Psalms 69:14-31 Sour Wine. Understanding God’s Timing
Psalms 69:14-31 NLTse Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters. (15) Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me. (16) Answer my prayers, O LORD, for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful. (17) Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble! (18) Come and redeem me; free me from my enemies. (19) You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace. You see all that my enemies are doing. (20) Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me. (21) But instead, they give me poison for food; they offer me sour wine for my thirst. (22) Let the bountiful table set before them become a snare and their prosperity become a trap. (23) Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and make their bodies shake continually. (24) Pour out your fury on them; consume them with your burning anger. (25) Let their homes become desolate and their tents be deserted. (26) To the one you have punished, they add insult to injury; they add to the pain of those you have hurt. (27) Pile their sins up high, and don’t let them go free. (28) Erase their names from the Book of Life; don’t let them be counted among the righteous. (29) I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power. (30) Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. (31) For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing cattle, more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.
We see another Psalm pointing us back to the cross. God arranges these in a particular pattern for a reason. We either missed something or He has been building us up, preparing us for a new lesson. We see how people are prepared for new lessons all around the cross in the fact His disciples had to endure the hardship and disappointment at the cross before they were prepared to receive all the benefits Jesus brought this world through His sacrifice. After more than two thousand years the lessons continue. It seems most preachers only teach one reason Jesus died on the cross while there are at least four major accomplishments Jesus achieved at the cross. He personally carried our sins on his body to the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. (1 Peter 2:24 NLTse). But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:26-27 NLTse). And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will soon give glory to the Son. (John 13:32 NLTse). And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. (Hebrews 10:19-20 NLTse). Jesus died so our sins could be forgiven. This is what most preachers teach. Some also teach Jesus died so He could send God’s Spirit, but only a small amount know what that means. Jesus also died to give glory to His Father. This requires more study to understand so hardly anyone teaches about it. When Jesus prayed in the garden and decided to go forward with the plans to do God’s will, He showed how He was about to give His life to save God’s kingdom. Satan had a claim not only on this world, but Heaven. Satan was restricted to this world to work out his plans and show Heaven where it would lead. Once Heaven saw Satan’s determination to win at any cost, it sealed his fate, relinquished his claim in God’s throne, and ended any claim he had in Heaven and earth. Jesus’ victory was complete. Once the Kingdom was secure, God gave it all to His Son. Some people preach Jesus’ only reward is a church – usually their church. This is a deception shedding darkness on the cross as well as Jesus’ ministry on earth. Jesus also died to open a direct path to God’s throne, something rarely taught. Many preachers want to keep this secret. They fear this because it takes control away from them. Most preachers prefer an order of command where people need to go to them while they exercise a direct connection with God. But it doesn’t work that way. When they restrict access to God, they also restrict their own access. I don’t know why they can’t understand this. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:6-9 NLTse).
David’s prophecy centers around deep waters, a reference to Jonah’s prayer inside the fish and the sign Jesus gave religious leaders when they didn’t want to acknowledge His miracles. David also centers on the attacks Jesus endured and how religious leaders tried to bring shame, scorn, disgrace, insults, and despair on Him. They tried to make Jesus worry. Once again Jesus takes a trial and turned it into a lesson. How many times do you worry? Did you ever stop to think the trial was trying to teach you how to pray and put your trust in God? How many times do you have to go through those little trials before you learn to pray Jesus takes your burdens away? It works!
Based on verse 21, “But instead, they give me poison for food; they offer me sour wine for my thirst.” We know this prophecy centers on the cross. This prophecy is quoted in all four gospels, so which one do we use? We look at and compare the introductions and summations. This time we’re faced with four similar introductions and summations in the gospels. Looking back at previous studies that compared other prophecies with the fulfillments recorded in Matthew and John, it seems logical to look at Mark and Luke to see what details they will add. Mark appears to be the logical choice. Mark had a style of writing where he gets to the main point right away. By doing this Mark makes it easier to see the main thought, in addition to adding minor details other authors left out.
Mark 15:33-39 NLTse 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!”
