Why Jesus?

[Published in Woodward Newspaper, Dec. 25, 2021]

Thousands of years ago no one had ever heard the name of Jesus. His name wasn’t mentioned during the holidays. Oh yes, people on this earth were expecting a Messiah, a Savior. But they didn't quite know who He was, or what His name would be.

People knew “the seed” of a woman would deliver us from sin, evil, and death (Gen. 3:15). They knew He’d take our place, giving His life for ours (Gen. 22:13; Isaiah 53). One thousand years before His time, King David prophesied Messiah would have His hands and His feet pierced, in death for us (Psalm 22:15-16). Around 800 BC, the prophet Isaiah said to expect a Son, a great King, born to Hebrew parents, of the lineage of David, born by a miracle, born as not only a man, but as God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7).

The prophet Micah, around 700 BC mentioned his eternal, ancient existence, and his future birth to be in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Messiah would have to fit all these points, or he simply couldn’t be the One.

Around 600 BC, the prophet Daniel was shown that Messiah must appear to perform His work in 27 AD. No, he didn't say "27 AD." He said it would be 483 years from the "decree" to rebuild Jerusalem and its wall (Daniel 9:25). That was 457 BC when the decree went forth (7th year of Artaxerxes, the Persian king; Ezra 7:7). Luke 3:1-3, 21-23 confirm that Jesus began His public ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. Yes, that was 27 AD; the precise year prophesied to Daniel for Messiah to appear.

Why Jesus? Because no one else on the planet can possibly fit all these prophecies except for Him! He had to be born in Bethlehem, born a son, born Hebrew, of Davidic lineage, do ministry in the first century AD, be God or His Divine Son, and die for humankind with his “hands and His feet pierced.” Who else but Jesus can possibly fit all these prophecies?

Not to mention, he had to fulfill the role of the Passover Lamb (Jesus died on Passover), be numbered with criminals, buried in a rich man’s tomb, and live again (Isaiah 53). Even His enemies couldn’t deny that His body was gone from the tomb – a tomb heavily guarded by Roman soldiers. How can that all happen, unless you really are the Messiah, the Savior of humanity? And that’s not all, but space would fail us to write it!

No imposter or claimed professor to be “Jesus” or “Messiah” can ever fit. None do. So, why did He come? He came to deliver humankind from sin, from death, and from suffering. Yes, we still have these in our world today. But Jesus and Bible prophecy claim that He will come again soon to eradicate them forever! If Jesus fulfilled all prophecies pointing to His first century appearance, why wouldn’t He fulfill in precise detail the prophecies for our time as well? He certainly will! (Isaiah 9:6-7). Trust the “sure word of prophecy” and know His love (2 Peter 1:19).

But a deeper question remains. If Jesus is all this to humanity, why don’t we receive Him? If not our ignorance, perhaps it is only our pride, or our cherished sin. The same was prophesied of many first century Jewish leaders who closed their hearts to Jesus (Isaiah 53:1-4). Will we be as calloused? Rather, may we give our hearts to the One who gave His for ours.

Pastor Ben Burkhardt

Woodward Seventh-day Adventist Church