Messianic passages in The Glory of The Messiah adult coloring book

These are expanded from the messianic prophecies listed in The Glory of The Messiah adult coloring book.


Be the firstborn over creation

He will call to Me: “You are my Father,
my God and the rock of my salvation.”

I also will set him as firstborn—
the highest of the kings of earth.

—Psalm 89:27–28 (89:26–27 in English versions)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

—Colossians 1:15

The author of Psalm 89 tells us that he is thinking of King David and God’s promises to him. Inwardly, David sustains an intimate relationship with God; outwardly, he mirrors to the world the kingship of God Himself. As “firstborn,” he receives an inheritance from God and a position of power.

The most prolific of the New Testament writers, Paul, may have this psalm in mind when he describes Jesus, who is descended from David and fulfills the Messianic kingship promises in a way that goes beyond the reality David experienced. Jesus, the “image” of God, has a closer relationship with his Father than was possible for David. As the “firstborn” he has a position of power and supreme authority that transcends—and fulfills—the Davidic kingship.


Be of the offspring of the woman and crush the serpent’s head

I will put animosity between you and the woman—between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.

—Genesis 3:15

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared the same humanity—so that through death He might break the power of the one who had the power of death (that is, the devil).

—Hebrews 2:14

This verse from Genesis, especially the last part, is often called the protoevangelium, the first announcement of the gospel. It comes after Adam and Eve disobey God by listening to the serpent and God consequently announces judgment on the man, the woman and the serpent. The gravity of the context leads us to understand that a simple snake is not what is being discussed. (Romans 16:20 appears to allude to this verse when it speaks of the crushing of Satan.)

“Her seed” is itself an odd phrase in the context of a culture where genealogy was figured via the male line. And the battle between the woman’s seed and the serpent’s does not lead to an equal outcome: the serpent’s head is crushed (a fatal blow) while the woman’s seed is wounded only in the heel. For this reason, the verse has been traditionally understood to refer to the defeat of Satan at the hands of Jesus, the seed of the woman who undergoes crucifixion on our behalf. The author of Hebrews builds on this theme in Hebrews 2:14, which speaks of Jesus’ destruction of Satan.


Be born of Isaac’s seed

But God said, “On the contrary, Sarah your wife will bear you a son and you must name him Isaac. So I will confirm My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.

—Genesis 17:19

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had received the promises was offering up his one and only son—the one about whom it was said, “Through Isaac offspring shall be named for you.”

—Hebrews 11:17–18

God’s covenantal promise to Abraham and Sarah—that he would make of them a great nation—seemed impossible given their advanced age. By Genesis 17, Abraham has attempted to bring the promise to fruition by having a child, Ishmael, by Sarah’s handmaid Hagar. But Ishmael is not to be the child of promise, as God indicates in Genesis 17:19. Yet when Isaac is finally born, another roadblock appears: God commands in Genesis 22 that Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. As a man of faith, Abraham obeys God in the face of what appears to be the immediate cessation of descendants through Isaac. Yet Isaac is spared and goes on to father Jacob, from whom the nation of Israel comes. Hebrews 11:19 says that Abraham’s faith allowed him to believe that God could raise Isaac even from the dead, should the sacrifice have been carried out. Abraham remains an example of faith for all believers, Jew and Gentile alike.


Be the great I AM

But Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to Bnei-Yisrael and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ What should I say to them?” God answered Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Then He said, “You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘I AM’ has sent me to you.”

—Exodus 3:13–14

From now on I am telling you, before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I am.

—John 13:19

In Exodus 3, while Moses offers excuses as to why God should not send him to confront Pharaoh, God reveals to him His personal name. In verses 13–14 God speaks of Himself as “Ehyeh,” “I AM,” while in verse 15 he instructs Moses to let Israel know that the name of their God is YHWH. YHWH is commonly pronounced Adonai (“Lord”), first, because the exact pronunciation is not known, and second, because in the Jewish community it was and still is considered more reverential not to say the name directly.

Several times in the gospel of John, Jesus uses the expression “I am” in a way that seems to go beyond mere self-identification. (Besides John 13:19, see John 8:24, 28 and John 18:5–6, 8). Rather, we understand that Jesus is alluding to the personal name of God Himself. The gospel of John repeatedly highlights the deity of Jesus; the reference to God’s name seems especially clear in 18:5–6, where Jesus’ reply of “I am” leads the crowd of soldiers and others to fall to the ground, whether from a supernatural act of God or from fear alone. The God revealed in Exodus 3 has become incarnate in Jesus.


