Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Messiah’s Passion Foretold

Gordon Robertson - President and CEO, CBN

Jesus gave Himself for us just as the Scriptures foretold centuries earlier. As Jesus told the disciples on the road to Emmaus after He rose again, they were

“slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25)

The prophecies fulfilled on the cross include those in Psalm 22. This is a song of David and one of my favorite psalms. 

We can see it is a Messianic psalm even in the introduction. David asks the chief musician to play a particular melody for which the Hebrew translation is “morning star”—a symbol of the Messiah, the Chosen One who will come to redeem His people.

Psalm 22 begins, 

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? 

These are the very words Jesus spoke on the cross as recorded in Matthew 27:46. Jesus knew He was fulfilling what David said a thousand years before the event. 

Psalm 22:7-8 describes in detail what the people around the cross would say as the Messiah was dying: 

All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” 

This comes to pass in Matthew 27:41-42: 

Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” 

The detail becomes even more astounding. Psalm 22:12 says, 

Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. 

Bashan is a place in Israel with very good pasture land, so the bulls there grow big and beefy. This brings to mind the beefy Roman soldiers surrounding Jesus.

Even more importantly, the Hebrew translation for “encircled” is actually “crowned”—meaning that the “strong bulls of Bashan have crowned me”—a compelling image of the crown of thorns. 

We read in Matthew 27:27-29: 

Then the soldiers … stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 

Psalm 22:15 specifies what happens during crucifixion: 

My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.

During crucifixion, the body dries out and the tongue literally clings to the roof of the mouth. You cannot imagine the thirst created by crucifixion. 

John 19:28 tells us: 

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 

Jesus knew what was in Psalm 22 before He went to the cross. He knew what He would suffer, and here He fulfills what David wrote.

The psalm continues to describe crucifixion in verse 16, saying, They pierced my hands and my feet.

We know this happened to Jesus because doubting Thomas said, 

“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25)

And Thomas lost his doubts when Jesus told him, 

"Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27)

We also read in Psalm 22:18, 

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

This speaks of both dividing and casting lots. 

John 19:23-24 tells us, 

 "Then the soldiers … took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it.”  

It’s incredible to realize the detail of that prophecy a thousand years before the event, saying that not only will the clothing be divided, but one piece won’t be divided and lots will be cast for it.  

However, one part of Psalm 22’s prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. Verses 27-28 tell us: 

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations

Here is the final Messianic prophecy—that all the earth will hear. And who has that commission? Jesus gave it to us when He told His followers, 

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” 

 It’s up to us to tell the nations what Jesus has done on the cross, that everyone can know the Lord and worship Him as the King of Kings. God bless you!

© Copyright Gordon Robertson.

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