Mark 15:29-32 and Unexpected Prophecy

Peter_Gertner_-_Crucifixion_-_Walters_37246It is no surprise to Christians that most of Jesus’ life and ministry were the fulfillment of prophecy. You can find books, charts, pamphlets, and web pages dedicated to showing how many different prophecies Jesus fulfilled during his ministry and how many are still yet to be fulfilled at the Second Coming. Some may debate exactly on which list certain prophecies should be, but all agree Jesus’ ministry was foretold well before it happened.

Here is an unexpected prophecy, because it came from an unexpected source:

29 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

This is from Mark and his telling of the crucifixion. Now look at this passage from an older source:

12 ‘Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.
13 He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child of the Lord.
14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
15 the very sight of him is a burden to us,
because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
and his ways are strange.
16 We are considered by him as something base,
and he avoids our ways as unclean;
he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
and boasts that God is his father.
17 Let us see if his words are true,
and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
18 for if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him,
and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
19 Let us test him with insult and torture,
so that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.
20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
for, according to what he says, he will be protected.’

21 Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray,

for their wickedness blinded them,
22 and they did not know the secret purposes of God,
nor hoped for the wages of holiness,
nor discerned the prize for blameless souls;
23 for God created us for incorruption,
and made us in the image of his own eternity,
24 but through the devil’s envy death entered the world,
and those who belong to his company experience it.

If you are not familiar with this passage, that is because it is from The Wisdom of Solomon, a book that was written sometime between 20-200 years before Jesus was born. This book was included in the Greek version of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint, which was the version of the Old Testament used by the Early Church. This version of the Old Testament had a few extra books that were originally composed in Greek, not Hebrew or Aramaic, and is the basis of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments. This is why they have “extra books” in their Bibles.

For most Protestants, these books are considered either deutrocanonical–a second canon of Scripture which are not a part of the original canon of Old Testament Scripture (this is actually the Roman Catholic understanding as well)– or apocryphal–books that are outside of the canon all together and may or may not be of value to read.

I like to see this passage as proof that the Holy Spirit can speak in ways and places in which we do not always think, and yet the Truth is always the same. More often than not, God is bigger than we think and uses any means possible to prepare people for the reality of Jesus Christ.

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