The Old Testament testifies for the Cross
It is not Good Friday; yet we cannot allow the day to pass before we highlight the amazing truth that glorifies our Lord by turning the disgraceful death on the cross into the sign that conquer evil!
Yes, we celebrate the feast of the discovery of the Holy cross by the Empress Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor St. Constantine the great, but that particular Cross was in the vision of the two prophets David and Isaiah more than 1000 years before it erected on Golgotha.
The Old Testament testifies as a witness on the stand to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and to the cross that didn’t exist then.
King David ruled 1000 years before Christ and yet he sees the crucifixion as clearly as Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul. Though it was yet not even a reality. Through the marvelous inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through the mind of God who prophetically sees down through the centuries to the inevitable future of His own will, so we’re given here David’s insights from the Holy Spirit into a future that hasn’t even happened, as in Acts 2:30, the Holy Spirit says “David was a prophet.”
King David’s Psalm 22:14-18 – describes the inner feelings of a man who appears to have been crucified:
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
Yet, this description was written about 1000 BC – almost 500 years before the first known crucifixion in history even took place. Crucifixion is one of the most inhumane, painful, disgusting, and embarrassing methods of prisoner execution known to history. The earliest historical record of a crucifixion dates from about 519 BC when the Persians crucified a number of people who opposed King Darius in Babylon. From the Persians, the practice of crucifixion was adopted by the Seleucid Syrian kings. From there, the practice was adopted by the Romans. It was the Romans, though, that perfected it into one of the most feared forms of execution known to man.
Moreover, the Hebrews never practiced crucifixion at any time. So, David would have had no way of knowing anything about how a crucified man would feel. We know from direct quotes in the New Testament that this crucified man was none other than Jesus Himself.
The prophet Isaiah lived 700 hundred years before Christ, and 200 years before any crucifixion took place. Yet, his precise and thorough description of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was frightening to any normal person to even imagine or think of, especially in Isaiah chapter 50, 52 and 53. The spit on, striking, beating, hair pulling, crushing, piercing, suffering… and many other brutal things… but all that was for our transgressions and our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Other religions deny the glory of Jesus’ suffering on the cross; they deny His death and resurrection. For us we always say with St. Paul “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Deacon Michel Samuel Massoud