Be a prophet like Moses

I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will speak to them all that I command him. Now whoever does not listen to My words that this prophet speaks in My Name, I Myself will call him to account.

—Deuteronomy 18:18–19

When the people saw the sign that Yeshua performed, they began to say, “This is most certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

—John 6:14

In contrast to the nations surrounding Israel, who practiced divination, Israel will hear from the Lord through an intermediary He has chosen. Deuteronomy 18:18–19 in the first place refers to the line of prophets (such as Isaiah and Jeremiah) who indeed spoke God’s words to the people. Yet there is more to it than that. By the first century A.D., “the Prophet” was also considered a figure of the end times (as seen in John 1:21, 25; 6:14; and 7:40; and in the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls). At least one medieval Jewish commentator, Levi ben Gershon (or Gersonides), wrote that the “prophet like Moses” would be fulfilled in the person of the Messiah. John 6:14 comes after the feeding of the five thousand with two fish and five loaves of bread; having seen this miracle, the people declare, “This is most certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” They may well have been reminded of God’s provision of manna for the Israelites to eat in the wilderness while they were being led by Moses—and now He was once again miraculously providing food through Jesus, “the prophet like Moses.”


Be the star of Jacob

I see him, yet not at this moment. I behold him, yet not in this location. For a star will come from Jacob, a scepter will arise from Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab and the skulls of all the sons of Seth. Edom will be conquered—his enemies will conquer Seir, but Israel will triumph. One from Jacob will rule and destroy the city’s survivors.

—Numbers 24:17–19

He shall reign over the house of Jacob for all eternity, and His kingdom will be without end.

—Luke 1:33

In the early second century A.D., a man named Bar Koseva led a Jewish rebellion against Rome. The famed Rabbi Akiva believed Bar Koseva to be the Messiah and gave him the name Bar Kokhba, or Son of the Star, in reference to Numbers 24. The rebellion was subsequently crushed, leading to the expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem. Bar Kokhba did not destroy the enemies of Israel, nor did he become ruler—rather, he died. Jesus, in contrast, is the true ruler of Israel and the one who destroys all enemies, including death (1 Corinthians 15:25–26). Unlike Bar Kokhba, Jesus died a death that was purposeful and deliberate, a death that was followed by his resurrection. The “star prophecy” of Numbers may be alluded to in the story of the magi following the star (Matthew 2:1–10) and it doubtless stands behind Jesus’ declaration: “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning star” (Revelation 22:16b).


Be called out of Egypt

When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.

—Hosea 11:1

So he got up, took the Child and His mother during the night, and went to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My son.”

—Matthew 2:14–15

In its original context, Hosea 11:1 clearly refers to the nation of Israel, as is also the case in Exodus 4:22 (“This is what Adonai says: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn.’”). How, then, can Matthew say that it applies to Jesus? Some have maintained that Matthew distorts the meaning of the Hebrew Bible, but he is actually showing that Jesus is the true Israelite, the ultimate Jewish person whose story mirrors that of the entire nation. (In Isaiah, the servant of the Lord is first identified as Israel, then in subsequent chapters, especially in Isaiah 52:13–53:12, is narrowed down to one representative individual from among the nation.)

In the exodus from Egypt, God delivered Israel from slavery and constituted them as His special people. In the same way, Jesus’ death delivers those of us who trust in him from sin and death and also incorporates us into God’s people. (In Luke 9:31, Jesus calls his impending death a “departure,” or literally an “exodus,” so he may be alluding to these themes.)

Herod’s command to kill all the boys under two years of age (Matthew 2:16) is reminiscent of Pharaoh’s command to kill all the Israelite infant boys (Exodus 1:16). These connections with Israel’s history tie Jesus strongly to the fortunes of his own people.


Be from the tribe of Judah

The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come. To him will be the obedience of the peoples.

—Genesis 49:10

For it is clear that our Lord has sprung forth from Judah.

