Today's guest blogger is Jason Huffman. Jason is a prolific Tweeter, a youth pastor in Texas, and author of the blog Thoughts On Life, God & Ministry. You can find him at http://jasonbhuffman.wordpress.com/ Thanks for joining us, Jason!
As part of The 40 Day Adventure, my friend Carl asked me if I would take an Old Testament prophecy about Christ and expound upon it. It didn’t take long for me to think of one. My favorite “prophecy” passage is Psalm 22. One reason this is so dear to me is that prophecy didn’t normally come from the Psalms. This was a book of poems and songs that shared what the writer, usually David, was experiencing. This passage was also referenced by Jesus himself as he hung on the cross. No other Psalm is quoted as frequently in the New Testament. In order to keep this post shorter, I will allow you to look it up for yourself. I was trained to study the Bible from a more conservative perspective, so I may interpret things a bit different than some. But old habits die hard. And some of the things I find in this passage do not require a ton of research. They more or less jump out at the reader.
If you are familiar with the events of the crucifixion, it doesn’t take long to discover the parallels between this text and the events of Christ’s death. Even the first verse, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” was quoted by Christ on the cross (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34). This was a common practice in Hebrew culture. The people were so fluent in their knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures that a reference to one verse often implied the meaning of the entire passage.
I can only imagine what circumstances David was experiencing that led him to write these verses. Was it at a time when he had many detractors due to his own moral failures? Was it a time when Saul and his armies were in pursuit of him? I haven’t been able to find out, but the parallels are unmistakable. Much has been made of the translations of this passage. Some scholars claim that Christian translations have moved too far from the original Hebrew, especially on verses that would specifically apply to crucifixion, such as verse 16 which says, “The pierce my hands and feet.” How could David’s metaphor be so specific as to mention the specific details of crucifixion? But even if the translators messed up the specifics of the passage entirely, a loose translation still points directly to the cross. Here are some of the verses that are fulfilled in the New Testament.
Verse 1 is quoted from the cross in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34.
Verse 7 is fulfilled in Matthew 27:39-40, Mark 15:30-32, and Luke 23:35 when the guards tell Jesus to save himself “if he is the son of God”
The bulls, lions, and dogs of verses 12,13, and 15 are clearly portrayed in the crucifixion scene by the Roman soldiers and the crowd who implement the punishment of Christ and mock him as he dies.
The dislocation of bones referenced in verse 14 was a common effect from crucifixion as the cross was dropped into the hole with the accused attached. When the main beam hit the bottom of the hole, the jolt often caused bones to be pulled out of joint.
Verse 15 makes reference to being thirsty, which is also referenced in Matthew 27:34 and Mark 15:23.
Casting lots for his clothes in verse 18 is referenced in all four gospels, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, and John 19:23-24
Verses 27-31, while they were originally written about Yahweh, through the eyes of the New Testament clearly point to the status of Jesus, the Messiah, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All of the rich, the poor, and everyone in between, “will one day bow, and every tongue confess” (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11)
But as I re-visited this passage again, today, a new verse jumped out at me—verse 31. “They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it!” Who will proclaim whose righteousness because he has done what? I thought you’d never ask. This is where the groaning of David’s heart, possibly unbeknownst to him, cried out on our behalf! We are the people who were “yet unborn.” Those who have put their faith in Christ have proclaimed his righteousness to us! Christ has done it! He has taken our sin upon himself. “He (God) made him who knew no sin (Jesus) to become sin for us, that in him, we might become the righteousness of God!” -2 Cor. 5:21.
That is why we celebrate Lent. That is why we celebrate the cross. Because God did for us, through Jesus Christ, what we were unable to do for ourselves. Thanks be to God, for “He has done it!”
He Is Risen!