I don’t know about y’all, but I’m always fascinated when I come across things in the Bible that are connected. I’ve come to find out, with the more that I read, learn and study, that pretty much the entire Bible is connected.
We’re going through a “Bible study” at Long Hollow Baptist Church with pastor Robby Gallaty that is essentially focusing in on how to read and interpret the Bible from an Eastern perspective. As Western, American citizens, we learn, read and interpret things much differently than people did in Jesus’ time.
There are all sorts of connections made, particularly by Jesus, to the Old Testament in much of his words in the gospels. We often fail to realize this because we don’t know the Old Testament like we should, and we also don’t really understand the culture or customs of the Jewish world that Jesus lived in. Those connections are called a “remez” and there are many of them that can be found in the Bible.
Matthew 27 is a very familiar passage for many of us. Jesus has been beaten, has made the journey to Calvary and is on the cross. Matthew 27:45 reads:
“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land. At about three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
If you’re like me, for years you’ve just thought that Jesus was crying out to the Father on the cross because he who knew no sin had become sin for all of us. While that is certainly true and accurate, there was a deeper meaning to that phrase that his followers and other Jewish people around the cross at that time should have picked up on.
To understand that connection, you must first understand how the Jewish culture learned Scripture. Remember, there were no numbered verses of the Bible or even books back in those days. They learned Scripture in school and were so well-versed in it that they knew much of it from memory.
They would memorize Scripture by the teacher reciting a line of Scripture and then they would recite the remainder of that set of Scripture from memory based off of that. When Jesus said on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, He was also making a connection back to Scripture.
If you go to Psalm 22, you’ll find that the first line of the chapter written by David reads: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”
Pretty interesting, huh?
Remember, Jewish leaders would teach by reciting a line from Scripture and the students would recite the rest from memory based off of that first line. If you read the rest of Psalm 22, I think you’ll be blown away.
It essentially describes the Messiah and what he’s to deal with in suffering on the cross. In Psalm 22:6-8, it reads:
“But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by people. Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: ‘He relies on the Lord; let Him rescue him; let the Lord deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him.”
Isn’t it interesting how that’s describing being “scorned by men and despised by people.” It describes the Messiah being mocked, just as Jesus was on the cross when he was told: “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”
In Matthew 27:42, the chief priests are mocking Jesus by saying “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him.”
There are descriptions and connections to Jesus’ crucifixion all throughout Psalm 22, including in verses 14-16 that read:
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength is dried up like baked clay; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You put me into the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they pierced my hands and my feet.”
I would encourage all of you to read the entirety of Psalm 22 yourselves and make the connections with what is happening to Jesus in Matthew 27. It’s truly one of those things that will absolutely blow your mind. The Bible is the living Word of God. Jesus knew it so well because he was the Word.
There are so many of these connections throughout the New Testament. I look forward to sharing more with you!