Prophecies of Jesus

Today's gospel reading (Luke 24.13-35) features the story of a pair of disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus walks with them, but they do not recognise him. He asks what they are talking about, and they tell him about the prophet Jesus, who was crucified. A "vision of angels" had announced that Jesus was alive, but he had not yet been seen.
Then [Jesus] said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. (Luke 24.25-27)
There are a lot of Christians who are really impressed with the New Testament references to Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. If one forgets that the writers of the gospels had access to, and were familiar with, the Jewish scriptures, then I suppose the correspondence between some of the events in the New Testament and certain passages from the Hebrew Bible might indeed be very compelling.

When we remember that the evangelists actually knew the Jewish scriptures, the alleged "prophecies" become much less impressive, however. In an article entitled "Did Jesus Fulfill Prophecy?," Robert J. Miller explores the "proof-from-prophecy theme" in the Gospel of Matthew, the New Testament text that "carries it out most thoroughly and most explicitly."

This idea that the story of Jesus was foretold in the Hebrew scriptures, and that Jesus's status as Messiah should therefore be apparent to anyone familiar with said scriptures, has a long association with Christian anti-semitism, as the Jewish people have long been accused of "blindness" for having failed to recognised the promised Messiah in the person of Jesus.

I highly recommend reading Miller's article, which is available here.

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