Psalms 22 Why Have You Abandoned Me
Psalms 22:1-31 NLTse My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (2) Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. (3) Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. (4) Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. (5) They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced. (6) But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! (7) Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, (8) “Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!” (9) Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. (10) I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born. (11) Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. (12) My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! (13) Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. (14) My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. (15) My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. (16) My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. (17) I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. (18) They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing. (19) O LORD, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! (20) Save me from the sword; spare my precious life from these dogs. (21) Snatch me from the lion’s jaws and from the horns of these wild oxen. (22) I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people. (23) Praise the LORD, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel! (24) For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. (25) I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. (26) The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. (27) The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. (28) For royal power belongs to the LORD. He rules all the nations. (29) Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust. (30) Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. (31) His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.
Almost everyone familiar with the Bible will know this prophecy David wrote points directly to Christ on the cross. I have to sit and wonder, and pray, asking why God arranged the prophecies about Jesus in this order. We clearly see God repeating Himself and we know when God repeats Himself, we better pay attention. The last lesson was not placed in the previous position by mistake. It showed how the priests ignored messages from Jesus, who always pointed them back to scripture and God’s Spirit, who has always been more than willing to show them the proper interpretation of the prophecies pointing to Jesus their Messiah. As I’m writing this, I can see there are a number of details I still don’t understand. It’s encouraging to see how God arranged these prophecies so we can go back and review the subject to see what we’ve missed. This reminds us of two important Bible Study rules. Always look back and God will only teach us what we’re ready for. When we get too much information at one time we tend to forget many of the details. Getting too much information at once also gives us a tendency to rely on ourselves. Then there’s the fact God’s Spirit is developing a personal relationship with us. Part of that relationship is to bridge a need between both parties. Once the key words are highlighted in Psalm 22, we see how important the words trust, praise and hear are in this prophecy. You may be asking how God’s Spirit needs you. We see the answer in the last verses. Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.
I don’t think anyone can write about Psalm 22 without paying particular attention to the first verse. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Once we pray about this verse, we see how it relates to us in more than one way. You have to ask yourself, why and how would Jesus think God abandoned Him? We also think about the times we felt abandoned. Most of us face financial problems, marriage problems, problems with kids, neighbors, work related problems, taxes, mortgages, bills, people who get on our nerves, people who take advantage of us, problems with relationships, weather, natural disasters, wars, crime, drugs, the list seems to never end. We all have times when it seems like God forgot all about us, or we look back and ask what we did wrong. This is Jesus’ way of showing us, He’s been in the same boat. The world was getting to Him. It gets to us and Jesus wants us to know, He knows how we feel, no matter how bad things get – Jesus prayed this when He was on the cross.
It’s strange to see David begin a prayer like this. Usually he begins with a praise to God. This one is not David’s usual style. That’s to show us, its okay to put our needs in front of God’s praise when the time is right. This is also the easiest prophecy to find associated New Testament texts. Based on the details, it’s not difficult to see how this prophecy points to Jesus on the cross. When we see that, we also think of where the fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded. All four gospels record Jesus’ crucifixion. Which one is the correct parallel chapter or will all four provide details? Is God’s Spirit leading us into a new lesson in Bible Study? It’s rare to see an entire chapter concentrate on a single prophecy. Of course we see why this one sets its own style in more ways than one. Since we realize the biggest mistake the priests made was to misjudge the prophecies about Jesus, it would be wise to look at all four gospels and compare the details so we don’t miss the lessons the priests who put Jesus on the cross missed. But first let’s look at some of the key words. I noticed how some of the key words are attached to phrases we need to look at.
trusted in you, and you rescued them
trusted in you and were never disgraced
Is this the one who relies on the LORD?
led me to trust you
you rescued them
They cried out to you and were saved.
Then let the LORD save him
let the LORD rescue him
Save me from the sword
spare my precious life from these dogs
enemies surround me like a herd of bulls
enemies surround me like a pack of dogs
enemies stare at me and gloat
proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters
praise you among your assembled people
Show him reverence
praise you in the great assembly
All who seek the LORD will praise him.
The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.
all you descendants of Jacob
Our children will also serve him.
Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
It’s amazing how key words and terms they’re associated with tell a story all their own. It’s God’s way of telling us to slow down when we study. When we trust in God we’re rescued and will never face disgrace. When we cry out to God, He saves us from the sword and dogs, all kinds of harm. This prophecy uses a list of symbols to represent enemies – bulls, dogs, lions, and oxen. Those symbols are used in other prophecies. Our attention is on the cross in this study. The cross is to be proclaimed to our brothers and sisters, physical and spiritual. Proclaimed to all people. Jesus praises God in Heaven by His sacrifice. We see how the message of the cross doesn’t stop here, but extends to Heaven. All who seek the LORD will praise him. The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. This includes all you descendants of Jacob, all the children who serve God, and all future generations who hear about the wonders of the Lord. The keys words in this prophecy explain a great deal about God’s plan of salvation, what part this world plays in it and what Jesus’ role is. It also explains our role, to proclaim the message to all the world. Now to look at New Testament scripture to see details about that message. The first detail to compare is scripture associated with and/or quoted in the New Testament.
Matthew 27:33-55 NLTse And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). (34) The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. (35) After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. (36) Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. (37) A sign was fastened to the cross above Jesus‘ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” (38) Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. (39) The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. (40) “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” (41) The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. (42) “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! (43) He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” (44) Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way. (44) At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. (46) At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (47) Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. (48) One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. (49) But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” (50) Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. (51) At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, (52) and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. (53) They left the cemetery after Jesus‘ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. (54) The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (55) And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance.
Mark 15:22-42 NLTse And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). (23) They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it. (24) Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. (25) It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. (26) A sign was fastened to the cross, announcing the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” (27) Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. (29) The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. (30) Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!” (31) The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! (32) Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him. (33) At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. (34) Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (35) Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. (36) One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!” (37) Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. (38) And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (39) When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” (40) Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. (41) They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there. (42) This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached,
Luke 23:27-49 NLTse A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. (28) But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. (29) For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ (30) People will beg the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and plead with the hills, ‘Bury us.’ (31) For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (32) Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. (33) When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified–one on his right and one on his left. (34) Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. (35) The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” (36) The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. (37) They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (38) A sign was fastened to the cross above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” (39) One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself–and us, too, while you’re at it!” (40) But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? (41) We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” (42) Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” (43) And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (44) By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. (45) The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. (46) Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. (47) When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” (48) And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. (49) But Jesus‘ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.
John 19:16-30 NLTse Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. (17) Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). (18) There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. (19) And Pilate posted a sign over him that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (20) The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. (21) Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews‘ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.'” (22) Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.” (23) When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. (24) So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it. This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did. (25) Standing near the cross were Jesus‘ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. (26) When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” (27) And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (28) Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” (29) A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. (30) When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.
Since we are dealing with verses from four books, we need to look at the similarities. The first detail we see repeated in all four Gospels is the location Jesus was crucified. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). What makes this detail so important? We see the answer in the books of Kings and Chronicles where the major details and deaths of Israel’s and Judah’s kings are recorded. Those books also recorded major events in the lives of kings. This is not uncommon. Historians and court recorders also recorded important events. Some are unbiased, others recorded only what they were told. God didn’t play favorites. He recorded achievements and victories as well as mistakes and defeats. In this case, we see how the authors of all four Gospels recorded the location of Jesus’ death. This shows how Jesus took His place among the kings as one of David’s descendants. God didn’t miss a single detail when He wrote His book. All four Gospels also show Pilate placed a sign over the cross telling everyone Jesus is the King of the Jews. Its fascinating how God used some people to fulfill prophesy when His own people refused to cooperate.
Three of the Gospels showed how Jesus was offered wine when He was nailed to the cross and how He refused it. This showed how Jesus faced His greatest trial without giving into any worldly means to escape or alleviate the pain. Everyday people try to escape this world by using drugs and alcohol. At the cross, Jesus showed the only way to escape this world is through His sacrifice. Addictions may be the most difficult sins to overcome. By refusing wine, Jesus showed how He succeeded where we fail. This is in addition to Jesus avoiding the temptation of alcohol and may be the reason the Festival of Unleavened Bread preceded Jesus’ sacrifice. Leaven, or yeast creates carbon dioxide and alcohol as byproducts. Talk about paying attention to details. God is showing His knowledge again. It must have taken nearly 2000 years from Christ’s resurrection before anyone found out yeast produced alcohol in bread. Of course yeast was used to ferment wine and spirits long before Jesus’ time.
