Monday, March 29, 2010

Messianic Prophecy: Part One

There's six days until Easter and I'm thinking about some of the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus that have been fulfilled in the New Testament. I bet there's a lot of people who don't realize how many times the Old Testament talks about Messiah---or don't understand why that's even a big deal.

The big deal is that the most recent Old Testament book was written over 400 years before Christ was born---and many of them were written a thousand years or more before His birth. Scholars have estimated there to be around 300 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament--many of them are contained in those books that are a thousand years older than the Messiah they reference. This is all a big deal because this gives us more evidence for a solid belief in the truth of the Bible and the truth of Jesus as the Messiah the Jews were looking for!

Tonight I took some time to study Psalm 22. This was written by David, right around 1,000 years before Jesus' birth. I've copied the Psalm in it's entirety at the end of this post for your reference. Here are some of the ways in which God speaks through David to describe the Messiah's death---each of these are things that Jesus actually experienced, 10 centuries later, on the cross:

*v. 22:1--"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus said this as He was dying on the cross. See Matthew 27:46.

*v. 22:6-7--"despised by the people, sneered at Him" The four New Testament gospels are full of instances where Jesus was despised by the people. In fact, when Pilate asked the crowd whether he should release the murderer Barabbas or Jesus, the crowd shouted for the release of Barabbas. Pilate asked them what evil He had done and they had no answer but to demand his crucifixion: see Luke 23:15-24.

*v. 22:8--"Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, because He delights in him". This is almost word for word what the mockers at the cross say in Matthew 27:43.

*v. 22:14--"poured out like water" Water poured from Jesus' side after the soldier stabbed him in John 19:34; "all my bones are out of joint" Imagine how Jesus' body was pulled out of joint as he was yanked around and fastened to the cross. Imagine how many places his arms were pulled out of joint as the weight of His body strained them once He was upright.

*v. 22:16--"They pierced my hands and my feet" The very act of crucifixion.

*v. 22:18--"They divide up my clothing/cast lots" This detail is interesting---I wonder if God just put it there as a minor issue to solidify this prophecy years later. This is mentioned in all four gospels: Matt 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34 and John 19:24.

I hope this short study inspires you to do your own investigation and see what other Old Testament prophecies about Jesus you can find!

Psalm 22 (New American Standard Bible)

A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise.
For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David.
1My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
2O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest.
3Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
4In You our fathers trusted;
They trusted and You delivered them.
5To You they cried out and were delivered;
In You they trusted and were not disappointed.
6But I am a worm and not a man,
A reproach of men and despised by the people.
7All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
8"Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."
9Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb;
You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts.
10Upon You I was cast from birth;
You have been my God from my mother's womb.
11Be not far from me, for trouble is near;
For there is none to help.
12Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within me.
15My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me in the dust of death.
16For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
17I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
18They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.
19But You, O LORD, be not far off;
O You my help, hasten to my assistance.
20Deliver my soul from the sword,
My only life from the power of the dog.
21Save me from the lion's mouth;
From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.
22I will tell of Your name to my brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
23You who fear the LORD, praise Him;
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.
24For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.
25From You comes my praise in the great assembly;
I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.
26The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the LORD
Let your heart live forever!
27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations will worship before You.
28For the kingdom is the LORD'S
And He rules over the nations.
29All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship,
All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.
30Posterity will serve Him;
It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.
31They will come and will declare His righteousness
To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.
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