A Teaser Of Crucifixion – Psalm 22

This Psalm portrays the crucifixion of Jesus that occurred centuries after its writing. It is bewildering how David, a Jew by birth, foresaw the Roman practice of killing the criminals by hanging them on a tree. The capital punishment of crucifixion had come to vogue in Rome long after the death of David. Yet this Psalm depicts the act of crucifixion as it was recorded in the Gospels. While David enumerated his sufferings from a human point of view, the Spirit of God pre-recorded the sequence of events that happened during the crucifixion of Jesus. God’s words, which were uttered centuries back, became active on the cross.

Cries Of Anguish

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

Psalms 22:1-2

Bible scholars have placed these lines as the fourth in the sequence of statements that Jesus uttered while hanging on the cross. There is a common idea that while dying on the cross, Jesus cared for others in three sentences that preceded this fourth one, and from the fourth onwards, Jesus prayed for Himself. However, if we deeply meditate on these words, we will understand that every word relates to the salvation of sinners like us and nothing for Himself.

Jesus repeatedly cried out to God in anguish to figure out the reason for forsaking Him. As God laid the sins of all humans on Him, Jesus had lost His Sonship, and He became our brother and called His Father, as we call Him. On the previous night, Jesus asked His father to take away the cup from Him, yet He submitted Himself to His Father’s will. By dying on the cross for the wages of our sins, Jesus alienated Himself from His Father. God had forsaken Him, not because of His sin, but because of our sins.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus had forgone His relationship with His Father to be with all who have lost their relationship with God. He did that to reconcile us with His Father and give us the Sonship. Knowing very well that if He failed to come back to God with the heavy-laden sins of the world, He would be permanently cut off from His Father and would not be able to save us and cried out to God at the right time. It is a reminder for us to come back to our Lord when loaded with the burden of our sins. By praying at the right time, Jesus regained His Sonship and is still sharing it with all who believe in Him.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Hebrews 5:7-9

God Is Enthroned

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

Psalms 22:3-5

Despite prolonged deprivation, David still believed in the sovereign power of God. Sometimes we underestimate God and do not allow Him to solve our problem, assuming that our situation is out of His jurisdiction. David had brought out the omnipresent character of God in one of his Psalms, that “If I made my bed in Sheol, behold, thou art there.” No place in the universe is out of His reach, yet we sometimes restrict Him from entering our hearts. David recalled How his ancestors trusted Him in their most demanding situation and how they were saved miraculously. He remembered that God never allowed them to be shamed. Remembering how God saved us from eternal death will help us put our trust in Him.

Feeling ashamed or not to be shamed is totally under our purview. No one can shame us unless and until we consider the opinion of others. Are we ashamed of professing our faith publically? In this evil world, do we hesitate to support a good cause? Jesus decided not to be ashamed of anything and endured the suffering on the cross, keeping in mind the joy before Him so that we might not go weary or be ashamed of anything in our lives (Hebrews 12:2-3). Our ultimate aim is to live with our Savior forever.

Synchronization

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
“let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

Psalms 22:6-8

Isaiah chapter 52 recorded the experience of Jesus matching with that of David. Jesus came to this earth to give us confidence that He knew our problems better than we know them ourselves. God showed His grace that David’s life synced with that of Jesus. God is pouring out His grace on us that our life should sync with the life of Jesus. To sync our lives with Jesus, we must stop thinking of our problems as unique to realize how God allowed His Son to suffer on behalf of us. Jesus had willingly taken on Himself every problem of ours so that we should not face them again in our day-to-day lives. The act of syncing our lives with that of Jesus will give us the strength to encounter our problems.

Realization

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb, you have been my God.
Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

Psalms 22:9-11

As fetuses or as infants, could we have managed ourselves? Or a mother who gave birth can handle her newborn child as soon as she is delivered the baby in pain? God, who gave life into our tiny bodies, is the only one capable of looking after us. From our mother’s womb, He has been our God. He is still trustworthy to depend on Him. When we are capable or not capable of realizing things happening around us, God will not forsake us. But we became capable of discerning things and rejected Him.

As an infant, when we are unable to discern evil and good, God did protect us from every peril. If we continue to trust Him, keeping aside our knowledge, He will take care of us. Often, our self acquired knowledge stops His help from reaching us.

Roaring Lions

Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.

Psalms 22:12-13

David sought God’s protection by openly admitting his vulnerability. Hiding our vulnerable condition prevents us from seeking help from God. We fail to figure out our real enemy when hiding our problems from our earthly enemies. For this reason, Jesus encountered our real enemy and disarmed his power and authority in a public spectacle, triumphing over him on the cross (Colossians 2:15).

We must be aware of the spiritual warfare and put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). Peter compared our real enemy with a roaring lion who will chase its prey to kill. Sin within us attracts the devil, and it pounces on us. If we die to sin, the devil will lose interest in us.

Love Poured Out

I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

Psalms 22:14-15

During most of his lifetime, people forsook David and broke his heart. God emptied him in all respect to make him remember his first battle against Goliath, where though he had no armour or weapon, how God enabled him to kill his enemy with measly pebbles. God protected the bones of David during the wars he fought.