All four Gospels recorded how soldiers divided Jesus’ clothing, which is the prophesy in Psalm 22 leading us to all four chapters describing Jesus’ crucifixion. What is so important about soldiers gambling to divide Jesus’ clothes? His clothes represented the last thing Jesus owned in this world. God is making a point by using a form of contrasts here. As Jesus hung on the cross, soldiers gambled for ownership of His last worldly possessions. The contrast is — the only sure thing in life is to understand Jesus’ sacrifice so your able to properly accept it for what it is and what the cross and sacrifice stand for. Reaching out in an attempt to grasp onto any part of this world is a gamble. What happens when that item, no matter how trivial it may seem turns out to be an idol? Jesus left this world with nothing. Jesus’ clothing represents how people look down at what the world has to offer instead of up to the Savior. John tells us how the soldiers viewed Jesus’ clothes. They worried more about preserving its value than measuring the value of the Son of God nailed to the cross in front of them. This is a special prophecy pointing to another prophecy with deeper symbolism than most people want to comprehend. Look at the symbolism of a garment. Jesus told a parable about a wedding feast where a man didn’t have on the proper garment. Missing the wedding garment cost the man his life. But here, Jesus gives up His garment and soldiers gambled for it. Why the contrast? The obvious lesson on the surface shows how some people place special significance and false claims of power on Jesus’ garments or his burial shroud. Like the soldiers, they place a higher significance on the worldly cloth than the Savior in Heaven. The lesson goes much deeper than that. What about doctrines – personal beliefs – misguided leadership and other idols people hold above the Savior who died for them? All of these take eyes off significant lessons taught at the cross. Each one of us has the choice to place ourselves at the foot of the cross to look up – or cast our eyes and faith on the world.
Another verse from Psalm 22 leading us to three of the Gospels describes how people will ridicule Jesus as He hung on the cross. Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!” Matthew and Mark mention people gathering at the cross, religious leaders, and two others on their crosses. Luke records the ridicule, but doesn’t specifically mention the priests. John makes no mention of the jeers from the crowd, but adds other details. The prophecy says, “Everyone who sees me mocks me.” For some reason the Gospels point out three groups. What does each represent? The main focus is of course on the main group of people who represent mainline Christians. Who really spends enough time praying and reflecting on the cross? One of the best kept secrets in Christianity is why Jesus died. The majority of mainline Christians hit on one aspect, Jesus died for our sins, but refuse to accept or teach the others. Two of the other main reasons is to save His Father’s reputation. Properly teaching this can be difficult. It requires knowledge of God’s plan of salvation. Preachers try to avoid the subject because their afraid people will ask questions they won’t be able to answer. If you study Jesus’ prayer in the garden before His arrest you’ll see this message. Scripture is filled with hundreds of prophecies describing Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice. If Jesus missed one of them, Satan would have been given the opportunity to accuse God of having a fault. This would have cast doubt on God’s government and leadership. Not only did Jesus put His life on the line, God put His Kingdom and all His creation at risk. If Jesus would have refused to go to the cross, God would have lost His Kingdom. It doesn’t require a complete understanding of God’s plan of salvation to teach this aspect of the cross. If preachers knew the second detail they neglect, they would know God made arrangements to make up for their short comings. We find another important detail and reason for Jesus’ sacrifice in Hebrews chapter 10. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:20-25 NLTse). Jesus died to open a direct path for all of us to God’s throne. This strikes fear in the hearts of many pastors. Like the Pharisees, they feel they may loose control of their followers. They are too busy looking at their man-made garments here in this world to take an honest look at the cross. Pride and self indulgence keep their eyes focused on the world are surely as a one piece woven coat distracted the Roman guards.
John’s Gospel left out details of people jeering Jesus, replacing them with a contrast to teach a spiritual lesson. Standing near the cross were Jesus‘ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. In a few simple verses John opens a door for God’s Spirit to send our minds back over a number of verses showing the lessons Jesus taught that have new meaning when when examined with light from the cross. Jesus’ mother was a widow. Jesus taught many lessons using widows as a spiritual symbol. Which stories come to mind? How do they relate to you? Or are you more influenced by the family structure evident in the lesson? Why did Jesus want to send His mother away from His brothers to live with John? Does that remind you about the stories where Jesus returned to His hometown and family and how they questioned Him? Does it show you how difficult it is to share Jesus with family? What about the act of separation? Lot lost his influence once he separated himself from Abraham. All Lot needed was five people to save Sodom. The angels left with four. Lot could not reach one person once he separated from the promise. Do examples of separation come to mind when you read John’s account of the cross? John also records a new union. Jesus placed His mother’s care in the hands of one of His trusted disciples. The symbol of a new beginning.
