12 Old Testament Passages Fulfilled During Jesus’ Last Days on Earth
- Lisa Samra Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2021 9 Mar
A large crowd and an armed guard, equipped with swords and clubs, entered the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. Their appearance under cover of night in this remote area took the disciples by complete surprise. Even more, they were stunned to see their friend, Judas, leading the group. In shock and fear, the disciples reacted with force (although a very feeble and ineffective response) to defend Jesus. They simply did not understand what was happening.
Jesus was not surprised. Addressing his disciples and the arresting mob, Jesus almost welcomed their arrival because how else “would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:54). The strong, emphatic “must happen in this way” gives a window into Jesus’ thoughts – that despite the extreme difficulty he knew he would endure over the next few hours, Jesus was going to submit to God’s plan. Again, before Jesus is led away, he tells the crowd, “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled” (Matthew 26:56).
What Scriptures and writings of the prophets is Jesus referring to? Following are 12 Old Testament prophesies from the psalms and prophets fulfilled during Jesus’ last days on earth. These are just a small portion of the more than 300 total prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in his life. Incredibly, many of these were written 700 or more years before Jesus was even born, and yet they correctly detail the events surrounding his crucifixion and resurrection.
Looking back at these prophecies helps us to see God’s sovereignty over Jesus’ life, and even death. They give us an even greater sense of gratitude for Jesus’ willingness to entrust himself to God (2 Peter 2:23), submitting to God’s will even in the face of incredible suffering. Knowing that Jesus went willingly to the cross should give us an even greater appreciation for Jesus, who would willingly endure the journey to the cross to be able to offer salvation to all people.
1. People in Jerusalem will celebrate when Jesus arrives on a donkey.
Old Testament Scripture: Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Matthew 21:7-9
The disciples brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
2. Jesus will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
Old Testament Scripture: Zechariah 11:13b
So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the LORD.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Matthew 26:14, 15
Then one of the Twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – when to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.”
3. Jesus will be quiet before his accusers.
Old Testament Scripture: Isaiah 53:7
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Matthew 27:14
But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
4. Jesus will be rejected.
Old Testament Scripture: Isaiah 53:3
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Mark 15:12-13
What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews? Pilate asked them. “Crucify him!” they shouted.
5. Jesus will be mocked and beaten.
Old Testament Scripture: Isaiah 50:6
I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Matthew 27:27-30
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
6. Jesus will be among criminals at his death.
Old Testament Scripture: Isaiah 52:12b
…he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Mark 15:27
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.
7. As the psalmist did, Jesus will commit his spirit into God’s hands.
Old Testament Scripture: Psalm 31:5
Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Luke 23:46
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
8. Like the Passover Lamb, none of Jesus’ bones will be broken.
Old Testament Scripture: Exodus 12:46
It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.
He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
Fulfillment in Jesus: John 19:31-33
Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
9. Jesus’ side will be pierced.
Old Testament Scripture: Zechariah 12:10
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve for a firstborn son.
Fulfillment in Jesus: John 19:34
Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
10. Jesus will die for the sins of people.
Old Testament Scripture: Isaiah 53:8b
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Matthew 27:51
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.
11. Jesus will be buried with the rich.
Old Testament Scripture: Isaiah 53:9a
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Matthew 27:57-60
As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
12. Jesus will be resurrected.
Old Testament Scripture: Isaiah 53:11a
After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied.
Fulfillment in Jesus: Luke 24:4-6
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Ava_Marie
Lisa M. Samra graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas and earned a Master of Biblical Studies degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Lisa now lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., with her husband and children. She leads the Jerusalem Project at Calvary Church, a ministry focused on partnering with local churches, training people for ministry, and planting new churches. She is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com, Our Daily Bread, and her work has also appeared in a variety of publications and online sites. Lisa enjoys good coffee, running, and reading, just not all at the same time.