We received a question regarding how the prophecies of Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Zechariah 12:10 show Jesus is the Messiah. Every Christian should understand and be able to explain these extraordinary prophecies in order to show how the Bible is God’s Word and Jesus is the Christ. These also are great devotional passages! A big thanks to evangelist David Hall at http://quiettimepoems.blogspot.com/ for helping out with this. Be sure to check out his blog as well.
QUESTION: “I’m confused how the verses in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, & Zechariah 12:10 show how Jesus fulfilled the Messianic promises. Would you explain please?”
ANSWER: This an excellent question which every Christian should know how to answer. It may be of some comfort to you to know that a very similar question regarding Isaiah 53 was addressed to a truth seeker in Acts chapter 8 as follows:
And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading? And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this:
“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”
So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
The Ethiopian eunuch was reading verses seven through eight of Isaiah 53, one of the most tremendous prophetic chapters in the Bible. In fact, all twelve verses of Isaiah chapter 53 (written more than 700 years before Christ) provide a detailed account of what the Messiah would do and accomplish for sinners.
It starts with God’s “report” (Isaiah 53:1) of God’s “righteous Servant” who would “be SATISFIED” by “the labor of His soul” because He would “justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11). It is NO WONDER, then, that Philip opened his mouth “and preached JESUS to him” (Acts 8:35). There is none other who fits the description of the one who is described as a silent “Lamb” (Isaiah 53:7) in His suffering for us in order to bear our “chastisement” so that we could have “peace” with God (Isaiah 53:5) except the Lord Jesus Christ.
Further, Psalm 22, which was written approximately 1,000 years before Christ (as the Holy Spirit moved King David to write it) describes the coming Messiah with such remarkable detail regarding the suffering (Psalm 22:1-21), resurrection and ministry during the church age (Psalm 22:22-26), and subsequent reign of Christ on the earth when He returns a second time (Psalm 22:27-31), that it EXCLUDES any other possibility that it could be anyone other than the victorious Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. He fulfilled these detailed prophecies that described His crucifixion to redeem us, written with amazing detail. Even though this prophecy predated Christ by a millennia, the details of His crucifixion were provided with such clarity that it becomes utterly unreasonable (i.e., absurd; willfully ignorant) to associate this prophecy with anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, execution by crucifixion was NON-EXISTENT in the days of King David, though it was described clearly in David’s prophecy, as this cruel form of execution would not even be invented until 500 years after the writing of this Psalm. Consider these descriptive terms provided by David regarding the Messiah who would suffer on our behalf:
For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
This is an exact description of the hostility against our Savior as He was crucified for sinners while they mocked Him and gambled for His garments, precisely as the New Testament eyewitness accounts describe this event. Read Matthew chapter 27 and John chapter 19, and you will find it unmistakably descriptive of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lastly, Zechariah 12:10 prophetically describes a time when the people of Israel would recognize their Messiah prior to his second return and reign on Earth, “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. The apostle John gives this description of the fulfillment pertaining to Jesus’s piercing:
But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
Since Jesus was God in the flesh and Yahweh’s representative on earth, it is correct to say God was “pierced” when the soldier thrust the spear into His side.
We may be sure that when Philip answered the Ethiopian eunuch, declaring to him that JESUS is the Savior of the world and the only hope for heaven offered to otherwise hell-bound sinners, he was certainly concerned about much more than satisfying his intellectual curiosity. Thankfully, the heart of that dear seeker was prepared to respond to the offer of salvation which is available to all who will call upon the risen Savior today. Christ alone “SATISFIED” the demands of God’s holy Law that demands uncompromised judgment to guilty lawbreakers. However, now that the Messiah has met that demand by the sacrifice of Himself, He extends to all people this gracious offer.
Share this incredible proof Jesus is the Messiah with your Jewish, Muslim, skeptic, and other unbelieving friends. God has spoken, and He wants us to declare to others what He has done through His Son.
 D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991, accessed using Logos Research Sysytems,2017.), 627–628.
NKJV version used in this article
Capitalized, boldened, or underlined additions are added for emphasis by the author