Mark focused on the key words called, calling, uttered, cry, and exclaimed. This focuses us on the detail Jesus was calling out to God in the prophecy when He asked God to rescue, save, redeem, and free Him from the mud, those who hated Him, and His enemies. All of those are key words pointing to the main thought in David’s Psalm. We are seeing how God used key thoughts to link a prophecy to the recorded fulfillment.
This prophecy and fulfillment shows us how to look into the personality of scripture. When we compare the two, we see how one compliments the other. This also shows how stories are linked in the Bible. Notice how references to water draw your attention to Jonah in the fish and the sign Jesus gave the religious leaders? That’s a connection for personal study you can do on your own. For now we’ll stick with the scripture at hand. Look for a spiritual connection between darkness in Mark 15 and deep waters and floods in Psalm 69. Think of how this relates to Jesus as living water and how the water surrounding Jesus became darkness.
Why did some people misunderstand what Jesus said? David provided an answer. “Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble! Come and redeem me; free me from my enemies. You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace. You see all that my enemies are doing. Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me.” God didn’t hide from Jesus because He served His Father. On the other hand, Jesus’ words were misunderstood by people who didn’t serve God. Now we have a definitive description of the religions leaders who opposed Jesus. God saw what they were doing to Jesus. John explained in his book, If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.” (John 14:7 NLTse). This reinforces the description of the religious leaders.
The name Elijah is also repeated, which brings to mind another text. “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). The Hebrew word for fathers in this texts is actually singular. When we compare this to Jesus’ cry to His Father and the lack of understanding by His enemies, we can see this prophecy refers to Jesus as well as John turning people to God the Father, and opening up their hearts as God turns to them. In the the fulfillment, Jesus tried to accomplish this with His last dying breath.
Verse 31 sends us to another New Testament texts. “For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing cattle, more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.” This takes us to Hebrews 9:12-14 NLTse With his own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. (13) Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. (14) Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. It would be interesting to continue this study with a comparison of introductions and summations between Psalm 69 and Hebrews 9, but this is another lesson left for you to study on your own, which is a pattern forming. New doors are opening. God’s Spirit has a way of calling out in may ways. And like this lessons we see repeated, God keeps repeating His call. For now it’s time to compare the introductions between Psalm 69 and Mark 15.
Psalms 69:1-4 NLTse Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. (2) Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. (3) I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. (4) Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head. Many enemies try to destroy me with lies, demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal.
Mark 15:1-15 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. (6) Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner–anyone the people requested. (7) One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising. (8) The crowd went to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner as usual. (9) “Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews‘?” Pilate asked. (10) (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.) (11) But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. (12) Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?” (13) They shouted back, “Crucify him!” (14) “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!” (15) So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
David’s introduction links back to Jonah’s prayer inside the fish. Since this is repeated it requires a closer look. What David is doing is establishing a starting point in God’s timing which is one of the most difficult concepts of Bible study to comprehend. Man designs and looks at timing or history on a linear scale. Whenever we see history in charts it is presented on a straight line, so our minds have been programed to look at history as one dimension. Straight lines tell only a small portion of the lessons revealed in prophecies when compared to how God views, records, and reveals prophecies in regards to how He views time.
Most people look at the prophecy in Jonah’s prayer from inside the fish as a link to one moment of time, Jesus in the tomb. When we look at this from man’s aspect and understanding as a linear prophecy we miss the majority of the lesson. The easiest way to understand this portion of God’s timing is to picture the linear time line your used to seeing. God uses the linear scale as an intersection point. Now envision two lines forming an X intersecting that point. In this example the point is the prophecy Jonah recorded. The moment in time is when he was inside the fish. Jonah’s prayer is the prophecy. Now to understand the fulfillment of this prophecy we have to understand all the aspects it relates to. Man focuses on one moment of time, but God used many moments in time to teach the full lesson. To find these lessons we have to use at least two instances in the Bible related to the prophecy. Jesus points us to one of the intersecting lines. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:40 NLTse). Jesus tells us this prophecy relates to His time in the tomb. Now we need to add a second line which intersects that point in time. David points us back to an intersection on the same point while drawing us back to a time frame before the tomb. When we compare introductions, Mark 15 shows us David’s prophecy also relates to the religious leader’s plot to arrest Jesus. When we look at the two lines intersecting one point on the time line, they extend before and after that moment in time. The closer they are to the line, the more reliant they are to the event and lesson.
