Psalm 22--An Awe-Inspiring Prophecy!

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Psalm 22--An Awe-Inspiring Prophecy!

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About 1,000 years before the life and death of Jesus Christ, a remarkable psalm was written by King David. The writing of these verses was inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). When this psalm was written, it contained details of the future sacrifice of the Redeemer of all mankind.

Even if David might not have fully understood what he had written, in Psalm 22 we find a cluster of the clearest and most detailed prophecies that have ever come to pass. Minute details are given about the death that Jesus was destined to endure for all humanity, including you and me. Only the power of God could inspire a prophecy and bring it to pass 1,000 years later.

Perfect fulfillment of prophecy

There were at least 28 prophecies fulfilled on this one day—the last day in the life of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Witnesses to the events that surrounded the death of Christ attest to the perfection of each detail of prophecy.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all describe aspects of these events—events that are a mirror image of Psalm 22. There are at least 12 details recorded in this psalm that match the Gospel accounts, a few being Christ’s pierced hands and feet (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25-28), the words spoken by those who killed Him (Psalm 22:7-8; Luke 23:35) and even Jesus’ last words (Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34).

The prophecies of Christ’s scourging, the tearing of His flesh, mocking, prolonged agony and slow death are all clearly fulfilled. Jesus could not control the beating He received from the soldiers or their gambling for His garment (it was customary for soldiers at an execution to divide the clothes of the prisoners among themselves). God foresaw this custom centuries before Rome existed!

Who but God could bring these events to pass 1,000 years after He inspired them to be written? Other scriptures add prophetic details to Jesus’ ordeal as well, but none that I have found are as profound as this psalm.

There were at least 28 prophecies fulfilled on this one day—the last day in the life of Jesus Christ in the flesh.

The truly amazing thought that arises from the study of these passages is that Jesus, as the Logos or Word who became flesh (John 1:14), was also the One who inspired these words to be written about His sacrifice and death. He was the “Rock” that followed Israel (1 Corinthians 10:4). He had inspired David to write about Himself.

No wonder He prayed in agony the night before these events took place (Matthew 26:36-42)! Jesus knew exactly what was about to happen. He had known how He would die since the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). He knew He had to fulfill the will of His Father.

Prophecy inspires personal transformation

Psalm 22 describes the destiny of Christ as the “Passover Lamb” whose sacrifice pays for the sins of all who repent. This is why He was sent to the earth. There is no recorded historical challenge to any of the prophecies of Psalm 22. The witnesses didn’t express any disagreement. They understood—later—the very events they had witnessed.

After His resurrection, Jesus expounded the prophecies that had just been fulfilled in front of their eyes (Luke 24:27). Once they understood, the disciples were so strongly convinced that they changed from relatively weak and frightened men into powerful dynamos for God. The hope that was expressed through all that they had witnessed convinced them of the future complete fulfillment of God’s wonderful promises.

Over a decade later, the apostle Paul heard these events from Jesus Himself, and Paul’s records agree with those of the eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 11:23). This cloud of witnesses is too great to ignore. There is no figure of ancient history whose death is more clearly recorded than Jesus Christ. Jesus died exactly as Psalm 22 stated He would. Prophecy was fulfilled down to the last detail.

Lessons for the future

Much of the Bible is prophecy. The religious system of Jesus’ day did not understand these prophecies or they would not have killed the Messiah. When we comprehend the absolute control and power God displayed by fulfilling Psalm 22 and many other prophecies, then we must comprehend the fact that every prophecy that is still to come will come to pass exactly as God stated. This fact shows that only God is God. Isaiah 45:21 and 46:9-11 boldly proclaim that only God can make a prophecy come to pass. We ignore His word at our own peril.

Many people have the image of Jesus Christ and God the Father as gentle, always forgiving, ever patient and kind. We read the scriptures that tell of God’s great sacrifice and love for mankind, and we do not easily think about the anger and wrath that God has exhibited against evil.

He has controlled and fought against evil since the rebellion of Lucifer and his followers. God is an unstoppable warrior as well as a loving Father. The book of Revelation contains strong statements about Christ coming with power and might (Revelation 19:11-21). He is King of Kings and “treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (verse 15). That statement ought to inspire us to pause and to consider. Since Psalm 22 is so explicit, could we mistakenly think that these future prophecies are any less explicit?

We can read in 1 Corinthians 13:8 that prophecies fail. They do not fail because God cannot fulfill them, but they fail because God and only God can change them. The book of Jonah is written to help us understand that truth.

We must comprehend the fact that every prophecy that is still to come will come to pass exactly as God stated.

Prophecies are given with the hope that humans will stop and consider—and then repent. With repentance from mankind, many of these prophecies could be cancelled. God does not rejoice in the suffering, punishment and death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). Still, the wicked will die (Romans 6:23) unless they repent and seek God. Let us not err by thinking that God is softheaded. That would be a fatal mistake. He will come. He will conquer. He will rule. He will overthrow all who oppose Him. Nothing can stop or deter Him.

A wise person will choose to stand with Christ and not against Him since He is the only hope for this deceived world (Revelation 12:9). Jesus said that if we knock, it will be opened, and if we seek, we will find (Matthew 7:7). The Scriptures hold the key—you have the choice. God wants you to consider the prophecies He has inspired and choose life.