—Hebrews 7:14

Genesis 49 recounts Jacob’s words to his children regarding “what will happen to you in the last days.” His words in verse 10 speak of the dominion that the tribe of Judah will exercise not only over Israel but over “the peoples,” the other nations. Based on this verse, commentators often see a prediction that the Messiah must have come before Judah lost its independence (that is, the “ruler’s staff” spoken of in Genesis 49:10; this loss of dominion happened conclusively after the destruction of the Temple about 70 A.D.). Yet the verse does not focus on the loss of Judah’s ruling scepter but goes on to speak of the extension of its dominion over the entire world. (Note: some translations render the Hebrew as “Shiloh,” a proper name, instead of “he to whom it belongs,” but that does not affect the overall sense of the verse.)

Revelation 5:5 develops the theme of descent through Judah with the idea of a victorious king: “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” Indeed, Jesus’ kingdom extends to all the nations of the earth: Luke 2:30-31 (“For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples); Revelation 7:9 (“After these things I looked, and behold, a vast multitude that no one could count—from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues—was standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”). See also Romans 15:11. Little did Jacob know how his prophecy would be fulfilled!


Be a shoot out of the stem of Jesse

Then a shoot will come forth out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch will bear fruit out of His roots. The Ruach of Adonai will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and insight, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Adonai.

—Isaiah 11:1–2

After removing him, He raised up David to be their king. He also testified about him and said, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do My will.”

—Acts 13:22

Isaiah speaks of a time to come when a descendant of Jesse (the father of King David) will rule in justice and establish peace—not only for Israel, but for the nations of the earth (see Isaiah 11:10). Moreover, he will be empowered by God’s own Spirit.

In Acts 13, Paul addresses a synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, where he recounts the story of Israel and Jesus. In verse 23, Paul says, “From this man’s seed, in keeping with His promise, God brought to Israel a Savior—Yeshua [Jesus].” Not only is Jesus descended from Jesse via David, an important qualification for the Messiah, but he also rules through God’s Spirit rather than from mere human agency. (See Matthew 3:11; 12:18, 28; Mark 1:8, 10; and Luke 4:1, 14.) Luke 4:18 is a key verse in this regard, in which Jesus quotes Isaiah 61:1: “The Ruach Adonai [Spirit of the Lord] is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed.”


Be a king from the line of David

When your days are done and you sleep with your fathers, I will raise up your seed, who will come forth from you after you, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for My Name, and I will establish his royal throne forever.

—2 Samuel 7:12–13

He will be great and will be called Ben-Elyon. Adonai Elohim will give Him the throne of David, His father.

—Luke 1:32

One of the greatest promises in the Bible is found in 2 Samuel 7. There, God affirms to King David that his own descendants will rule forever, on the condition that sin will bring divine discipline (v. 14), yet with the assurance that God’s “lovingkindness” (chesed; v. 15) will never depart. Many of the succeeding kings did in fact act wickedly, to the point that God sent the nation into exile in Babylon. Yet because he is faithful to His own word, God promised to preserve the nation in spite of its sinfulness (see Jeremiah 31:35–37) and to raise up a descendant of David to rule forever.

That promise finally came to fruition in the birth of Jesus. The angel Gabriel declares to Mary that the child to be born to her will be called the Son of the Most High (Ben-Elyon), descended from David, exercising dominion. What a momentous birth announcement! No wonder Mary was perplexed (to say nothing of the conundrum of her virginity). And coming in fulfillment of a centuries-long hope, it is no wonder that millions celebrate his birth every year!


The government will be upon His shoulder

For to us a child is born, a son will be given to us, and the government will be upon His shoulder. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, My Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and shalom there will be no end—on the throne of David and over His kingdom—to establish it and uphold it through justice and righteousness from now until forevermore. The seal of Adonai-Tzva’ot will accomplish this.

—Isaiah 9:5–6 (9:6–7 in English versions)

And Yeshua came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.”

—Matthew 28:18

In Isaiah 9 the child to be born receives four names, which speak about his wisdom, his deity, his eternality, and his peace. In the life of Jesus, we bear witness to all of these.

There is his wisdom: “Coming into His hometown, He began to teach them in their synagogue so that they were amazed. ‘Where did this fellow get this wisdom and these mighty works?’ they said.” (Matthew 13:54). There is his divinity: he was “calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 5:18). We also see his eternality: “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world came to be.” (John 17:5.) And he brings peace, for Jesus came “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of shalom.” (Luke 1:79).

