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The Case for Christ - Week of November 9

  • 2021 Nov 09

Messianic Prophecies and the Integrity of the Gospels

Verse: Zechariah 11:4-17

Isn’t it possible that the gospel writers fabricated details to make it appear that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic passages of the Old Testament? For example, one passage foreshadows that the Messiah’s bones would remain unbroken (see Psalm 34:20), so maybe John invented the story about the Romans breaking the legs of the two thieves being crucified with Jesus and not breaking his legs (see John 19:31–36). Another prophecy talks about Judas’ betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (prophesied in Zechariah 11:12–13 and fulfilled in Matthew 26:15; 27:3–7). Could it be that Matthew played fast and loose with the facts and said, yeah, Judas sold out Jesus for that same amount?

Pastor Louis Lapides has spent 30 years studying prophecies found within Scripture. He quickly settles these objections: “In God’s wisdom, he created checks and balances both inside and outside the Christian community. When the Gospels were being circulated, there were people living who had been around when all these things happened. Someone would have said to Matthew, ‘You know it didn’t happen that way. We’re trying to communicate a life of righteousness and truth, so don’t taint it with a lie.’”

Why would Matthew have fabricated fulfilled prophecies and then have been willing to be put to death for following someone who he secretly knew was really not the Messiah? That wouldn’t make any sense. What’s more, the Jewish community would have jumped on any opportunity to discredit the Gospels by pointing out falsehoods. “They would have said, ‘I was there, and Jesus’ bones were broken by the Romans during the crucifixion,’” Lapides says. “And even though the Jewish Talmud refers to Jesus in derogatory ways, it never once makes the claim that the fulfillment of prophecies was falsified. Not one time.”
— Adapted from interview with Louis Lapides

This devotion is from the NIV Case for Christ Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.

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