When David wanted to drink the good water from the well of Bethlehem surrounded by the Philistines, three of his brave warriors fetched the water that David desired. Yet David did not drink, considering it as the blood of those brave warriors who went at the risk of their lives (2 Samuel 23:15-17). Aligning our minds with that of Jesus is an inexplicable experience. If we align our thoughts with the thoughts of Jesus, we can think and act like Him.

Jesus emptied Himself to save us from the clutches of sin. He did not count His glory for His own credit and left everything and came down to the earth to live among us. Despite His richness, Jesus became poor to make us rich in every respect. He emptied his last drop of blood and shed it to cleanse us from our sins. As they stripped off His clothes, one could count His bones, but God did not allow the Roman soldiers to break His bones. His heart melted out of love and compassion when He saw the perishing souls, and He did not hesitate to give His life for them. When He was thirsty, soldiers offered Him a drink, but he refused to drink, considering it as the sin-stained blood of His murderers instead offered His precious blood to cleanse all of us holistically. Jesus was well aware of the death, wages for our sins, that awaits Him, and faced it willingly.

Lamentations And Revelations

They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

Psalms 22:18

God enabled the adversaries of David to take all his belongings and humbled him. David’s son went into his ten concubines before all the Israelites (2 Samuel 16:20-22). The adversaries possibly would have taken David’s clothes. In this verse, we learn how God inspired David to prophecize the casting of lots for the garment of Jesus.

The first part of this verse is about David’s clothes and as there were many clothes they would have divided them. There would not have been any need for his adversaries to cast lots for David’s garment. God made David speak things relevant to his life and prophecized the casting of lots for the clothes of His Son, which was to occur centuries after. Amidst the distress of His people, God reveals His plans that the coming generation will understand when it takes place. God desires to use our life situations to announce His Kingdom’s plan to the people yet to be born.

Our Precious Life

But you, LORD, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

Psalms 22:19-21

Most of the time, We do not realize that our lives are precious because we treat our goals precious than our lives. Before we come to this conclusion, if we stop and think, our life might be valuable to our children, our spouse, our students, our colleagues, and so on. The life of David was precious to his family, his warriors, and his people. Keep this in mind, David prayed to God to rescue his life.

Above all, our lives are precious for God that He spared His Son to save them. Until then, a sword hung above our heads, the wages of our sins, death. Jesus poured out His life to death to save all of us from our ill fate destiny. His life is precious to His Father because, through His life, He redeemed us. As God redeemed us by the precious blood of Jesus, our lives are precious to Him.

Eternal Life

The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

Psalms 22:26

Two common misconceptions prevail in the minds of people. One is that poor people can never be satisfied and are cursed. The second one is that living a truthful life is full of suffering in this world, and our rewards will be in heaven. Both misconceptions rely on what parameters people have in their minds to determine satisfaction and suffering. Poor might be in contentment with what they have while the rich are never satisfied with what they have. People are far from Christ and assume that their life is full of suffering. People of God trade their suffering with perseverance. Perseverance gives us joy and helps us preserve our salvation till eternity. We worship a God who is living forever, and He is the God of the living.

Dominion Belongs To The LORD

All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.

Psalms 22:27-28

Through his experience, David concluded that dominion belongs to the Lord. It is similar to the one God revealed to Job, that his redeemer lives and that in the end, He will stand on the earth (Job 19:25). Job acknowledged the dominions of God in the end (Job 42:2). The people who shook their heads on seeing Jesus hanging on the cross later acknowledged Him as the Son of God when they witnessed the signs during the death of Jesus on the cross. 

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” 

Matthew 27:54

Dominion belongs to God, and He is coming again to judge this world. 

God Of Generations

All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

Psalms 22:29-31

“The rich” in this phrase does not refer to the wealth of this world. It refers to the richness of heaven, love, mercy, and the grace of God. Wealth often becomes the source that detaches people from God. The rich dishonour God by putting their trust in their wealth. But people who are rich in the love of God forgive others. Jesus had thrown a feast of forgiveness, and people were satisfied with the assurance of forgiveness.

On this mountain, the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines”

Isaiah 25:6

The psalmist mentioned this banquet, as God will spread a table in front of the enemy, the devil, that everyone will join in the feast of forgiveness. Sinners of the past, present, and future kneel before the everlasting God to obtain salvation. David remotely understood that God protected him to preserve his descendants. He might not be clear about the noble purpose of God to send His Son through his descendants but he would have told “He has done it,” while God enthroned him over Israelites, and now Jesus tells us that He has done it to make us sit in His throne. Jesus had accomplished the will of His Father and openly announced that He has done everything to save us. Now one has to believe in Jesus to obtain salvation. This message will be preached to the ends of the earth and to the generations yet to be born.

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Revelation 3:21
Loving God, Lead us not to temptations and protect us from evil and make us worthy to sit on the throne offered to us.

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