Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

TTE Advent Calendar Day Eighteen – December 18th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Eighteen – December 18th

Thank you for reading our eighteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be pierced in his hands and feet. We read this is the book of Psalm chapter 22 which was written by King David …

Psalm 22:16 (ESV) For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

Prophecy is Gods truth foretold

I find prophecy fascinating, several hundreds of years before the Roman Empire was even thinking of expanding beyond the borders of modern day Italy and before the idea of nailing criminals to a cross as a means of punishment and law and order was ever thought of David speaks in a prophetic fashion about the messiah being pierced with his hands and his feet.

What is crucifixion?

Crucifixion was by far the most barbaric and public way of displaying wrongdoers and keeping law and order. Often times these criminals would be put in a place outside of the city walls that could be seen from all parts of the city. Jesus was marched up to Calvary which was a hill that was visible to inhabitants of Jerusalem.

This was no picnic, the criminal was hung and nailed to hard wood, in Jesus case he had been scourged, whipped, beaten where breathing was problematic, his body had been through so much trauma he could not carry the cross the whole way. He was hungry, thirsty and by this time in his ordeal his body was in shock. On his head was a crown of thorns that had been forced and imprinted on and through his head.

His hands had been bound to a heavy beam and he was under a guard as much to allow him to not escape (the escape ratio was low) as to also stop the baying crowd from killing him before he got there. When he got to the top of the hill his hands and feet were nailed to the wooden structure that he would die on. Eventually he suffocated, alone covered in his own blood and in great pain. The lamb had been slain for the sins of the world.

This was further prophesied in the book of Zechariah…

Zechariah 12:10 (ESV) “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

We see in the prior verse the words “In that day…” this sparks interest in my soul, mainly due to have sitting under the teaching of Ryan Ruckman who pastors a church in Porterville who has a great love for messianic prophecy. The words “in that day” are classic prophetic words that refer specifically to the messiah, now it may refer to his first or second coming but it still talks about the messiah.

God will pour out to the repentant ones a “spirit of grace and pleas for mercy” they will have saving grace and repentant prayer and god will move among them. When we become a Christian this is the first step. We have to acknowledge we have a sin problem. We will not recognize our need for a messiah if we don’t believe that we need to be saved; also we will not think we need a messiah if we have no idea what we need to be saved from. Have you had your problem solved? Do you recognize your need for a messiah? Do you need to turn back to God with a repentant heart?

Then they will mourn for the pierced one. When we understand why the sacrifice was necessary and why he went to the cross in the first place, understand why such high a price had to be paid for us who, let’s face it are not worth it!

They will realize what they have done and that they bear responsibility for the crucifixion of their messiah. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Jewish people will mourn due to the rejection of the one who came to save. They will mourn like one who was the most loved.

Lastly in this verse we read that “they will look upon me” which is yet again another confirmation that the “me” is Jesus, a member of the triune God. This is the Father sending the Spirit so that the people would turn to the Son and be saved. This to me is a beautiful picture of Salvation in Christ Jesus.

Still have doubts?

John 20:24 (ESV) Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas is remembered for this in scripture, I am sad for Thomas as in his mind Jerusalem was a melting pot of religious fervor. Rumors would be flying around asking what happened to this Jesus that was crucified, the religious people would be trying to shut people up, and followers of Jesus would be claiming he was alive.

I feel for Thomas’ confusion. He seen his LORD, the guy who he had hung on every word arrested, beat to a pulp, marched up a hill and killed in the cruelest way possible. Any rational man would be a little skeptical, I am sure that the disciples would have been praying between the crucifixion and the resurrection. This to me is a lesson in prayer; if we pray for something we had better prepare our hearts in case God grants that prayer and not be super freaked out if he does.

What a lot of people miss about this passage of scripture is that the people who are telling Thomas that they have seen Jesus have already seen his hands and feet, he has shown them in verse 20. They seem so much more confident than Thomas but Jesus has already shown his wounds and he has breathed on them, of course they are confident he is alive!

He is known universally as “doubting Thomas” but I have empathy for him and would put him no higher than a healthy questioning skeptic. For reasons listed above he had good reasons to have questions until he had some tangible evidence. This guy has seen a guy that he was close to, lived with and learned so much being brutally murdered so he is going to have a few doubts. Also if they were going to profess this Jesus was alive, it could almost certainly lead to their death so I understand why he wanted to be sure. Who wants to die for a lie?

Thomas had to wait eight days to get the validation that his hopes were true, Jesus granted him the opportunity to place his finger, touch the wounds and gave him what he required to believe and bear testimony that Jesus did in fact return from the grave and conquered death.

Thomas believed! It would have been tragic if Thomas had made all these requests and still refused to believe. We read in Acts that when Judas was replaced only one man was chosen to make up the twelve do we know that Thomas became a disciple again and believed. (he called him “My Lord and my God”)

Jesus closed by stating “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And that is us, the last recorded historical face to face meeting between a human and Jesus in the bible is in Acts 9 when Saul is converted on the road to Damascus. We are the ones he is referring to, I believe because I have faith and having examined the evidence I have found it to be reliable, inerrant, infallible and true. My prayer is that these articles will help you do likewise.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

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