Darkness covering the cross is recorded in three of the Gospels. Once again, John is the only author who does not record this event, but does include the detail of the Roman soldier offering Jesus wine a second time. There is a spiritual connection between darkness and wine. You can find it in the Bible on your own if you care to search for it. On the surface we see how wine, which leads to addiction carries a worldly interpretation connecting it to darkness. Addiction does everything it can to draw people away from the cross, Jesus and God. It traps people by convincing them God doesn’t have the power it takes to break the addiction. What do we get when we compare an addition to the freedom of choice God gives us? No wonder addiction feels like a battle. It’s a battle between self will, self reliance, and a call from God. The priests could not break their addictions. Doctrines, traditions, their prophetic interpretations coupled with their lust for power combined to lead people to them and steal glory due only to God.
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? The opening line of David’s Psalm immediately sets the tone and leads us to texts telling us how this prophecy was fulfilled. Why did people think Jesus was calling for Elijah? Matthew and Mark both recorded this detail. This is one of those instances where the events seem strange when you think about it. Was it another way to cast doubt on Jesus while trying to suppress the guilt they felt? That’s what we call prodding from God’s Spirit when we don’t agree with the message – a guilty conscience. It was the last chance for many of the people to call out to Jesus in the flesh. But who was going to stand out in a crowd to stick up for a convicted criminal? After all they trusted in the priests. To stand up for the man on the cross meant to oppose the established religion. Is there a spiritual side to this misunderstanding? What does Elijah represent? Remember Jesus took a couple of His disciples up to a mountain to meet Elijah and Moses. Elijah made his way to Heaven when God sent a chariot of fire to pick him up. Remember how his assistant Elisha asked for and received a double blessing? That double blessing was lost when Elisha’s assistant took items from Naaman after his leprosy was healed. That double blessing was about to be restored. It was promised in a prophecy recorded in the Old Testament. “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6 NLTse). Some people heard Jesus call for Elijah with His last breath as a plea to turn to scripture — to find God and the true meaning of the Messiah. You know, what double blessing is still available.
Three of the Gospels also mention the curtain in the sanctuary tearing from top to bottom. Once again when we see a detailed repeated three times we know it has an important spiritual meaning. Out of all the details in these three New Testament chapters, this may be the one detail with the most conjectures attached to it. I’ve heard a list of of sermons preached on the curtain. Some people claim the veil was eighteen inches to three feet think. They get so dramatic describing the curtain, like it was a display of God’s power – as if He is the only one who could rip such a thick curtain. As if God needs their help to display His power – the God who wiped out thousands of soldiers in a single night, parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River, flooded the world, and of course created it. There’s no Biblical evidence the curtain was that thick. In the Tabernacle it was described as fine linen, which indicates thin material. Why was the veil placed in the temple in the first place? It represented a separation between God and His people that began when Moses came down from the mountain with a glow on his face. When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant after speaking to the LORD. So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called out to them and asked Aaron and all the leaders of the community to come over, and he talked with them. Then all the people of Israel approached him, and Moses gave them all the instructions the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking with them, he covered his face with a veil. But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the LORD, he would remove the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the LORD had given him, and the people of Israel would see the radiant glow of his face. So he would put the veil over his face until he returned to speak with the LORD. (Exodus 34:29-35 NLTse). That little bit of God’s glory on Moses’ face was too much for them. What did it remind them of? How did that glow effect them? Did it remind them of God’s show of power on the top of His mountain while they stripped off their earrings to make a golden calf and sacrificed to it as they danced naked around the god they made to lead them back to their homes in Egypt? Israel chose to separate themselves from God. Jesus came to bridge that separation. This is a vital part of David’s prophecy. “I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him.” Removal of the veil represents much more than common men are able to comprehend or describe. God knew that. He didn’t leave the details to chance, so He had David record them. Now what are the veils your placing between you and the path to God Jesus opened?
There are also two details mentioned in only one of the Gospels. When we combine these, they tell their own story. “The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus‘ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.” The other detail may not be as spectacular, but is preached far more often. When we look at the two together we see how one explains the other. “But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” When comparing texts like this, ask two questions. What are the similarities and contrasts? What common lesson do these verses converge to teach? People raised from the graves went into Jerusalem to teach about Jesus. Can you imagine what they had to share? Did they teach glimpses of God’s plan of salvation they learned while they lived or were they given a message that was new to them? This points out what the person crucified next to Jesus did. He witnessed about Jesus in public. He didn’t know much about Jesus, but he shared what he knew. “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” It was simple, but significant. This shows us it’s not how much you know, but how sincere you are. Look at the impact this man had on the world over the past 2000 years. This shows us how a few honest words spoken at the right time can live on for years. We see that message clearly illustrated when we compare it to the people God called from the grave to testify about Jesus. Their message lived on and turned people to Jesus well after their natural lives on earth.