Isaiah 9 tells us that the peaceable reign of this child will never end. When Jesus speaks of possessing all authority, we can be sure that he wields this authority with divine wisdom, which will bring reconciliation between people and God forever.


Be born in Bethlehem

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah—least among the clans of Judah—from you will come out to Me One to be ruler in Israel, One whose goings forth are from of old, from days of eternity.

—Micah 5:1 (5:2 in English versions)

Now after Yeshua was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews?”

—Matthew 2:1

Micah 5 speaks of the birth of the Messiah. In the midst of the siege against Jerusalem and its embattled king (v. 1, English version), verse 2 shifts to the small town of Bethlehem, the town of King David (see 1 Samuel 17:12). Plucked from obscurity, a new David, unlike the present king, will arise to shepherd Israel: namely, the Messiah. “From of old, from days of eternity” could refer to the pedigree of the Messiah, which stretches back to the times of King David, or even suggest the eternality of this ruler.

Hundreds of years later, Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem sets into motion a visit from the “magi,” advisors and astrologers to the pagan kings of eastern lands. They know at least something about Jesus; when the suspicious Herod hears the word “king,” he anxiously inquires after the Messiah’s predicted birthplace. “Bethlehem,” he is told, and subsequently orders the murder of all the young boys in that vicinity. But to no avail—God’s plan cannot be thwarted. In contrast to Herod, the magi offer gifts to Jesus, suggesting the homage of the nations to the Messiah—born in a humble village, yet destined to be the King of Israel.


Be born of a virgin

Therefore Adonai Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive. When she is giving birth to a son, she will call his name Immanuel.

—Isaiah 7:14

Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah happened this way. When His mother Miriam was engaged to Joseph but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Ruach ha-Kodesh.

—Matthew 1:18

King Ahaz of Judah is not given to trust; under his reign (8th century B.C.), Judah is threatened by his enemies in Syria and the northern kingdom of Israel. God promises that these enemies will be destroyed (Isaiah 7:7-8). Yet when God encourages Ahaz to ask for a sign as confirmation that Syria and Israel will indeed be destroyed, He is met with refusal and unbelief (Isaiah 7:11-12). Nevertheless, God goes ahead and gives the sign of the virgin birth. This prophecy has occasioned much discussion; many see in it both a near and a distant fulfillment to come.

On the near horizon, only a few years after a child is born to a woman (who at the time was still a virgin), Syria and Israel are gone. Yet the larger context of chapters 7–11 is the messianic age, so that “God with us” is a message not just for Ahaz’s time but also for the future.

And so it turned out, for Matthew cites this very verse. The ultimate fulfillment of “God with us”—the meaning of the name Immanuel—took place when God became flesh, born of a virgin. When we recall that God asked Ahaz to request a sign—any sign at all—(v. 11), it makes sense that the ultimate fulfillment was also quite incredible—so amazing that even Mary struggled to make sense of it (Luke 1:34)!


Be the recipient of gifts

May kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute,
kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.
So let all kings bow down before him,
and all nations serve him.

—Psalm 72:10–11

And when they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Miriam; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

—Matthew 2:11

Psalm 72 speaks of the king of Israel, whose reign of justice is described at length. This ruler receives the homage of “all nations” (v. 11), not by terror, but by compassion and attention to the downtrodden. Only the ultimate sovereign, the Messiah, could fully incorporate all that is said here of the king. In fact, verse 17 (“May all nations be blessed by him”) is reminiscent of Genesis 12:3, where God tells Abram, “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed”—a promise that comes to fruition in Jesus, who enables Jews and Gentiles to serve the God of Israel together.

Matthew 2 tells the story of the magi, who bring gifts of great value to Jesus. In 1 Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba brings gifts of her own to King Solomon; Isaiah 60:6 tells of the glorious future time when the nations will bring gold and frankincense to Israel and also proclaim God’s praises. Now the magi not only bring gifts but cry out their own praise to God: “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (v. 2). The homage of the non-Jewish magi foreshadows the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s people.


Be the one Shepherd

So I will set up One Shepherd over them, My servant David—He will tend them, He will feed them Himself and be their shepherd.

—Ezekiel 34:23

I have other sheep that are not from this fold; those also I must lead, and they will listen to My voice. So there shall be one flock, one Shepherd.

