled- that are clearly identified in the Gospel of John. The next time you read Luke 24, you can use this collection as a reference for knowing some of what Jesus explained to the disciples on the road to Emmaus!
Interested in learning more about how the OT points to Jesus?
Consider this resource: Reading Moses, Seeing Jesus: How the Torah fulfills its goal in Yeshua