Do Not Gamble

Forsaken | Devotion #1: Do Not Gamble
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

While Jesus was on the cross, He said one of the most misinterpreted phrases of all time. Matthew 27:46 records, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” I have heard and read many faulty theories. Jesus was not confused. He was not questioning His choice to go to the cross. He intentionally carried the sin of the world knowing God would not be able to look upon Him. He left Heaven for this day. It was even prophesied.

Jesus was taking His present audience and even us back 1,000 years to a writing by David. The get the attention of a specific group, He chose to say the phrase in Aramaic. Luke interprets it for his readers. Jesus gives the opening words to a song every adult Hebrew male had memorized. He took them to Psalm chapter 22.

The song starts, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” As a seasoned Rabbi, he started the poetical section expecting his pupils to continue through the piece they had studied. The chapter goes on to mention that the Messiah was “despised by the people” (verse 6), they “mock” Him (verse 7), He is surrounded by enemies (verses 12-13, 16), His “bones are out of joint” (verse 14), He is thirsty (verse 15), they “pierced” His hands and feet (verse 16), and for His “clothing they cast lots” (verse 18). The crucifixion is clearly described and predicted in Psalm chapter 22.    

Verse 18 makes me laugh as I picture the whole scene, “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” I imagine the Jews, both who have accepted Jesus as the Messiah and those who rejoiced in His abuse, humming out loud or in the mind all the lyrics recorded in this song. Jesus started it, and they caught His lead. I picture everyone who understands Aramaic looking at the guards as they are casting lots. I believe it is the first time Satan ever said, “Do not gamble.” I picture him screaming for them to tear the clothing in half, burn it, steal it and run, or even for them to be kind and give the clothes to the needy. He could not change God’s Word or plan. A millennium earlier, it was recorded, and no one could do a thing about it. 

Jesus chose the cross. He knew what that meant and even took time to teach another lesson. He was the ultimate object lesson.

Jesus loves you. He lived for you and died for you. His plan was not and could not be thwarted. He has a plan for your life. Listen to Him and step out in faith and confidence. 

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