My wife loves to do puzzles. She has put together hundreds of them, most of them 1,000 pieces. The card table is a permanent resident in our family room. She can complete the puzzle in a few days. Did you know that God also likes puzzles? Rather than dumping out all the pieces at once, hundreds of years before Jesus was born, He gave His prophets one piece at a time in the form of prophecies. These were His clues as to the identity, or portrait, of the special Person He would send into the world to die for our sins and reconcile us to God. This individual was called the Messiah, or Christ, or Anointed One.
These puzzle pieces come to light in the first four books of our New Testament. Like a checklist, these four writers of Scripture checked them off by the phrase, “that it might be fulfilled.” They realized that Jesus fulfilled all the clues. The puzzle finally took shape and revealed that Jesus was the special Messiah.
It was important to follow God’s clues because there was no shortage of charlatans who claimed to be God’s Messiah. It would be like someone claiming to be me (not that anyone would do so). But if God said ahead of time, “Marlon will be a boy born in Crescent City, CA. He’ll be of Portuguese and Scottish descent. He’ll attend Del Norte High School. He will reside in Arcata and Fresno. He will work at the Sun-Maid raisin factory. He will practice chiropractic and be employed as a pastor.” Finally, when all the clues are assembled, like a puzzle, it would only reveal my face. No one else could possibly fulfill all the signs.
Here are some of the common puzzle pieces, to identify the Messiah.
Descendant of the tribe of Judah
Born in Bethlehem at the time when Rome was in power
Lived in Egypt and Nazareth
Performed miraculous healings
Rode a donkey into Jerusalem
His betrayer was buried in Potter’s Field
Died with criminals but buried with wealthy
Clothes were gambled for while He on the cross
None of His bones would be broken
There are many more, but you get the drift. One mathematician estimated the probability of anyone coincidentally fulfilling just eight of these prophecies. The odds would be the same as covering the entire state of Texas two feet deep with silver dollars. After marking one of those silver dollars, a blindfolded individual would be given one chance to pick out the marked coin. Those would be the odds of someone fulfilling just eight of the clues of the Messiah. Yet, not only eight, but many more, Jesus was the only Person to fulfill all of them.
If you are still not convinced, there is one prophecy that ONLY JESUS has ever fulfilled. ‘You will not abandon Me to the grave, nor will You let Your Holy One see decay.” (Psalm 16:10) This speaks of Jesus’ RESURRECTION. He is the only one to have conquered death.
The puzzle has been fully assembled. The picture is clear. Jesus is God’s Messiah. He died for your sin so that you could have a love-relationship with God. Ask the Lord to forgive you and to take up residence in your life.