Descriptions of the events at the cross seem to concentrate on people challenging Jesus while He was on the cross – people who didn’t believe in Him. This makes it easy to miss a few choice verses about people effected by the cross in a positive manner. God used Roman soldiers to illustrate a contrast between the religious leaders and hardened warriors able to see what’s in front of them. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” This detail, recorded in three Gospels shows how the last person you would think could be touched by Jesus – was! The few words Jesus spoke reached their hearts which opened up their understanding of the scene they witnessed. People used to polytheism looked up at Jesus – saw the path to God’s throne open and made a decision to believe. How often do we look at people and feel there’s no chance of them changing their lives? While people flocked to support the priests, few paid attention to the soldiers. They despised them. There was no way any of these people were going to share the little they knew about God with Roman soldiers. Their traditions forbid it. With just a few words, and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus touched their hearts. Jesus accomplished what the priests and people refused to do. He also taught a lesson for all of us to learn. We’ve seen how a few words can make a difference. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, all we need to do is pray for the right words at the right time. If Jesus’ actions are able to reach hardened soldiers, why should we doubt His ability to reach anyone? Why should we question the ability of God’s Word to reach people where they are on their walk. As we dig deeper into God’s Word, we not only find out how’s it’s arranged, but unlock the simple terms God uses to make remembering lessons much easier. Now it’s time to look at and compare the introductions to the chapters we’re working with.
Matthew 27:1-10 NLTse Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. (2) Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (3) When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. (4) “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” (5) Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. (6) The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” (7) After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. (8) That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. (9) This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver— the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, (10) and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.”
Mark 15:1-5 NLTse Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law–the entire high council–met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. (2) Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” (3) Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, (4) and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” (5) But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.
Luke 23:1-7 NLTse Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. (2) They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.” (3) So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” (4) Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!” (5) Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes–all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!” (6) “Oh, is he a Galilean?” Pilate asked. (7) When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.
John 19:1-8 NLTse Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. (2) The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. (3) “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. (4) Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” (5) Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” (6) When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.” (7) The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” (8) When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.
Psalms 22:1-31 NLTse My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? (2) Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. (3) Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. (4) Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. (5) They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.
What do you think when you compare introductions of the four Gospels to Psalm 22? Each Gospel describes a different way Jesus was forsaken. Matthew shows how Jesus was betrayed by Judas. Matthew tells us how Judas saw what he did wrong – then he hung himself. Matthew also points to another prophecy about Jesus, the thirty pieces of silver. Was Judas the only disciple betraying Jesus? Judas did it for money, the other disciples may not be as guilty in worldly terms as Judas, but all of Jesus’ disciples missed the point. Not one of them listened to Jesus when He tried to open up scriptures to them a number of times. A process repeating itself today. Look at the world today. Is there a single author writing about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled, or a pastor preaching about the 300 prophecies written about Jesus? Considering the message is repeated in the New Testament more than 200 times it proves one point, preachers today are trying to teach by leaving out major portions of the Bible. Jesus’ disciples had no idea what they missed…. either do preachers today. Their making a mistake with no idea how far they’ve drifted away from the plain, simple word Jesus came to teach. How many times did Jesus refer to scriptures about Himself? Does anyone look at those texts today? When I study the Gospel’s, I can see how much the disciples missed. I can see how they were distracted. I can see why the disciples didn’t understand why Jesus was on the cross in front of them. I see the same mistake in preachers today. They have no idea why Jesus hung on the cross. Their insight to the cross is dim….. they spend little or no time in front of God’s throne – listening and learning about all the aspects and details of the cross. They feel secure knowing a detail or two but few pastors have personally experienced the emotions of the cross – or looked deep into God’s plan of salvation to see why Jesus had to sacrifice His life. Jesus died for much more than our sins. His life here, a fulfillment of prophecies in scripture, teach lessons the world needs today – so we can all go home. Its not just paid preachers… Look back at the example Judas set. Look at it on a spiritual level. Peter told us Jesus died to make us a kingdom of priests. Learning about Jesus is a personal matter — All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.
