My God, My God, Why have You Forsaken Me? #Easter #Resurrection #Prophecy

I was reading Psalm 22 today in my daily readings, a psalm of David. Scholars believe the psalm was written about 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus. The psalm contains at least 11 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. And the final verse of the chapter, I believe, is a prophecy He is still fulfilling to this day.

Anyone who has heard the story of Jesus’ death probably knows the first prophecy found in Psalm 22:1–

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? …

Psalm 22:1 (ESV)

When a rabbi or a religious leader wanted to reference a passage of scripture they were teaching on, routinely, they would reference the first verse or line of a chapter. Jesus did this when he preached in the synagogue in the town of Galilee (Luke 4:14-22). He opens the scroll of Isaiah 61 and reads the first two verses:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)

To the astonishment of some and the outrage of the religious establishment of his day, Jesus declares that this prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled in their hearing (Luke 14:21). The people who were there listening to Jesus would understand that Jesus didn’t refer just to those first two verses of Isaiah 61 but the rest of that chapter as well, which is described as “The Year of the Lord’s Favor.”

Similar to his preaching in the synagogue in Galilee, Jesus is declaring as he is hanging on the cross, that the fulfillment of the rest of Psalm 22 is being accomplished (Matthew 27:46).

Here are some of the prophecies I would highlight:

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

Psalm 22:6 (ESV)

Parallel scripture in Matthew 27:

And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 27:30-31 (ESV)

The scorn, the mocking, the disgrace that Jesus endured leading up to His crucifixion was a payment for the dishonor we do to God when we sin. Jesus took on that dishonor to remove it from us. Taking it upon himself.

The next two verses in Psalm 22 says:

All who see me mock me;
    they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
    let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Psalm 22:7-8 (ESV)

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads

Matthew 27:39 (ESV)

And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

Luke 23:35 (ESV)

The mob jeering at Jesus was piling on when the religious rulers had Jesus delivered over to Pilate to be crucified. Not only that, but some, who were expecting a different kind of king may have been disappointed that Jesus was not a war hero ready to lead a rebellion against Rome. They didn’t understand Jesus, nor did they understand why He was there and what His mission on earth was. They didn’t understand a humble and meek king who would lay down His life to save those He loved.

For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet–

Psalm 22:16 (ESV)

Jesus is wrongfully accused, betrayed, mistreated, and ultimately crucified by the chief priests, the elders, the multitude, the Roman soldiers, and even the thief on the cross next to him. He was crucified, hung up on a cross by the wrist bone in the hand and by the bone at the top of the feet. It is an excruciating death where every breath causes immense pain as tendons and flesh are ripped in the feet and hands.

they divide my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.

Psalm 22:18 (ESV)

And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 

Matthew 27:35 (ESV)

Not only is Jesus crucified, but he is stripped naked, and the soldiers fight over who gets his clothes. It is another indignity, but also it is another fulfillment of a prophecy from a thousand years before.

The last prophecy I want to mention and highlight here is the best part. It is what we celebrate on Easter, Resurrection Sunday.

they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it.

Psalm 22:31 (ESV)

The final words Jesus utters before he surrendered His spirit:

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30 (ESV)

Jesus accomplished all that he set out to do on the cross. He died for all the sins of the world that any who would confess, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in their heart they would be saved (Romans 10:9). Jesus died. He was put in the grave and on the third day He rose from the dead.

The resurrection is Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

Jesus did not stay dead. Jesus endured the cross so that He could save those who love Him and follow Him. That those who believe could be raised up with Him. He foresaw the coming joy of seeing His children saved. Jesus ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God as the reigning king. The prophecies of a king, in the line of David that would rule forever, were also fulfilled in Jesus (2 Samuel 7:16).

But now the part of the prophecy that is still being fulfilled: “they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.” We celebrate Easter every year to fulfill this ongoing prophecy. Declaring what Jesus did, fulfilling all righteousness, as the spotless lamb sacrificed for the sin of the world. David was prophesying about Jesus’ coming, His victory, and His accomplishment of ransoming the world, but now, even 3,000 years later, we are still proclaiming the victory of Jesus Christ!


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