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Mark 15:24
Thursday, September 06 2012

Jesus Fulfills Old Testament Prophecy...

The soldiers cast lots for Jesus' clothing and tunic:

Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take.  -Mark 15:24, NAB

This verse may seem insignificant, but it was repeated in the other Gospels, as well.  In the parallel verses of John 19:23-24, Matthew 27:35, and Luke 23:34, we see the same story.  Of these verses, St. John's Gospel goes into the most detail:

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be," in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled (that says): "They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots." This is what the soldiers did. -John 19:23-24, NAB

You may still be wondering why this verse is so important.  Why would it be repeated in all four Gospels?  It's importance is best shown in St. John's version of the story, where he actually quotes the prophecy from Psalm 22:19.  The verse is not important because anyone cares about Jesus' clothing, but because it fulfilled yet another Old Testament prophecy.

Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophecies validates who He was.  He was not simply a prophet that came to teach the Jews; He was (and is) the promised Messiah who came to free the world from the oppression of sin.

I have heard that Jesus literally fulfilled hundreds of prophecies regarding the Messiah.  Well, I'm not an Old Testament prophecy scholar, but even if He fulfilled only a portion of these, it would still point to Him being the Messiah.  One site, Scripture Catholic, lists just a few of these (read here).

Understanding how Christ connects the Old Testament to the New is an integral part of our faith.  We do not need to become prophecy scholars to be a good Catholic, but having a basic understanding of how it ties into Jesus' life brings added dimension and depth to our beliefs.

The point of these Daily Bible Verses is to dive deeper into each verse, one by one, and I hope that having a better understanding of verses like today's, as unimportant as they may seem, will help you to grow in knowledge and spiritual strength.

 

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