As we see, the intersecting lines cover moments in Biblical history before and after Jonah’s time in the fish. When we review those moments in time and compare them to scripture making up the intersecting lines, we can see the lessons. Since this study is focusing on a comparison of the prophecy and fulfillment, we will not go into detail on the symbols but take a general look at the events and how they relate to the chapters in the study. This is only an introduction into understanding God’s timing.
Jonah is known as the reluctant prophet. God gave Jonah a message to deliver and because he didn’t like the people he was supposed to deliver the message to, he boarded a ship and headed in the opposite direction. This draws attention to the time frame before Jesus was placed in the tomb seen in Mark’s introduction to chapter 15 where we clearly see how 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. They were headed in the opposite direction. We also see how God not only used actions from the people who run away from Him to teach lessons, we see how God recorded warnings for them to heed. When we look at the previous chapter in Mark we see a number of instances where Jesus was denied and abused. Look at the sequence as the line moves further away from the focus point in time.
And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:72 NLTse)
You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!” (Mark 14:64 NLTse)
Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any. (Mark 14:55 NLTse)
As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss. Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. (Mark 14:45-46 NLTse)
Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? (Mark 14:37 NLTse)
When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no–the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. (Mark 14:41 NLTse)
When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. (Mark 14:40 NLTse)
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter–this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” (Mark 14:30 NLTse)
On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ (Mark 14:27 NLTse)
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. (Mark 14:10 NLTse)
Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly. (Mark 14:4-5 NLTse)
As we move further back along the time line we see the relationship between Jonah and Mark’s gospel. We’re shown that not only were the religious leaders heading in another direction, some of Jesus’ disciples were reluctant prophets. We see other instances as we move further back.
Luke 9:54 NLTse When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?”
Matthew 15:22-23 NLTse A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” (23) But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
Matthew 19:13 NLTse One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
Texts show us how Jesus’ disciples shared the same prejudice as Jonah. Jesus’ disciples were headed in the wrong direction. You can also find evidence in scripture showing the religious leaders shared this same attitude. What happens when we move to the other side of the time line? What did Jonah do after the fish delivered him to his destination? He walked through Ninevah and delivered the message, but with what attitude?
People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.” When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened. This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the LORD about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. (Jonah 3:8-10, 4:1-2 NLTse). Jonah had a poor attitude to say the least. How does this relate to Jesus’ disciples after Jesus rose from the tomb? After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her. Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them. Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead. (Mark 16:9-14 NLTse). The disciples refused to believe the prophecies Jesus shared with them. Other texts show how the religious leaders continued to oppose Jesus and His disciples. David was not exaggerating when he wrote, “Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head.” Crossing the linear time line with the correct scripture shows related details between one book and another that share the prophecy and fulfillment. The lessons go on and on once you learn to look at prophecies with God’s timing.
God uses prophecy and timing in another way. Many people can see how Jerusalem’s fall is also an end time prophecy. There are a number of prophecies about Jerusalem’s fall that pertain to the physical downfall carried out by physical Babylon and the spiritual end of this world in which Babylon is a symbol. One rule remains constant, the fulfillment is always much greater than the symbols. There are other prophecies in the Bible pertaining to more than one moment in history. Many people look at a prophecy and are able to look at it from a personal view because previous experiences and trials taught them a lesson which closely resembles the prophecy. In those cases the prophecy explained specific details about the trial. This happens time after time. One prophecy relates to an individual in one specific manner, and another person in a different way. This of course does not take into consideration the symbols employed within the prophecy. Symbols always point to a far greater fulfillment. Personal lessons may help people to better understand a prophecy and the people who faced associated trials, but personal experiences never reveal symbols which are always revealed by God’s Word. That’s one mistake a lot of people make. They use personal experiences or history to interpret symbols. It may make sense to them and may be a small portion of the interpretation, but without concrete Biblical evidence they can never be a substitute the fulfillment God recorded in His Word.
Learning God’s timing is one step in this lesson. This doesn’t mean we stray away from the rules God has already taught and established. We still need to compare summations in this study. This is one of God’s checklists to ensure we are looking at His Word the way it was intended to be understood. We need to be thankful for what God has taught us. The further we progress in study, the more we see God’s system of checks and balances to ensure we find the proper fulfillment to God’s prophecies.
