Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can contact him by sending a message to bobjc88 @ gmail.com. You can also find him at his new blog at www.roberlain.blogspot.com .
Psalm 22:1–18 (ESV)
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.
12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
Jesus cried out the words of the first verse of this Psalm on the cross. It was a conscious quote, but it was also a cry from the depths of His heart. Someone once flatteringly told me that if I was cut in half, Scripture would pour out! How much more so with the living Word become flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ!
The answer to the question is shocking in the undeserved grace of it all. The Son was forsaken by the Father on the cross for the sake of sinners like you and I! Very rarely will anyone give their life for another, but God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were yet enemies of Him, Christ died for us.
This first half of Psalm 22 is an excruciating description of Christ’s crucifixion, a thousand years before it happened, and before crucifixion itself had even been invented. The gospels are very matter of fact in observing what happened at Calvary, but this prophetic Psalm gives real insight into the deep anguish of heart that the Lord went through for us.
A worm is one of the most unflattering animals to be compared to, but that’s how Jesus was treated by us- not even to be considered squishing underfoot, but simply to be passed on by and ignored. Crucifixion is to this day one of the most excruciating and humiliating forms of execution- suffocating naked as impaled on a cross of wood.
The detail of this Psalm about something that hadn’t been invented and something that wasn’t to happen for a thousand years is amazing. They pierced His hands and feet. He could count all His bones as He hung exposed to the world. They gambled for His clothing. And He went through it all for the likes of you and me!
“Yahweh our God, we’re shocked and astounded at what You went through for us. We worship You for forsaking Your beloved Son for unlovable traitors like us. Please have mercy upon us, because of Him, amen”
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