Let's get this out of the way first. I'm a guy, writing on a blog that seeks to reach women. But even as a guy, I've learned a lot through this site and my involvement behind the scenes. This week, they're focusing on the lies that we believe about ourselves. One that I've been carrying around with me for a while is that I don't have much to teach, about God anyways, because I'm not a biblical scholar.
I've been a believer my entire life. Jesus has always been real and true to me. But within the last few years, I've started to really feel His presence and see Him in my daily life (thanks to my church, my friends, my wife, and this site). It has been life-changing, life-giving, and all those other touchy feely words that the women of TCIR are so good at sharing with us. Despite my spiritual growth, I've never been able to speak or write about God, especially to other people. How could I? I'm still learning, reading, listening. And questioning.
There's been one part of Jesus's story that has always bothered me. It comes when Jesus is on the cross, knowing full well that He is going to die. Also knowing full well that He is God, and that His death will save the world. But still, He cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!?" What?! Why would He say that right then? Was He having doubts about His very own existence? Both Matthew and Mark make a point to write this in their gospels. I've asked just about every preacher I've known for the past few years about this, but never got a good answer. This didn't sit well with me. Jesus IS God. He knew he wasn't forsaken!
Only recently, a good friend and pastor finally answered the question for me in a sermon. Apparently, back in Jesus's time, Jewish people memorized the Bible. But when talking about the Word, they used the first line of the passage to reference the entire section. You ready for this? You've GOT to go and read Psalm 22.
Remember, this is in Psalms from the Old Testament! Written by David (or for David? Again, I'm not a biblical scholar) hundreds of years before Jesus even walked the earth. Jesus, while dying on the cross, is referencing a psalm that quite literally explains what is happening at that very moment.
"Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment." (Psalm 22:16-18 NIV)
He is telling those at the crucifixion (and eventually us) that yes, this IS supposed to happen. It's been written and memorized for years before this moment. It's as if Jesus is saying: Don't you see? Do you get it now? (I love how Jesus gets exasperated with the apostles all the time. It reminds me of myself with my kids.)
The psalm goes on to explain WHY this is happening. Keep in mind that his followers (like me) didn't understand everything Jesus was teaching. This death was not what they expected.
"Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness," (Psalm 22:30-31 NIV)
He is telling them not only about what is happening during the crucifixion, but also what WILL happen to the world because of this moment. After He rises from the dead, His church will begin. And future generations (including us, over 2000 years later) will hear about it. And it ends with the most fitting statement for the moment of Jesus's death, and what I believe to be a great summary of the entire New Testament.
"He has done it!" (Psalm 22:31 NIV)
It's so simple! I was upset that nobody had showed this to me before. (Shouldn't this be the first thing taught in seminary? Lol.) And there it was that day in church, reaching a couple hundred people during that service. I love historical facts, scientific proof, and looking into the context of when and who wrote each book of the Bible. It's how I learn best and it's what helps me get closer to God. I suspect there are others out there like me who can appreciate this, and are reached in the same way.
Weeks later, my mother-in-law (Hi Geeg!) texted us a different question about the Bible and Jesus's death. And by "us" I mean Lisa, because she is the one who typically answers these things (but I'm excellent at the occasional sarcastic remark). She's the one who studies the Bible and has a gift for speaking, but I chimed in anyway. "Wanna hear something cool? Read Psalm 22!" After a few more texts, Geeg was as blown away as I was. She is pretty new to the faith and is learning everyday. She mentioned her stepson, who is struggling in life right now, in prison, but who has also shown an interest in God recently. "He would love facts like this! I'm going to write him right now!" So there it was. My voice carried God's truth from here in Florida, to Geeg in California, then all the way to a prison in Hawaii. In less than 10 minutes. All because I decided to say something. Nothing big, nothing prepared, just a conversation.
That lie. "You don't have a voice. You aren't trained enough in Biblical studies to talk about that. Just sit and listen. You have a lot more learning to do before you can reach anyone. Leave the teaching to the pastors and priests." All untrue. And up until recently, I believed them all.
I think we are all called to share the Word - as little or as much as you know. You don't have to preach at a church, start a website, or even lead a small group. You never know when someone is listening, when someone needs to hear your story, or when someone's life could be affected with your voice. All because you took the chance to speak His truth.
"He has done it!"
First and foremost, Kyle is husband to The Chase Is Real's very own Lisa, and father to three amazing kids. He's also an aerospace engineer - a pretty cool side job. In his struggle to transition from a decorated student-athlete to an everyday working man, he found that God had quietly blessed him in small ways that were only noticeable if he changed his perspective. Kyle now understands the power of a church community, a strong God-centered marriage, and faith. Faith in our loving God, and that his Jacksonville Jaguars will be good again...someday.