- God provided clear definitions for all the spiritual symbols He used. Each is explained by a number of texts in His Word.
- Repeated words are used as key words emphasizing the key thought. Often key words lead us to parallel texts and chapters.
- Similar and related words also form a connection between texts and chapters.
- The introductions and summations for parallel chapters always teach the same lesson.
- One point in time is intersected by at least two other similar stories which are other moments in time that refer back to the original prophecy. Both references will explain details of the prophecy using events that build up to the fulfillment and later showed the outcome and effect.
As long as we stick to the simple rules God placed and confirmed with His Word, we shouldn’t have any problems. At every step God teaches us important lessons, which should always be our main focus with every Bible Study. Now to compare the summations for Psalm 69 and Mark 15.
Psalms 69:32-36 NLTse The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. (33) For the LORD hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people. (34) Praise him, O heaven and earth, the seas and all that move in them. (35) For God will save Jerusalem and rebuild the towns of Judah. His people will live there and settle in their own land. (36) The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land, and those who love him will live there in safety.
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.
“The humble will see their God at work and be glad,” doesn’t exactly describe Joseph, but part of it does. Joseph was one of the religious leaders who followed and listened to Jesus. Acts tells us many of the priests were baptized after Jesus rose from the tomb, so they must have been open to God’s Spirit. Joseph volunteered to follow Jesus. Imagine getting paid to follow and listen to Jesus. It was something Joseph was thankful for and at the same time tore him apart. How could he report what he saw in Jesus and how His words were affecting him so the leading priests would understand? Joseph is an example of what a lot of us go through. We have family and know people in church set in their ways and don’t want to hear what we see and learn. Joseph shows us how to deal with the situation. Number one, Joseph listened to God’s Spirit and did what he was instructed to do. God’s Spirit worked through Joseph’s conscience as well as Jesus’ Word. The two worked together. Lesson two. Your not alone in the battle to save souls from Satan’s slavery. Jesus didn’t work alone and neither should you.
Joseph gave up more than his personal tomb. What did his tomb represent? People with money and power build tombs so their family and friends will remember them. How many people would have remembered Joseph and for how long? Maybe a generation or two? Joseph gave up the physical tomb, but look what he gained. No one knows where Joseph was buried, but his name has been talked about for more than two thousand years. That’s more than most people could hope for. It’s another example of how God returned much more than people were able to give. Joseph gave up much more than a tomb. When Joseph stepped forward to bury Jesus’ body, he gave up all hopes and dreams of advancing the political ladder in the synagogue. What did Joseph gain? His example gave other priests the courage to step forward to learn about and teach about Jesus. When we look at this from the aspect of the parable of a seed that grows to be a tree, think of the hundreds of priests who followed Joseph’s example and how many people they reached. And the people those people reached. When Jesus told the parable of the mustard seed, He knew Joseph was listening and one day see he was one of those trees. Joseph had no idea if and how he was going to accomplish this, David’s Psalm shows us he was too humble to think about accomplishments or take credit for any of the work. All Joseph wanted to do was follow what was in his heart one day at a time. Joseph shows us how we can ensure our names are written in God’s book of life for all eternity. David shows us another side of Joseph’s change of heart. His prophecy shows Joseph’s work begins in the home. “The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land, and those who love him will live there in safety.”