Mark’s introduction takes quite a different approach. Mark jumps right into the scene where the priests took Jesus to Pilate and points out one simple detail, Jesus did not answer the charges. This one point has significance when we compare it to the other introductions.
Luke’s introduction follows the same theme as Mark’s while adding more details. The priests used the subject of money to deface Jesus in front of Pilate. This shows what the priest’s minds were dwelling on throughout the process. Don’t forget, they’ve been planning Jesus’ assassination for a long time. Something came up the priest’s hadn’t planned on. Pilate sent Jesus to Herod. It seems like a small detail, but look at the associated terms. Matthew pointed out a prophecy. We know every prophecy points to a far greater fulfillment. That’s what we need to look for.. details far greater than expected. It’s another test from God. “They took the thirty pieces of silver— the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field, as the LORD directed.” Always look at the original verse that’s quoted to get the full view. And I said to them, “If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.” So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”–this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13 NLTse). When we look back we see an interesting verse we can understand when we compare the three introductions we’ve looked at so far. I got rid of their three evil shepherds in a single month. But I became impatient with these sheep, and they hated me, too. (Zechariah 11:8 NLTse). So far we’ve seen three people involved in Jesus’ trial, the high priest, Pilate, and Herod. There’s another interesting detail Matthew added that sheds a spiritual understanding to the story when we examine the details. Matthew added, “ the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel.” How do each of the three shepherds Jesus got rid of fit into the description of valuing Jesus? It begins with the price the priests paid Judas. He may be one of the shepherds, but Judas was the only one who saw he made a mistake. The scene moved unto Pilate’s court. How much did Pilate value Jesus? We’re shown how much Pilate valued judgment. He knew Jesus was innocent. Instead of jumping ahead, let’s look at what Luke says he did. Pilate tried passing responsibility by sending Jesus to Herod. That’s how much Pilate valued Jesus and justice. Pilate placed such a low value to Jesus, he passed Him off to another judge. What about Herod. All he wanted to see was a miracle. When he didn’t get what he wanted, Herod passed Jesus back off to Pilate. Look at what the three represented – religion and government.
How does this apply to today? What value does government put on justice? What does the government pass off? Just a personal comment and observation – elected officials like to pass off all the responsibility they can. They complain sports figures, movie stars, and song writers are poor examples to youth and society in general. What do politicians do to set an example? Look at how they conduct election campaigns. Instead of discussing policies and issues, they point out mistakes made by their opponents. We call it mud slinging and for some reason it’s accepted by society with little or no regard for the effect it has on our youth. Years ago parents used to dream of their child growing up to be president. Today that would sound like a curse. Politicians approve billions to spend on research for bullying. All the money goes to PhD’s and research staff in ivory towers who may share a snippet with people actually counseling youths harmed by bulling – but little if any money goes to people harmed by this habit. Do researchers ever point out the real cause? The major cause of bullying is seen on TV’s one minute at a time – repeated thousands of times every election. What are youth supposed to think when they see our leaders conducting themselves in such underhanded manner? We need not look past elected officials to see an example of anything goes… Character assassination is the only game politicians know how to play. When something goes wrong they never take responsibility for their mistakes. Hence, there is no way they’ll ever learn from their mistakes. The effect on youth is devastating and it is taking place all over the world. Talk about a secret plan carried out all over the world. Satan does it all the time and no one realizes what is happening while the effects are felt all over the world day after day. Just like Pilate and Herod, politicians neglect responsibility and it trickles down through every part of society. John sums this up in his introduction. John tells us how Jesus was beaten and abused by Roman soldiers. Where was the compassion when they took Jesus back to Pilate? Once again, Pilate found someone to pass responsibility onto. Then he sent Jesus to the cross where He died. Not a small matter when your talking about any life – but here we’re talking about God’s Son.
Here we read and learn about only a few of the lessons Jesus was teaching during His sacrifice. When we compare the introductions to these chapters in the four Gospels, we can see why Jesus asked if God abandoned Him. Was Jesus questioning the pain, sacrifice, or the lack of influence God’s Spirit had on some of the people around Him? When we look at David’s prophecy as a prayer, we see how Jesus’ cry for help is not just for Himself, His family, friends and disciples, but all the people He prayed for every day and night. We’ve been shown a lot of details up to this point, and more can be found when we compare summations for the chapters we are studying.
Matthew 27:57-66 NLTse As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, (58) went to Pilate and asked for Jesus‘ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. (59) Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. (60) He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. (61) Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. (62) The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. (63) They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ (64) So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” (65) Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” (66) So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.
