"My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?"
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Imagine trying to live in a world where every person decided for himself or herself how long an inch should be. One person’s inch might be as long as a pencil, while another’s might be as short as a penny. Further imagine trying to buy lumber or carpet, or trying to calculate any kind of geometry. In truth, trying to measure things without a standard is impossible.
The same is true of religion and spiritual matters. If everyone made his or her own “measurements” about what is right and wrong, then mass confusion would rule the day—which is exactly why God gave us the Bible. It is the standard by which all of our actions are to be measured. Because the Bible claims to be the only true standard, most people insist upon evidence proving that it is from God. If a person has an open Bible and an honest heart, such evidence is available.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a horrible tragedy shocked the United States when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Amidst the tragedy, a rumor circulated that Nostradamus, a supposed fortuneteller, had predicted the turn of events. Web sites with information on Nostradamus received thousands, even millions of hits. After all was said and done, the rumored prediction had been fabricated and misunderstood; Nostradamus had no more predicted the future than you or I. But it was obvious from the public’s response that anyone who can accurately predict the future is more than just a little special. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Who is he who speaks, and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?” (Lamentations 3:37). The prophet’s point was clear: nobody accurately foretells the future unless God informs him of it. Therefore, when the Bible accurately predicts the future, we can know that it is from God.
“MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”
If you were a Jew standing in the crowd watching Jesus hang on the cross, you would have seen and heard many astonishing things. For one, you would have seen the only totally innocent man ever to live being tortured, mocked, and spit upon. In addition, you would have sat in complete darkness for three straight hours. But some of the most amazing things that happened on that day were the things Jesus said while He was on the cross.
As Jesus was nearing His death, He cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?,” which being translated means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Many of those around Jesus did not understand what He had said. But any Jew familiar with the Old Testament should have immediately recognized Jesus’ lament as a direct quote from the first line of Psalm 22. King David wrote that psalm about 1,000 years before the death of Jesus. Yet verses 16 through 18 describe in minute detail what was happening at the crucifixion: “They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
Could you imagine having the twenty-second Psalm in your hand (or mind), and watching the soldiers at Jesus’ feet actually casting lots for His clothing (Matthew 27:35)—exactly as the psalmist predicted? With one of Christ’s last breaths on the cross, He tried to get people to understand that He was the Messiah.
As we today look back upon the situation—almost 2000 years after the fact—we see that Jesus proved the Bible had accurately foretold the future, thereby verifying its inspiration. As Isaiah said: “Declare unto us what shall happen: declare ye the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or show us things to come” (41:22). The very thing the pagans could not do (41:22-24), God’s Word could (see Isaiah 42:8-9).