Once you’ve learned how to read and study God’s Word in detail, there is no turning back. Joseph changed at the cross because he began the process before he saw Jesus hanging there. Out of hundreds of people at the cross who owned tombs, only Joseph stepped up and took action. A number of groups were represented at the cross. A few like Joseph took action putting their love for Jesus into action. Others felt saddened and disappointed. Some thought Jesus let them down and weren’t sure what to feel. A few only heard reports about Jesus and went to the cross never knowing Him. Seeing His actions at the cross changed a few of them. And there were the doubters and people lead by simple curiosity. Of course a large group of spectators were present to witness Jesus’ crucifixion to make sure He died. We still have different groups of Christians today. Some of the people reading this book have a real relationship with Jesus and know how to listen to His Spirit. They will see a few things in here they never saw before. Other details will help them explain who Jesus is by using a number of illustrations. Some educated Christians will look at this book and reject everything because some details are not what they learned in higher institutions. If it doesn’t agree with what they’ve invested large sums of money and time, they want nothing to do with it. The majority of Christians will never read a book like this. They’ve afraid to learn. Deep down inside they convinced themselves learning about Jesus means they accept responsibility for their salvation. They are comfortable living in the background of religion and placing all the responsibility on paid professionals. A few mediocre Christians will begin reading this book and put it down, afraid of what they can learn. Maybe a few of the vast majority of Christians who show up two times a year in church just to be on the safe side will see an answer to a question they carried for years. And others who have no interest in religion, never saw God or personally met Jesus, but want to stay on His good side just in case. They have a Bible and maybe a few other books collecting dust. The question I have is how many of those people are like Joseph, a good tree in the making. God is reaching out to all of them. Maybe His Spirit has a job for you.
What good will it do to learn how to look deeper into God’s Word than others ever dreamed about without seeing Jesus’ personality and feelings on the subject? This is a subject few consider while studying His Word. What did Jesus think and feel when He lived through the events recorded in the gospels? Looking back on this study we see a portion of what Jesus saw as He looked down from the cross. I don’t think it is a good idea to sensationalize the physical pain and suffering endured because total concentration on the physical always robs from the spiritual interpretation and lesson.
As Jesus looked down He saw people challenging and cursing Him. His mind wondered back over His prayer in the garden. Jesus saw people with little or no interest who were led to the cross by curiosity as they watched the loud display of the religious leaders, then looked over at the groups of His followers sitting and weeping. By standers considered the view. If Jesus’ followers really believed He was God’s Son, why are they weeping? Their ignorance of God’s plan of salvation held them back. The goal of the priests was achieved to a degree. They gathered groups to themselves. Jesus looked at His followers. Some wondered why their hopes were dashed. They prayed to themselves asking why their prayers of release were not answered. They wondered how Jesus feed thousands, cured hundreds, but did nothing to save Himself. Then Jesus looked at His disciples. They wouldn’t look up at the cross, thinking the site would draw shame upon their teacher. They thought about the lessons Jesus taught trying to see what they missed. Pride and previous teaching they couldn’t give up kept them from seeing their mistakes.
If Jesus let His human side take over, he would have given up. He would have cursed everyone at the cross blaming them for His suffering like the condemned man at his side. Satan showed the power he had over one of the condemned. The other was able to put enough of the world aside for God’s Spirit to touch His heart for a moment. It’s so easy for us to give into the world and blame others for set backs and trials. We’re a lot like the disciples who could only see the physical suffering of the cross while having no idea how God was using the scene to fulfill His plan of salvation, all of it recorded in the prophecies He gave them.
Jesus knew the prophecies. They gave Him the strength He needed to offer Himself and go to the death He had to face. The prophecies explained why religious leaders rejected Him. The prophecies also showed Jesus how His disciples would desire a direction opposite of the example He set for them. Jesus’ heart was heavy as he looked down on the world He was about to die for. Through blood stained eyes and the weight of His body pulling down on the nails holding Him to the wooden cross, it was difficult to see past His point of suffering. If Jesus had not prepared for His trail and death, He would have been open to the additional weight of Satan’s temptations. God’s Spirit and plan of salvation was able to lift Jesus above and beyond the cross. The prophecies about Him provided the vision He needed to endure the cross and see beyond the suffering. Jesus was nailed to the cross, but He clung onto God’s promises with all His heart and soul.
There are many ways to look at the cross. If you only see the broken body of Jesus, that’s the way you’ll view His Word, as broken, nailed in one position, unable to move. If you look at the cross with uncertainly, you’ll be like those observing the vocal priests and quite group of Jesus’ followers. You’ll most likely make the same mistake by placing your faith in religious leaders with little or no understanding of God’s plan of salvation. If you quietly look with no idea of God’s plan of salvation like His disciples, you have to learn to look back at Jesus’ life and what He taught and accomplished. You also have to look ahead at what the cross accomplished and how Jesus prepared His disciples plus the message He gave them. Than pray and wait for the message He gives you and follow at His command as He sends you out to souls He has prepared for His message.