April 2, 2010

What's So Good About It?

I want to say at the outset that this article will annoy many people because it contains the most inconvenient truths. People won't have the nerve to finish reading it, I'll wager.

"How much is that wager, Cowboy Bob?"

How about thirty pieces of silver?

Welcome to Good Friday. It's called that because that is the day Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world. That's right, I said it! There are people who are desperate to escape dealing with sin and death, so they will say some amazingly ignorant things. They are ignorant of historical records and, it seems, of the ability to think. But I have to admit, it's "good" for us, but it wasn't a good experience for Jesus.

Some will say that God does not even exist, but I will not go after that foolishness. (Search this Weblog for "atheist" if you want to see how I show the errors of that concept.) Others will say that Jesus did not really exist. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but more ignorance of historical records and sensibility. Other silliness will say that a man named Jesus lived, but he certainly did not rise from the dead. I smacked that notion down here, he most certainly did rise bodily from the dead.

Today, I will bring up something different: Prophecies. (No, I have no interest in the "prophecies" of Tara the Psychic on Facebook or the pretend gypsy that has a shop on South Main Street.) These came from the real prophets of the Old Testament. It was a pretty exclusive club. To show that God was speaking through you, you had to be correct every time.

I should qualify one thing, though. "Prophecy" was not just foretelling the future. A prophet's job is to call people back to God. Sometimes, it involved dramatic foretelling. And some of that was in the far future. I will skim some highlights instead of hitting you with over four hundred prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.

  • Zechariah 11:12-13 foretold that Jesus would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. That was fulfilled five hundred years later.
  • Isaiah 53:7 says that he was silent before his accusers, and it was fulfilled with the rest. This prophesy (and many others in Isaiah) was made even earlier, about seven hundred years.
  • Isaiah 53 also tells us that Jesus was horribly beaten and disfigured.
  • Psalm 41:9 tells us that his betrayal would come from a friend.
  • Psalm 22:16 says, "They have pierced my hands and feet". Puzzling for the Hebrews, and it finally made sense when his hands and feet were nailed to the cross in a Roman execution.
  • He was "numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12 and Psalm 22:16). The crucifixion was a public event; we see portrayals of three crosses. Yes, he was crucified between two thieves — and there were others being executed on that hill, also.
Isaiah clearly laid out why this was done, in chapter 53: "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

This drives disbelievers up the wall. If there is a creator, then he makes the rules and we should find out what he has to say. And if there is a creator, we have all sinned, and Jesus died for us. That's hard for proud people like me to admit, but I cannot deny the truth. Fulfilled prophesy is a strong witness.

 You can read more here. Now you know the truth. What are you going to do with it? Trust Jesus, who died and rose again, and is seated at the right hand of the Father? That's the only real choice.

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