Mark 15:43-47 NLTse Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus‘ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) (44) Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. (45) The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. (46) Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. (47) Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus‘ body was laid.
Luke 23:50-56 NLTse Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, (51) but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. (52) He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus‘ body. (53) Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. (54) This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. (55) As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. (56) Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.
John 19:38-42 NLTse Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus‘ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. (39) With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. (40) Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus‘ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth. (41) The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before. (42) And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
The most significant detail we see shared in the four summations is Joseph of Arimathea asking Pilate for Jesus’ body and burying Jesus in his own tomb. The event is recorded in all of four of the Gospels. Matthew lays the ground work for an inductive study by repeating the word, body, a number of times. Matthew wanted to convey the emotion felt at that moment. They looked at Jesus as a body. No one understood what His death meant. No one had any idea Jesus was victorious and there was nothing the enemy could do to take it away from Him. The tomb is no longer a waiting place.. but takes on the symbol of a test. The faith of all of Jesus’ followers was being tested, just like Jonah was tested in the belly of the fish. God has His own way of bringing out parallel points – Jonah was the famous – reluctant prophet – now a symbol emerges showing how all of Jesus’ followers were reluctant, unprepared and unwilling to proclaim Jesus’ message at that point. Now comes the tough question – how does that apply today? Not applying to the world, but to you. Look at the texts, Joseph of Arimathea acted alone. It was an individual action – an act of love – one of the few examples of unconditional love by a normal human in the Bible. We also see Mary mentioned. She was another example of unconditional love we see recorded in the Bible. This is emphasized in all four of the summations for a reason. Unconditional love is the essence of Jesus’ ministry. Without unconditional love, we are not prepared to deliver Jesus’ message in all its glory.
We also see a contrast only Matthew brings to light. Remember how the priests delivered Jesus to Pilate? They wanted to ensure Jesus was unclean according to their customs… so He would not be an acceptable sacrifice to God. The priests rejected the concept of the Messiah as a sacrifice. It didn’t fit the major points on their interpretations. Still something inside them was telling them to consider the point. A war raged inside them between God’s Spirit and the enemy. They cast blame on Jesus for the war within their consciences. They convinced themselves relief would come as soon as they dwelt with Jesus. Getting Him out of the way seemed to be the only solution. Finally they acted and as Matthew records, their consciences still bothered them… bits and pieces of Jesus’ ministry were still on their minds. Two major points are illustrated here. First is how religious people attack others because their beliefs don’t align. It also shows, no matter how hard God’s Spirit tries to reach them, they may never understand. As long as they hang onto self – blame others and refuse to examine the inner self and scripture with guidance from God’s Spirit, they may be lost. Jesus pointed the priests and Pharisees to many of the major texts about His life, ,ministry, and sacrifice – but they never listened and history shows, didn’t bother to consult scripture on their own – a parallel still alive and kicking today. It’s so much easier to rely on spiritual leaders, or personal memory… few people perceive the power in God’s Word. Self includes taking the easy way out. It also includes trying to prove your right at all costs. Even to the point of breaking your own misguided rules. The priests were determined to make Jesus unclean, so they had Him carried into Pilate’s court the day before the Passover. On the day of the Passover the priests throw out all the rules in an attempt to try another idea to prove they were right. The priest’s walked into Pilate’s home. Something hid that detail about Jesus for a time then reminded the priests at the right moment. It was God’s Spirit at work according to His timing.
We’ve seen how much can be learned by looking back in scripture. Matthew established a contrast between unconditional love and people refusing to listen to God’s Spirit. What examples of each do we see in Jesus’ last day? The day began at sunset when Jesus gathered His disciples for dinner. During dinner Jesus tried to introduce and teach prophecies about what was about to happen. Once again His disciples changed the subject to who was the greatest among them – a concept still practiced today. Instead of listening to Jesus to find out what He has to teach about scripture, religious people all over the world like to argue about what they know. They would rather argue about whose greatest — namely themselves. Jesus used a few simple props to illustrate the point He was trying to make. He washed the feet of lowly fishermen, a doctor, tax collector, and a trader. None of whom wanted to listen to what He had to say. Jesus used what was there to illustrate other points. Jesus told them the bread represented His flesh. Then He broke the bread in front of them and told them to eat. The wine He used to represent His blood. Jesus already told them all of this months ago, but now was the time to repeat the lesson, this time with visual props. Jesus hoped His disciples would look back on all the lessons and parables He taught them, so they could see how they were all related. Jesus also hoped they would look back on all the miracles He performed and the people He brought back to life. Then Jesus identified the one who would betray Him. Jesus revealed another miracle, a sign to help strengthen them, give them assurance He would return. None of His disciples got the point. Jesus took them to pray. It was already dark. He took three of His disciples ahead with Himself. They fell asleep, showing how little they perceived. They were not only physically asleep, but spiritually. Three times God took Jesus back to see His disciples sleeping, a symbol of the condition of the world. As they slept, Jesus made His decision to go forward. If the world rejected Him, His Father never would. His Father’s kingdom was on the line. If every prophecy was not fulfilled on time, to the letter, Satan would have the opening he needed to accuse God of incompetence. Jesus had to move forward. Here is another illustration of unconditional love. Jesus died to save His Father’s Kingdom. God rewarded His Son by giving it all to Him. Now Jesus offers it to us… even tough we sleep through some of the most significant events in God’s plan of salvation. Even tough we don’t want to listen. Even though we miss every point He is trying to teach – Jesus still gives it all.
