But more than historical evidence, there's evidence that He was everything that He claimed to be, because of the prophecies fulfilled in the Old Testament.
There are hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament that predict the first coming of the Messiah, the Christ. All of these were written centuries before Jesus was born. The book of Zechariah was written over 500 years before Christ, Daniel was written 600 BC, the book of Isaiah was written 700 years BC and David wrote the book of Psalms over 1000 years before Jesus walked the earth.
The Spirit of God inspired the authors of these books and allowed them to look down the corridors of time to accurately describe specific events that would occur hundreds of years in the future. To have Jesus emerge in a way that fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies is God's way of saying, "You can trust Jesus. He is the one I sent."
There are said to be over 300 fulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus. Now what do you think the possibilities are that an individual could be born and could fulfil all of these many prophecies? What are the odds of that? Especially prophecies that were made about Him before He came to this world; prophecies concerning His birth, His life and His death, that He as a man would have no control over.
Do you think a man could be born and fulfil all these? Let's look at some of these prophecies, and see what they have to say. The Bible is very pointed, it tells us clearly where Jesus was going to be born, it wasn't just by chance, He couldn't just be born any place, it had to be at a particular time and in a particular place.
Micah 5:2 "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
The prophecy called the place by name and said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Now it's one thing to say that the Messiah is going to be born in Bethlehem, but the Bible goes on further and eliminates thousands and thousands of people, by saying He had to be born of a virgin:
Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
These scriptures were written many years before He was born, which said he had to be born in Bethlehem, and that He had to be born of a virgin.
When it came to His death, the scriptures had much to say about this – the time of His death and how He would die. In Isaiah 53 it says:
Isaiah 53:3 "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
The scriptures also said He would be rejected by His own people. Jesus, this man, who claims to be the Son of God, comes to His own people and they reject Him, they would not believe in Him.
John 1:11 "He came unto his own, and his own received him not."
It even predicted the fact that one of His disciples, His friend, would betray Him; the one that would dip the bread in the bowl with Him, that very one would betray Him exactly as it had been foretold in the word of God.
Psalm 41:9 "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."
Not only did it say that His friend would betray Him, but, it told exactly how much he would betray Him for. What do you think the odds are that one individual could be picked out and that that one individual would betray Him, and that that very individual would sell Him for thirty pieces of silver?
Zechariah 11:12 "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver."
This is evidence. These things were prophesied in God's word hundreds of years before, and no one else but Jesus fulfilled all these many prophecies.
Isaiah prophesies of His trial and what He would go through...
Isaiah 50:6 "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting."
Here He is taken by Roman soldiers, these are not Jews, but Roman soldiers, they put a crown of thorns on His head, they twined their fingers in his beard, pulled his beard, they spat in His face. All that the scriptures had foretold would happen, did happen. Unbeknown to these Romans, they were fulfilling prophecy.
Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
Zechariah predicated here they would pierce Him. In John we see a Roman soldier take a spear and pierce the side of Son of God.
John 19:34 "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water."
All these things were prophesied in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. Also in Psalms it tells us...
Psalm 22:17 "I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me."
Psalm 34:20 "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken."
The two thieves that had been crucified with Jesus had their legs broken to hasten their death, but they did not break the bones of Jesus...
John 19:31-33 "31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:"
They didn't break Jesus' bones, it had been prophesied in scripture that not one of His bones would be broken.
All these things were prophesied. And now we come to a prophecy that says exactly when the Messiah would appear on the scene of action.
Daniel 9:25 "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
Here it tells us that from the time the decree (commandment) went forth, until the Messiah the Price, there would be a definite period of time.
Jesus was born exactly on time, He fulfilled this prophecy perfectly.
God's word not only prophesised about His death, it foretold His coming out of the grave.
Psalm 49:15 "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah."
This spoke of His resurrection from the grave, exactly as had been foretold in the Word of God. You see, when you take the scriptures and you begin to open them up, all the way from Genesis to Revelation the Bible does one thing - it points to Jesus.
Some people mistakenly feel that the Bible is Israel-centred, but it's not, it is Messiah-centred, it centres all around Jesus Christ in every way, all the things that He did, all that He gave. If you were to take out of the Bible all of the prophecies, and then take out all of the miracles, all you would have left is just a book of philosophy.
You see it's the prophecies, it's the miracles, that bring God's word to life, that make it divine - all these things that were prophesied and which happened exactly as the word of God foretold. And it's these things that help you and I to believe in Jesus, that He was who He claimed to be - the Son of God; because no other book has been 100% accurate as has the Bible - the inspired word of God.
John 13:19 "Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he."
Jesus said; I told you these things beforehand, so that when they happen, you can believe. Now Jesus prophesied many, many things that were going to happen, here are just a couple of them, things that took place exactly as He said.
He told of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem before it happened. He made some statements about the temple that in a way cost Him His life; this is what He said...
Luke 19:43 "For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side."
Here Jesus is talking about Jerusalem. He says their enemies will come up and surround the city and build an embankment, and that's exactly what the Roman general did. He decided he would not try and take them by force, but starve them out. The horrors at that period of time were almost beyond description, as people were kept in that city staving. But finally the Roman General could take it no longer and he gave orders for his army to go in and take the city, but he told them not to touch the temple...
Luke 19:44 "And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
Jesus said there would not be one stone left on top of another. The temple had stones in that were huge, thick, several feet across, several feet high, weighing tons. And Jesus said there would not be one stone left upon another.
History tells us that in the midst of that battle while they were fighting, one of the soldiers threw a fire brand, it went through the window of the temple and caught the curtains on fire, and pretty soon the cedar walls were burning. Now many of the temple walls were overlaid with gold. Josephus, the historian, said there was enough gold inside that city to lower the price on the world market by 50%.
As the temple burnt, the gold ran down into the cracks and crevices of the rocks, so that after Jerusalem was destroyed people came in and pried every stone off the top of the other in order to obtain the gold, just exactly as Jesus said it would be. He had predicted that not one stone would be left upon another, and that is exactly what happened.
Concerning one of His disciples Peter, he had this to say about what was going to happen to him and what would take place in his life...
John 21:17-18 "17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not."
Christ forgave Peter three times because Peter had denied him three times. Jesus also foretold Peter's death. He said to Peter; when you are old they will stretch out your hands and carry you where you do not want to go. Exactly as Jesus said was the way that Peter gave his life. They crucified Peter, spread out his hands and crucified him, just as his Master had been crucified, except Peter said he was not worthy to be crucified as his Lord had been crucified, and requested that they crucify him upside down.
You see, Jesus predicted many, many things in the Bible. He said that when it comes to pass you might believe.