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The Fulfillment of the Prophecies about the Messiah

The numbers of Hebrews that were spiritually prepared for the acceptance of the Messiah can be seen from the first chapters of the Gospel of St. Luke. There, the Holy Virgin Mary, the righteous Elizabeth, the priest Zechariah, the righteous Simeon, the prophetess Anna and many citizens of Jerusalem linked the birth of Jesus with the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, of the forgiveness of sins, of the overthrow of the proud and the elevation of the meek, about the restoration of the Testament with God, about the service of Israel to God with a pure heart. After Jesus Christ began to preach, the Gospel witnesses the ease with which many sympathetic hearts of the Jews recognized in Him the promised Messiah, which they related to their acquaintances, for instance, the apostles Andrew and Philip, later — Nathaniel and Peter (John 1:40-44).

     Jesus Christ declared Himself the Messiah and attributed the predictions of the prophets to Himself, for example: the prediction of Isaiah about the Spirit of the Lord, Which was to descend on the Messiah (Is. 61:1; Luke 4:18). He alluded to Isaiah’s prediction about the healing of the infirm by the Messiah (Is. 35:5-7; Mt. 11:5). Jesus praised Apostle Peter for calling Him Christ, the Son of the Living God, and promised to build His Church on faith in Him (Mt. 16:16). He told the Judeans that they should delve into the Scriptures, because the Scriptures witness of Him (John 5:39). He also said that He is the Stone, Who is to sit on the right hand of the Father, alluding to Psalm 110 (Mt. 22:44). Jesus Christ also said that He was theStone” cast out by thebuilders,” alluding to the well-known prediction in Psalm 118 (Mt. 21:42). Before His sufferings Jesus Christ reminded His followers that “that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me” (Luke 22:37, Is. 53rd ch.). During the trial before Caiaphas, to the direct question of the high priest whether he is “Christ, the Son of God,” Christ answered in the affirmative and reminded him of the prophecy of Daniel about the Son of Man (Matt. 26:63-64, Dan. 7:13), and His acknowledgment served as the formal reason for His condemnation to death. After His resurrection form the dead, Christ reproached His apostles for being “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25). In a word, Jesus Christ right from the beginning of His public service, even to His sufferings of the Cross and after His resurrection, declared Himself the Messiah, promised by the prophets.

     If Christ shunned referring to Himself directly as the Messiah when among people, and only cited prophecies about Him, He did this by reason of the coarse and distorted representations of the Messiah which had become established among the people. Christ in every way avoided worldly glory and interference in political life.

     Due to their belittling dependence on Rome, many Jews wished the Messiah to be a mighty warrior-king, who would give them political independence, glory and earthly blessings. Jesus came in order to evince in people a spiritual rebirth. He promised heavenly blessings, not earthly blessings, as a reward for a virtuous life. This was the reason why many Jews rejected Christ.

     Although the apostles before the crucifixion of Christ faintheartedly wavered in their faith in Him, after the resurrection of Christ from the dead they no longer had any doubts that He was the Messiah promised by God. After the resurrection their faith in Him was so strengthened, that they were ready to give and truly gave their lives for Christ. The apostles in their letters constantly mentioned the ancient prophecies about the Messiah in order to convince the Jews of the verity of the Christian faith. For this reason, their word, notwithstanding the disbelief and opposition mainly of the high priests and scribes, had such great success at first among the Jews, then later — among the Gentiles. Toward the end of the first century the Christian faith had spread to almost all the ends of the vast Roman empire.

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