What Convinced People that Jesus was the Messiah? That’s great question. Let’s see what the Bible has to say.
John the Baptist has sent us to You (Jesus), saying,
‘Are You the One who is coming,
or shall we look for another?’
The Jews of Jesus’ time expected their Messiah. But how would they know who He was when He came? Many claimed that they were the Messiah at that time, but they were not.
They knew their Messiah would be a direct physical descendant of King David, and Jesus was. But He wasn’t the only one in David’s line. So, what convinced the people of Jesus’ time that He was the promised Messiah? Surprisingly, people were convinced by various proofs.
Old Testament Predictions
The Old Testament predicted that certain things would happen when the Messiah came:
“And on that day the deaf shall hear…and the eyes of the blind shall see (Isaiah 29:18).”
And John the Baptist knew those predictions:
“So Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor. Blessed is he who does not fall away on account of Me (Luke 7:22-23).”
John believed that Jesus was “The One who is coming” because Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament predictions.
A woman from Samaria was looking for distinctive proof. Samaritans were a multi-racial people group with partial Jewish heritage. The Jews looked down on Samaritans and, when possible, avoided their territory and any interactions with them. But Jesus didn’t follow those rules, so He crossed that racial divide and spoke with this woman. He told her He knew of all her past “husbands (relationships with men)”:
“The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He (John 4:25-26).”
At this point, she abruptly left Jesus, went into town, and told her neighbors about Jesus:
“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ (John 4:29-30)?”
The Samaritans all looked for the same proof. And many were convinced:
“Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did (John 4:39).”
The Samaritans believed because there was “A Man who told me all things that I ever did.”
A Nobleman in Israel had a son who was terminally ill. As a group, Jews are impressed by signs (miracles) that prove God’s message and messengers.
“The nobleman said to Him (Jesus), “Sir, come down before my child dies (John 4:49).”
The Apostle Paul, a Jew himself, admitted this truth, saying, “For the Jews require a sign (to believe) (1 Corinthians 1:22):”
“Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe….Go your way. Your son lives (John 4:48,50).”
“And the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and (on his way home) his servants met him and told him, “Your son lives…Yesterday at the seventh hour, the fever left him.”Then the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” So he and his whole household believed (John 4:51-53).”
The nobleman and his family believed because Jesus healed his terminally ill son.
A crowd of five thousand men, not counting the women and children, listened to Jesus teach all day. And now it was evening, but meager food was available. Jesus had the disciples inventory the supplies: A boy had five barley loaves and two fish. “But what are they among so many (John 6:9)?”
But Jesus told them to distribute the scant supplies. After the crowd had eaten its fill, the disciples collected twelve large baskets of leftovers!
“When those men saw the sign which He had done, they then said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Therefore, knowing that they would come and take Him by force to make Him king, Jesus departed again (John 6:14-15).”
The crowd believed because Jesus fed them from limited supplies.
Even after Jesus fed the five thousand, the Jewish leaders weren’t satisfied with Jesus’ miraculous provision of bread.
“The Pharisees came up and began to debate with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven to test Him (Mark 8:11).”
“What sign do You show then, that we may see and believe You? What work will You perform? Our fathers ate manna in the desert. As it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat (John 6:30-31).”
The leaders wanted Jesus to provide bread the way Moses did when God provided the manna that fed them for forty years while they wandered in the wilderness. They thought Moses did that miracle, and since the manna came directly from heaven, Moses providing the manna was a superior miracle. But where did they believe the bread Jesus provided came from?
“He (Jesus) sighed deeply in His spirit and said, “Why does this generation look for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation (Mark 8:12).”
The Jewish leaders wouldn’t believe even when Jesus gave them the heavenly sign they requested.
Jesus raised several people from the dead. Lazarus of Bethany was one, and he’d been dead for four days before Jesus brought him to life:
“When many of the Jews learned that He (Lazarus) was there, they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus (John 12:9-11).”
Many people believe in Jesus because He rose from the dead.
“If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead (Luke 16:31).”
Yet, some still refuse to believe.
Rising from the dead was the ultimate sign. Is that enough for you? If not, ask yourself, “Is there anything that would be?”