The Old Testament is replete with prophecies (353) which were fulfilled in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seven of these prophecies come from Psalm 69, and for that reason, it is called one of the Messianic psalms.
This coming Sunday is Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is a day of victory, of joy and rejoicing. But just now I would like to recall the days of sorrow and grief leading up to His resurrection, or at least the parts that are mentioned here in Psalm 69. For a fuller account, I would encourage you to read Lynn Abbott’s stirring post at Through Ink and Image, “Revue: Shadows Beneath the Palms.”
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1. He was hated without a cause.
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head:
they that would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully, are mighty:
then I restored that which I took not away.
In a private discourse with His disciples, Jesus explains why the world hated Him, and warns them that if they will follow Him, they will also be hated..
John 15:18-19, 25 If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…. But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, “They hated me without a cause.”
Even the Jews’ hatred of Jesus was a fulfillment of prophecy. Can you imagine? I can almost hear Joseph telling his brothers, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” The people who had only recently wanted to crown Jesus king, when they learned that His plan did not include overthrowing Rome, suddenly they turned their backs on Him; and in so doing, they reinforced Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God by fulfilling one of the prophecies about Him.
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2. He was a stranger to His own brothers.
I have become a stranger unto my brethren,
and an alien unto my mother’s children.
Jesus was rejected by the Jews as a whole and by the people of His hometown. Even His own brothers did not believe He was the Messiah until after His resurrection.
John 1:11 He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
John 4:44 For Jesus Himself testified, that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
John 7:5 For neither did His brothers believe in Him.
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3. He was zealous for the Lord’s house.
For the zeal of Your house has eaten me up;
and the reproaches of them who reproached You are fallen upon me.
John 2:17 And His disciples remembered that it was written, “The zeal of your house has consumed me.”
They remembered this after Jesus fashioned a whip and drove out the money-changers, overthrowing the tables, and disrupting the commerce that was desecrating the temple.
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4. He suffered great anguish of soul shortly before the crucifixion.
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink:
let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Let not the floodwater overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up,
and let not the pit shut its mouth upon me.
Hear me, O LORD; for Your loving-kindness is good:
turn unto me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.
And hide not Your face from Your servant;
for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
Draw near unto my soul, and redeem it:
deliver me because of my enemies.
You have known my reproach,
and my shame, and my dishonor:
my adversaries are all before You.
Both the prophecy and fulfillment show us Christ as the Son of Man, having temporarily laid aside His glory as the Son of God. He willingly took the form of flesh so that He could represent us to the Father. He suffered all the anguish that we suffer; He felt all our pain, all our sorrow, all our agony. He experienced everything—even our guilt—so that we might experience His righteousness.
Luke 22:39-44 And He came out, and went, as was His custom, to the mount of Olives; and His disciples also followed Him. And when He was at the place, He said unto them, “Pray that you enter not into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, “Father, if You be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
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5. His soul was “exceedingly sorrowful.”
Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness:
and I looked for some to take pity,
but there was none;
and for comforters,
but I found none.
Matthew 26:36-45 Then came Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and said unto the disciples, “Sit you here, while I go and pray yonder.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very distressed. Then said He unto them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry you here, and watch with Me.” And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.” And He came unto the disciples, and found them asleep, and said unto Peter, “What, could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then came He to His disciples, and said unto them, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
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6. He was given vinegar to drink.
They gave me also gall for my food;
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Matthew 27:34 They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink.
Why didn’t He drink it? Because it would have dulled His senses. It was an act of mercy that the soldiers would give the criminals a drink of vinegar, for it would help to alleviate their pain. But Jesus felt the full brunt of His suffering. He took it all for you and me. He did not shy away from the suffering because His eyes were fixed on the victory that lay just ahead.
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7. He was given and smitten by God.
For they persecute Him whom You have smitten;
and they talk of the grief of those whom You have wounded.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 18:11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, “Put up your sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
This is something I may never comprehend, that God knew—before He created Adam and Eve, before the Garden of Eden, before there was a heaven and earth—God knew that we would need a Savior. It was all planned from before the beginning of time. None of it took Him by surprise. God was grieved when sin entered into the world, but He wasn’t shocked by it. And He isn’t shocked by anything I’ve ever done either, only saddened. So why did He go ahead with creation, knowing that we would make a mess of things? That is what I’ll never comprehend. Unless the purpose was to fellowship with us and to demonstrate His great love. After all, what good is love if it has no object?
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To conclude, I would like to revisit John 1:11, from the fulfillment of the second prophecy. But this time I wish to look at the verses surrounding it.
John 1:10-14 He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name: Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Have you believed on the name of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ? He died for you because He loves you. But that’s not the best part. The best news is that He lives for you. Every other religious leader has also died, but Jesus is the only One who came back from the dead. His tomb is the only one that is empty!
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.
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Photo taken while on a road trip to the mountains of North Carolina, 2018.