I’m so excited about the pre-release of my new book Fearless Faith. Here’s the introduction. I’d love to get your feedback and thoughts on it! So please feel free to comment. Also at the end of this post you’ll find a little gift from me, just for you, my blog-family. I hope you enjoy!
Introduction to Fearless Faith:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus cried out from the cross. This painful cry may be the most perplexing and puzzling statements to ever proceed from the lips of Christ. What exactly did he mean when he thundered these words from the cross? Had his Father really forsaken him? This statement seems so opposed to everything Jesus taught about his Father, that he was good, loving and ever present. Was Jesus now doubting the God in whom he had taught the crowds to trust? Had the hours of suffering made him delusional? Was I missing something? What would provoke him to utter, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
I didn’t have an answer and it was eating at me. Why? In large, it was due to the fact that the content of his cry appears to be radically inconsistent with Jesus’s core message, that his Father was good — engaged — that his eye was on the sparrow, all that. In fact, no where else in the New Testament does Jesus say anything like this. So much so, that these words stand as an anomaly, a singularity of speech. And I could not ignore the pull of its theological gravity, the weight of its potential inconsistency, crushing. The meaning of those 9 words — ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” — are infinitely important. Their interpretation, paramount. This passage could change everything believed to be true about Jesus. This is quite the mystery and, as you’ll discover in the pages ahead, Christ may just have intended it to be so.
In this short book, I will act less as an author and more like an investigatory guide. I say guide, because my primary goal will be to facilitate an experience of faith, rather than merely communicate information. I want the lightbulbs to turn-on for you — as they turned-on for me — when I first stumbled on to these life altering discoveries. In order to do so, you must approach this book with an energetic mind and an open heart. For with these two legs alone, can you walk into the encounter awaiting you in the pages ahead. An experience I guaranty will, at least, change the way you think about God, but could, possibly, unleash such a profound confidence in Jesus, and the God he proclaimed, that it propels you into a lifestyle of passionate, empowering, purpose. I think you’ll experience the later. I did. The ancient revelation that unfolds in the pages of this book is so dynamic, it has the power to transform a timid faith to a fearless one! So as you read, my suggestion would be to pace yourself — adagio — enjoy the journey.
A few things we’ll need to know before we start to investigate — this cry of Christ’s, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Primarily, we must know that Christ wasn’t simply speaking, — he was quoting. Jesus wasn’t the first to articulate this sentiment. These words were penned approximately 1,000 years prior to Christ’s crucifixion by an Israeli king named David. Jesus wasn’t merely expressing his present pain. He was quoting the first line of Psalm 22 (written by King David). Why would he do this?
Before we can fully address this, it’s crucial to know that during the period of time when Christ lived, the Bible was not divided into chapter and verse. The “books” of the Bible as we now know them, weren’t titled either. Rather, during that time, the way one referred to a specific book, chapter or passage was by quoting the first words and often, the last words of a specific portion of Scripture. As I mentioned, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is the first line of Psalm 22. So, when Jesus cried this out, he was telling those at the cross (and those who would hear of his crucifixion in the future), to think about Psalm 22. Jesus was saying that the Psalm was a vital piece to understanding what was happening — right then and right there, on the cross.
Jesus was saying, if you want to understand what’s going on here, you must look through the lens of Psalm 22. Then you’ll be able to apprehend why I am on this cross and interpret what I am doing through this cross. Could it be that Psalms 22 is the Rosetta Stone, the decoder ring, the magic glasses, the key that unlocks our understanding to the most significant event in human history?
Yes, when Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” it was an invitation to investigate Psalm 22 — to put the pieces together, to “connect the dots” as it were. He was counting on us to decipher it. And, if we could not — to investigate his words until we could. In fact, if we don’t apprehend the reason behind Christ’s words, we will not be able to fully understand the true purpose of Christ or the cross upon which he died. And discovering this, is the soul’s holy grail — the ultimate treasure — eternal life.
If you accept this assignment: Jesus’s invitation to investigate Psalms 22 — you will have chosen to pull the string on the greatest of mysteries. With the turning of each page of this book, it will unravel before us. Shall we begin?
Blog Bonus: FREE download of Fearless Faith book (the pre-release version). Download your free copy now at joeljohnson.org
*for a limited time only