Reflection: Some of those standing by and watching Jesus die, most likely Roman soldiers, react to his cry, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” They misunderstand Jesus, thinking he called for Elijah.
When it comes to Elijah, in part they were right, the Old Testament did prophesy that Elijah would return as a forerunner to the Messiah. But Elijah has already returned, in the
person of the John the Baptist, his spitting image – same clothes, same food, same region – and in person at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–13).
Prophecies fulfilled, the son of God dies, exactly according to plan; at the end, just as at the beginning, on his terms and not theirs. Jesus isn’t killed. He gives up his spirit. Just as he knew his betrayer, just as he handed himself over in the garden, just as he was silent before his accusers, just as he offered Caiaphas the words needed to condemn him, just as he did not respond to the charges before
Pilate, and just as at any moment he could have called upon ten thousand times ten thousand of his mighty angels to deliver him from their hands – Jesus isn’t killed. This is on his terms. This has always been his plan since humankind fell in Genesis 3. Jesus isn’t killed. He gives up his spirit.
Question: What impact does it have, for you, that in Jesus’ death on the cross so many Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled so precisely? For further reading, you might like to look at Isaiah 52:13– 53:12 to see more prophecies of Jesus.
Prayer: Dear God, I praise you that everything happens according to your good and perfect plan, from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, down to what is going on in my life right at this very moment. Amen.
We are reading the Bible with Paul White until 7th April.