Filling Life's Potholes with God's Perfection

Perfection Road offers encouragement to those longing to live like Jesus,
so they may confidently travel the road toward God's perfect love.

Amazing New Discovery

Maybe it’s genetics. Maybe it’s learned. All I know for sure is that my daughter Jennifer shares my passionate love for learning. Kids can grow hungry and chores left undone if our phone conversation gets Bible nerdy. Since today is her birthday I thought I’d honor her by sharing some fresh insight that recently wowed us.

Discovering Jesus-connections between the Old and New Testaments fascinates me and strengthens my faith. The teacher in me loves to identify the teaching methods used by Jesus. One of those methods commonly used among rabbis was called remez.

Remez helped with the memorization of large blocks of Scripture. The rabbi would begin the passage and let the students complete it. Remez often connected an old concept to a new one.

Many scholars and Messianic Jews believe this is what Jesus was doing in Luke 19 when Jesus told Zacchaeus, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.” That last thought is found in Ezekiel 34:10-11 where God accused the shepherds of Israel of not tending their flock. Jewish leaders would have recognized those words and understood that Jesus was talking about them.

However, Jesus’ most eye-opening use of remez may have been as He hung on the cross. One of the last seven statements of Jesus on the cross was, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” I’ve never been convinced that God completely turned His back on Jesus. Yes, I’ve heard many times that Jesus bore all of our sins and God had to turn His face away. But perhaps Jesus wasn’t commenting on God’s actions, but simply being a good teacher to the end. He used his final breaths to teach, one more time, that He was indeed who He said He was.

The first line of Psalm 22 is “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” The Jewish audience, who had memorized massive volumes of Scripture, would have recognized that statement. Their minds would have immediately continued reciting the rest of that Psalm 22. David wrote this Psalm of prophecy about a thousand years before Jesus was born and before crucifixion became a method of capital punishment.

Take a look at just a few of the verses in that Psalm prophesying the events of Jesus’ suffering:

v. 1 “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (CSB) “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 abandoned me?’” (Matthew 27:46)
 

v. 7 “Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads:

 

“Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads…” (Matthew 27:39)

 

v. 8 “He relies on the Lord; let him save him; let the Lord rescue him since he takes pleasure in him.”

 

“He trusts in God; let God rescue him now – if he takes pleasure in him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:43)

 

v. 16 “they pierced my hands and my feet.”

 

“But he [Thomas] said to them, ‘If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.’” (John 20:25)

 

v. 17-18 “people look and stare at me. They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.”

 

“After crucifying him, they divided his clothes by casting lots.” (Matthew 27:35)

As Jewish minds silently recited the words of Psalm 22, some of them surely began to connect them with the events that had just unfurled before their very eyes. Perhaps, many of them shared the confession of the centurion after feeling the earth tremble, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:54)

It comforts me to know that David also foretold God’s response to Jesus’ suffering. He [the Lord] did not hide his face from him but listened when he cried to him for help.” (v. 24) God will not hide His face from you either. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus paid your sin bill on the cross.

The last word uttered by Jesus from the cross was “Tetelestai!” a Greek accounting term meaning a bill had been paid in full. The Old Testament Hebrew word for that was Asah. Imagine standing near the cross, hearing Jesus cry out “My God, my God why have you abandoned me.” Your mind recites Psalm 22, and then, just as your mind says the last word, Asah, you see Jesus pull himself up one final time and hear him cry, “Tetelestai!” It is finished! All of the pieces fall into place as you fall to your knees knowing this truly was the Son of God.

The more I know about God’s amazing Word, the more I want to know. This is one addiction I never want to recover from. Become a Bible nerd – it’s an amazing adventure! If you have an interesting Bible fact to share hit the comment box and share it.

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Happy birthday, Jennifer!!

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