God, knowing that Abraham’s beloved son Isaac was precious to him, gave him a terrible commandment, one that would require every last ounce of Abraham’s faith, and more so because it didn’t make sense. It violated every feature of God that Abraham had known of his Lord.

 

The awful thing that God had told him to do was to sacrifice Isaac. Why would God do that?

 

Yet Abraham had the courage and strength of character to trust God, particularly His loving nature. In faith he prepared to carry out the task that God had set before him.

 

Hundreds of years later, Moses offered healing salvation to those who had been bitten by poisonous snakes during the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness. His cure, as directed by God, was to cast a bronze image of a serpent and hold it up on a pole so that those who were bitten could gaze up at it and be healed. Why would God use the image of a serpent, the direct representative of evil from the very beginning at the Garden of Eden, to heal the injured? If this was supposed to represent Jesus on the cross, it was the opposite of Jesus’ nature. Again, it just doesn’t make sense.

 

Yet Moses had the courage to obey God’s command, and the snake-bitten people were healed through that image.

 

Both of these events did represent Jesus, as both Abraham and Moses must eventually have come to realize, to their astonishment of the depth of God’s love. The fact of the matter was that a grieving Holy Father, unable to look upon sin, had to turn His head away from the sin-covered Jesus on the cross. He had to forsake His own beloved Son to a shame-filled, agonizing death. Jesus, in effect, not only suffered physically on the cross but had to become the filth of sin, taking on Himself all the bad thoughts and deeds of fallen mankind that had been done throughout history.

 

A thousand years after Abraham and a thousand years before Jesus came in the flesh, David reigned as king over Israel. During that time, he enjoyed an intimate relationship with God. One might even say that he spoke to God. God certainly spoke to him, as David penned many Psalms, some of which possessed knowledge supernaturally beyond David’s time on earth.

 

One of these Psalms is Psalm 22, which begins with words which Jesus repeated while He was suffering on the cross. According to Matthew 27:46, Jesus uttered these words of Psalm 22 as He suffered:

 

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

 

It could be that Jesus repeated these beginning words of the Psalm so that readers of the Gospel over the centuries following His crucifixion and resurrection could marvel at David’s supernatural picture of crucifixion, a method of punishment that wasn’t known until several centuries after David.

 

Psalm 22:1-18 describes with precision what happens to a person as he is crucified.

 

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

 

“But you are holy, O you who inhabits the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you delivered them. They cried to you, and were delivered; they trusted in you, and were not confounded.

 

“But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All they who see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him; let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

 

“But you are he who took me out of the womb; you made me hope upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon you from the womb; you are my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, like a ravening and roaring lion.

 

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and you have brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I may count all my bones; they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

 

This account of Jesus’ crucifixion includes some specific details associated with the event that are profoundly important. Among these are the remarks, as in Isaiah 53, of His reproach and rejection, the specific note of Jesus’ hands and feet being pierced with nails, and of lots being cast for His garment, as noted in Matthew 27:35.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Art Perkins