Summary: the prediction of the melting and crucifixion of Christ
April 9, 2003 Psalm 22:14-16
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.
In 520 B.C., King Darius learned that the temple at Jerusalem was not being built as the previous king had decreed nearly twenty years beforehand. Therefore, he ordered that this building continue, with an added incentive: Ezra 6:11 11 Furthermore, I decree that if anyone changes this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. The Assyrians would take a man from his house in the middle of the night, remove a doorpost from the house, sharpen it, and plant it in the ground. Then they would throw the man on the pointed post so it would catch him under the rib cage. He would be left to hang until he died. This cruel act of impalement by the Assyrians seemed to be the precursor to what we now know as the crucifixion. History shows us that crucifixions were not practiced until the Persians came to power 330 years before Christ. Yet it was 1000 years before Christ was born, that David wrote this Psalm, which makes a direct reference to crucifixion. That’s what makes this verse of Psalm 22 so incredible, as in it we will see a direct prediction that -
Jesus Would Be Crucified
I. Melting his strength
Gold, copper, and steel are some of the strongest substances known on earth. Yet even these strong substances have what they call “melting” points. When exposed to extreme heat, they melt under the fire, becoming malleable substances that can be shaped the way you want it. You might compare steel to a man’s courage. Some men have great courage to face the worst of problems - kind of like Job. But every man has his breaking point. Maybe you’ve faced it - after several nights of the flu, or several financial disasters, or the continuous cry of a child. We all have points where our courage or strength turns from solid steel to liquid metal.
This Psalm of David vividly describes that breaking point that Jesus had to go through. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. Water has different stages - it can be as hard as ice, as thin as steam, and as runny as water. When it is in the form of water, it has no real substance to it. If someone throws a bucket of water at you, it will just run off. You can be traveling thirty miles an hour on waterskis and fall in the water, and you won’t get hurt most of the time, because the water is soft - malleable. The same goes with wax - at times it is very strong. But when you burn it, it can melt, becoming as soft and pliable as can be.
David used these visual aids to predict what would happen to Jesus’ heart - his strength. Slowly but surely, it would melt away within him. How would this happen? If you just take a quick review of the night Jesus was betrayed, you can see how this happened.
Matthew 26:38-43 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." 42 He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.
His disciples were already worn out at this point - late at night after they had taken the Lord’s Supper - so worn out that they couldn’t stay awake, no matter how hard they tried. Jesus was already so mentally worn out that he sweat blood. But this was only the beginning of Jesus’ night. After this, Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas. (Annas used to be the high priest and then appointed Caiaphas his son in law to take over.) The reason for this meeting seemed to be just to pass time until the Sanhedrin members could be summoned from their homes during the Passover to come to the high-priestly palace. After this waste of time, Annas then sent Jesus to Caiaphas - before the chief priests, elders and scribes. Once again, they tried to find a valid reason to sentence Jesus to death. So Jesus had to sit there and wait while many false witnesses tried to come up with some evidence against Jesus. But none of their stories corroborated. Finally, Caiaphas stepped forward and just asked Jesus if he was the Son of God. Finally, they had something to convict Jesus on, or so they thought. As a result they covered Jesus’ face with a cloth, spat on him, and hit him.