—John 10:16

Ezekiel 34 contrasts the false shepherds of Israel with the true shepherd who will feed his flock and watch over them. Ezekiel calls him “David,” even though David was long gone by this time. In the same way, Jesus referred to John the Baptist as Elijah. As John came in the “spirit and power” of Elijah (Luke 1:17), so the future shepherd, the Messiah, will reflect the best attributes of King David in his own life.

John 10:16 speaks of “other sheep” and likely refers to Jesus’ non-Jewish disciples. Though they are of “another fold,” they form one flock together with the Jews, and they have one Shepherd over them all. Paul restates this in Ephesians 4:4–6: there is “one body and one Spirit … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Jesus’ followers are united in him through the Spirit. Together, they all serve him as King, even as he (amazingly!) serves them as Shepherd (see Matthew 20:28 and also Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4; and Revelation 7:17).


Be a miracle worker

Say to those with anxious heart, “Be strong, have no fear!” Behold, your God! Vengeance is coming! God’s recompense—it is coming! Then He will save you. Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing. For water will burst forth in the desert and streams in the wilderness.

—Isaiah 35:4–6

The blind and lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them.

—Matthew 21:14

The messianic age will usher in both ultimate justice and miracles of physical healing. Matthew 11:5 and Luke 7:22 cite the Isaiah passage in response to John the Baptist’s perplexed question as to whether Jesus really is the expected Messiah or not. (At that point John has been imprisoned and begins to have doubts.)

By way of messengers, Jesus assures John that the miracles of healing, as well as his teaching (“the poor have good news proclaimed to them,” Matthew 11:5), reflect who he is. The day of God’s vengeance (Isaiah 35:4), however, will come at a future time. (In Luke 4, when Jesus quotes Isaiah 61, he similarly leaves off the part about God’s vengeance because it is still to come.)

The setting of Matthew 21 is the Temple in Jerusalem; the healing of the blind and the lame is significant here because priests who were so afflicted were forbidden from entering the sanctuary to make offerings (Leviticus 21:18). Jesus’ healings show not only that he brings wholeness but also full access to God, with no restrictions (compare Isaiah 56:4–7).


He will enter Jerusalem on a donkey

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you, a righteous one bringing salvation. He is lowly, riding on a donkey—on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

—Zechariah 9:9

This happened to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘See, your King is coming to you, humble and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

—Matthew 21:4–5

The Old Testament contains a perplexing series of prophecies about the coming Messiah. Some prophecies depict him as reigning and victorious (Isaiah 9, Psalm 2) whereas others show him to be humble and lowly (Isaiah 53). Some rabbis postulated two different messiahs. Others speculated that the manner in which the Messiah would come depends on the behavior of the Jewish people: “If the people of Israel will be righteous, the Messiah will come in the clouds of Heaven. If they will not be righteous, he will come as a poor man riding upon an ass” (Sanhedrin 98a in the Talmud). As we know, the Messiah actually comes twice—the first time in humility to bear our sins, the second and future time in victorious triumph.

Zechariah 9:9 is fulfilled when Jesus enters humbly into Jerusalem. The warhorses of military parades are nowhere to be found; Jesus is not going to engage in a military conquest of Rome. In fact, in Matthew 21 Jesus deliberately acts out the prophecy in order to proclaim that he is Messiah—only a far different kind than the one of popular hopes. The King has come, humble and sitting on a donkey.


He will seek out and rescue the sheep

As a shepherd seeks out his sheep on the day he is among his scattered flock, so I will seek out My sheep. I will rescue them out of all the places where they have been scattered, on a day of cloud and thick darkness.

—Ezekiel 34:12

I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

—John 10:11

Ezekiel 34 is a strong prophetic word that portrays the leaders of Israel as false shepherds who feed themselves at the expense of their own flocks. (Israel is frequently depicted in the Bible as a flock.) In contrast, God will raise up a faithful and true shepherd (34:23), “One Shepherd over them, My servant David.” By Ezekiel’s time, David was long dead; the idea is that this coming shepherd will be a David-like figure.

