Jewish scholars accuse the Christian authors of the Gospels of scouring through the Old Testament for passages into which they could “shoehorn” Jesus to create “Jesus prophesies”. Jews cite Psalm 22 as one of these passages.
Is there any evidence for this accusation?
Mainstream Christian New Testament scholar Raymond Brown says the following in his book, The Death of the Messiah, pp. 988-989:
The only words spoken on the cross by the dying Jesus in Mark/Matthew will quote Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
Christians will counter that I cannot prove that Jesus did not quote this passage in the Psalms to fulfill a prophesy. And that is true. But think about this: In my reading of Raymond Brown’s two volume book The Death of the Messiah (I am currently almost to page 1000!) Brown has given massive evidence that the Gospel of Matthew is really nothing more than a re-write of the Gospel of Mark. The author of Matthew cuts and pastes entire sections of Mark and places them in his gospel almost word for word. I don’t know how anyone who reads Brown’s book can still believe that the Gospel of Matthew was written by any eyewitness with the massive evidence of the author’s non-stop plagiarism of the author of Mark’s gospel. So the fact that the Gospel of Matthew includes this alleged saying of Jesus should not be taken as independent evidence of its historicity. Matthew copied Mark in including this phrase in his Gospel.
But get this: The authors of Luke and John never mention this famous saying of Jesus in their Gospels! Christians will give you all kinds of excuses why these authors left out this saying of Jesus, but come on! Wouldn’t the dying last words of Jesus be something that every early Christian would know by heart? After all, if we are to believe the author of the Gospel of John, Jesus had a number of followers at the foot of the cross including his own mother who would have remembered this saying!
In reality, we have just one independent source who states that Jesus made this statement on the cross.
So which is more likely, Readers: Jesus really made this statement in his dying last breath as a fulfillment of a messianic prophesy in Psalm 22, or, the author of Mark scoured the Old Testament for a passage into which he could shoehorn Jesus, and…voila: A Jesus prophesy was born!
And the icing on the cake: Both Mark/Matthew state that the crowd at the cross mocked Jesus, and while they mocked him, they “wagged” their heads.
Read Psalm 22:7:
All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
Come on, folks. This is quote mining at its best. Jewish scholars are right.