By Robert Olsen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Once Jesus is sentenced to be executed, the events that play out are fulfillments of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. For example, casting lots for Jesus’ clothing is seen in Psalm 22:18, and Jesus being executed with sinners is in Isaiah 53:12.
Even the charge written over His head is affirming the truth that Jesus is the King of the Jews. In spite of their attempts at mockery, they were actually telling the truth. Jesus IS the King of the Jews.
All of these events are telling the reader that the events were foretold and that they should come as no surprise to us. For us today, it should not cause us to doubt but instead to be encouraged.
Even after Jesus was put on the cross, His torment did not end. Not only was He faced with the agonizing pain of being beaten and nailed to a cross but people mocked Him.
The sinless and perfect Son of God was mocked by the people He came to save.
This is a fulfillment of Psalm 22:7–8. Christ was taking the punishment we deserve by being shamed and scorned and mocked.
Because He was innocent, He could have come down from the cross and refused to have been humiliated in such a way. But for our sakes, He was bruised and beaten to pay our debt so we could be freed from sin and death.
Once Jesus had suffered, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” in accordance with Psalm 22. These words are often misunderstood to mean that Jesus was confused as to why He was being punished by the Father, but this is not the case.
Jesus is showing the fulfillment of God’s plan as laid out in Psalm 22, which ends with triumph.
The end of Psalm 22 shows God ruling in righteousness over the nations.
Without the crucifixion, this event would not come to pass. Jesus’ cry is calling attention to the fact that the entirety of the Psalm is being fulfilled.
The crucifixion of Jesus was a necessary part of God’s plan all along so that we could be made right with God. Since God is holy and perfect, He cannot be in the presence of sin.
As sinners, we deserve death and separation from God, but God loves us so much that He sent Christ to die on our behalf. (See Rom. 6:23, 3:23 and 5:8 and John 3:16.)
However, many modern non-Christian scholars say that Jesus was merely a regular Jewish man who stood up to the Romans in Israel and ended up getting killed as a rebel for His troubles. This is not the case.
Not only does the evidence point to Jesus’ resurrection, but we can also see from these verses that the matching up of Isaiah and the Psalms to the crucifixion is uncanny.
What does this mean for us? It shows that God is sovereign over all the acts that play out in history, and when we can see the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible, it can bolster our faith to trust in the promises yet to come.
Knowing that God is faithful means that we can trust that our salvation is secure because the Bible, the Word of God, says so.