In John 10, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, and contrasts himself with the current leadership, whom he compares to “thieves and robbers” (v. 8). The allusion to Ezekiel 34 is unmistakable (“one shepherd” appears in both John 10:16 and Ezekiel 34:23). Jesus, descended from David, will rule his people with justice and compassion. John 10:14–15 speaks of the intimate relationship Jesus has with his flock; 10:15 and 17–18 refer to his death; and 10:16 may allude to the incorporation of Gentiles into God’s people. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus saves his flock from the predations of sin in this world—starting now and much more fully when he returns.


He will bear our grief and pain

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our pains. Yet we esteemed Him stricken, struck by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities. The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

—Isaiah 53:4–5

So was fulfilled what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, “He Himself took our sicknesses and carried away our diseases.”

—Matthew 8:17

Isaiah 52:13–53:12 depicts the Suffering Servant as one who is despised and rejected by others and yet who undergoes affliction and death on their behalf—specifically, for their sins. Through what he has done, the Servant brings shalom, which necessarily entails spiritual healing, for, as Isaiah 48:22 reminds us, “There is no shalom … for the wicked.”

Matthew understands the fulfillment of the verses in terms of Jesus’ ministry of physical healing. Here the physical and the spiritual are closely connected. Isaiah 33:24 speaks of a time when “no inhabitant will say, ‘I am sick.’ The people dwelling there will be forgiven their iniquity.” Isaiah 35:5–6, quoted elsewhere in the New Testament, announces that physical healing is a manifestation of the messianic age. And in the preceding verse (Matthew 8:16), demonic oppression is coupled with physical healing, again demonstrating the close physical-spiritual connection.

Jesus’ healings during his ministry do not ensure freedom from physical ills at all times and all places; but being made spiritually whole through Jesus guarantees our eventual wholeness in all areas of life.


Be raised from death

I have set Adonai always before me.
Since He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
So my heart is glad and my soul rejoices.
My body also rests secure.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol
nor let Your faithful one see the Pit.
You make known to me the path of life.
Abundance of joys are in Your presence,
eternal pleasures at Your right hand.

—Psalm 16:8–11

Remember Yeshua the Messiah, raised from the dead, from the seed of David—according to my Good News.

—2 Timothy 2:8

In Psalm 16, David appears to be in danger of losing his life, for he asks God to preserve him (v. 1), and speaks of going down to the grave (v. 10). Yet throughout the psalm he manifests the joy of trusting in the Lord (vv. 3, 6, 9, 11). In verse 10 his trust extends to life beyond the grave, “in Your presence” (v. 11). But how so? In Acts 2:24–32, Peter claims that David was really speaking of Jesus, who rose from the dead and therefore did not see “the Pit,” or in other translations, “corruption.” David, Peter declares, has a well-known tomb, but he was a prophet who believed that God could raise even his descendant, the Messiah, from the grave.

There may be a parallel in Hebrews 11:17–19. There the story of Abraham offering up Isaac as a (near) sacrifice is recounted—the very son through whom Abraham was supposed to have a multitude of descendants. Yet Abraham had faith to believe that Isaac could be raised even from the dead if that was what it would take to fulfill God’s promise. Could David have likewise trusted God to raise his descendant so that he might rule forevermore? Peter thought so, and convinced his listeners of this as well (Acts 2:37–39). Years later, Paul called on Timothy (see 2 Timothy 2:8) to remember the resurrected Jesus as an encouragement that his sufferings as Jesus’ follower would be followed by victory.


Be the rejected cornerstone

Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai—
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Adonai.
We bless you from the House of Adonai.

—Psalm 118:26

Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’”

—Matthew 21:42

Psalm 118 is recited during several Jewish festivals, including Passover. In Matthew 21:8–9, Psalm 118:25–26 is the cry of the crowd in the days before Passover as they greet Jesus with acclamation. Later in the same chapter, Jesus tells the Jewish leadership a parable directed against them (not against the entire Jewish people!); he intimates that because of their response to Jesus, they will be replaced as shepherds and spiritual leaders.

The parable culminates in verse 42, where Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22–23. Those two verses remind us that God often makes those whom others would normally reject into “cornerstones” for His plans. Think of the slave people Israel becoming God’s vehicle for bringing His salvation to the world; of God’s frequent choice of siblings other than the firstborn through whom He works his will; and of the rejected Servant (Isaiah 52:13–53:12) who becomes highly exalted.

It is in this last sense that Jesus speaks of himself in Matthew 21. The rejected one has indeed come in the name of the Lord, and has become the cornerstone of new lives and a new world.