They came to arrest Jesus. Once again He showed His concern to His followers. He told the guards to take Him, but let the others go. Peter once again tried to show himself worthy by attacking one guard. It showed courage, concern, but a lack of planning and understanding. With one thought Jesus brought all the guards to their knees. It was only a small display of Jesus’ power, one the disciples would remember and one day come to understand. Jesus healed the guard’s ear to remind the guards of who they were dealing with as well as remind the disciples who was about to suffer for them. Even though Jesus went with the guards peaceably, they were ordered to chain Him. As one guard wrapped the Savior in chains, his mind drifted back over all the details he saw and heard about Jesus. He looked at the man in front of Him, wondering if Jesus was the one in scripture. The priest’s plans were underway. Presenting Jesus as a convicted criminal was part of their plot.
Jesus stood in the high priest’s home in chains. What a contrast to the elaborate dress of the priests and elders gathered to conduct the trial. It looked like the religious leaders gathered for a banquet dressed in their best robes. What a contrast to the simple dinner and lessons Jesus taught earlier in the evening. The religious leaders came to feast on their desires, pride, lusts, and ambitions at the expense of the one who opposed them. The results of the trial were determined before Jesus was arrested. The main goal of the priests was to deface Jesus in front of the crowds and assure He could not be an acceptable sacrifice. They beat Jesus, slapping Him in the face and tearing out hair from his face and head. It was a display to show God, Jesus was rejected by them – so how could God ever accept Him? To the priests, God was not the God of the universe, but a God of the box they put Him in. People do the same thing today. They memorize about six texts to answer every question they’ll ever run across. Those six verses become the sides, top and bottom of a box they try to stick the infinite God into.
Pilate had no concept of God or the Messiah, except for what he was told. Pilate was one, if not the most informed man on all of Jesus’ miracles and sermons. Pilate heard everything twice, reports from his soldiers and spies and a series of reports from the religious leaders. Pilate knew how they twisted the truth before they showed up with Jesus. That made little difference to Pilate who shared the same ambitions and lust for power the priests had. To them Jesus was nothing more than a pawn to gain power – a body and nothing more. All the way to the cross we see a lack of support and understanding, which is a prophecy itself, showing misunderstanding and lack of concern through history, leading up to and including Jesus’ return.
When we compare the summations of the four Gospels to Psalm 22, we can see how the prophecy relates to the fulfillment. Praise the LORD, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel! Many people despised Jesus regardless of what the prophecies about Him said. David said, “all you descendants of Israel!” How many paid attention? For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. Jesus listened to the man next to Him on the cross and made Him a promise. Jesus also remembered what those people, everyone needed most, a way to forgive their sins forever. Jesus’ concerns for people before, during, and after the cross illustrated how He and His Father always put concerns of others before themselves. It’s an image of God Jesus came to teach the world. I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. A promise to everyone, Jesus would rise from the tomb. The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. To begin His last day, Jesus gathered His disciples for dinner not only to feed them with physical food, but spiritual. The main feast came after He rose from the grave when Jesus revealed all the prophecies about Himself and explained each one in detail. The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. A prophecy of the role Jesus’ followers will play spreading the word across the world. Telling the whole world about the prophecies Jesus fulfilled. For royal power belongs to the LORD. He rules all the nations. Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust. Filling in the details, David makes it clear Jesus died to free all those in the grave, those who witnessed His sacrifice and everyone who came after. Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.