Is Jesus the Messiah?
The television show C.S.I. popularized the phrases, “Follow the evidence,” and “The evidence doesn’t lie.” The meaning is that the evidence will more likely lead to the truth, whereas speculation is often misguided and witnesses can be undependable. But evidence is reliable and revealing.
What is the evidence for Jesus being the promised Messiah, the Christ?
Jesus clearly claimed himself to be the Messiah. One example was on the night of his unlawful trial standing before Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, when Caiaphas “said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven’” (Matt. 26:63-64).
Jesus’ answer didn’t leave room for misinterpretation. Jesus claimed to be Christ, the Son of God.
Now, let’s study another account in Scripture where Jesus’ claim that He is the Christ is even more irrefutable. This involves an interaction with John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was a righteous man whom the Israelites recognized as a prophet of God.
But John was more than just a prophet, he was the forerunner of the Messiah, the Christ, and he realized it. When Jewish priests and Levites questioned John as to who he was, “John replied in the word of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, Make straight the way for the Lord” (John 1:23).
And John knew that Jesus was the Messiah. “John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me. ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God” (John 1:32-34).
John the Baptist was a great man of God, full of faith, and his hope was in Jesus. He rightfully pointed others to Jesus, calling Him the “Lamb of God” (John 1:36), and “the one who comes from heaven” (John 4:31).
But John was still a man, and men are prone to question themselves at times, particularly when they face trials of hardships, times of solitude, or periods of uncertainty. In John’s case, he was in a cold, isolated prison cell, knowing he was likely facing death, when he questioned himself and his life’s work.
From that prison cell, John sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Luke 7:18). That sounds strange from a man so firm in his knowledge and faith.
But, in times of distress, men are prone to question their situation and understanding. At times, our emotions will begin to master us and pull us down.
That’s what happened to John. John needed reassurance from the Lord Jesus.
However, when John’s disciples asked Jesus if He were the One, Jesus didn’t just come right out and say so.
Instead, “At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, ‘Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: 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. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me’” (Luke 7:21-22).
Was Jesus being vague? Not at all. Jesus couldn’t have been clearer by His answer.
Anyone can make a claim for something, or to be someone. But a proper claim needs to be supported by evidence.
Jesus was telling John to examine the evidence. Was Jesus fulfilling what was foretold of the Messiah?
John was well-versed in Scripture. In fact, John quoted from the Prophet Isaiah when he referred to himself.
So, when John’s disciples returned and reported what they had seen and heard, John certainly would’ve recalled these Messianic prophesies of Isaiah:
“In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD: the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 29:18-19)
“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:5-6)
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1).
Jesus used a fundamental principle for impactful communication, “Show, don’t merely tell.”
The fact that Jesus fulfilled Scripture removed any doubt from John’s mind! Not only did Jesus claim to be the Messiah, He proved it.
Jesus is the Christ. He precisely fulfilled everything foretold about Him in Old Testament prophecies. Scholars cite that over 300 prophecies were filled by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry.
We would do well to take a lesson from Jesus’ answer to John.
Don’t place your beliefs simply in word-of-mouth. It’s too important.
Examine the evidence for yourself. Search the Scriptures. Review the historical records. The life and works of Jesus Christ, and His church, are substantial and convincing.