Summary: This psalm is called the Psalm of the Cross. It has been given this name because it describes more accurately and minutely the crucifixion of Christ than does any other portion of the Word of God.
May 10, 2014
Psalm 22 (KJV)
Title: The Psalm of the Cross
To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar (or the hind of the morning)
A psalm of David.
This psalm is called the Psalm of the Cross. It has been given this name because it describes more accurately and minutely the crucifixion of Christ than does any other portion of the Word of God. It corresponds, needless to say, to the twenty-second chapter of Genesis and the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah.
In Psalm 22 we have an x-ray which penetrates into His inner life. In this psalm we see the anguish of His passion; His soul is laid bare. In the gospels is recorded the historical facts of His death, and some of the events that attended His crucifixion; but only in Psalm 22 are His thoughts revealed. It has been the belief of many scholars that actually the Lord Jesus, while on the cross, quoted the entire twenty-second psalm; but since it is not recorded in the Bible that belief is placed in the category of conjecture.
Instead of standing beneath the cross and listening to Him, we are going to hang on the cross with Him. We shall view the crucifixion from a new vantage point—from the cross itself. And we can look with Him on those beneath His cross, as He was hanging there, and see what went on in His heart and in His mind. We shall see what occurred in His soul as He became the sacrifice for the sins of the world. As He was suspended there between heaven and earth, He became the ladder let down from heaven to this earth so that men might have a way to God.
We were there, if you please, on that cross as He was made sin for us—“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Co. 5:21). We were as truly on that cross as He died as we today are in Christ by faith. Peter put it like this: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pe. 2:21).
This is an unusual psalm in that there is no reference to sin as the cause of the trouble, no plea of innocence, no claim of righteousness, and no vengeance. Therefore the words are peculiarly appropriate when applied to the suffering Messiah, although in their primary meaning they are based on some experience of the psalmist.
“MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?”
Psalm 22 opens up with the plaintive and desperate cry of the poor, lone Man forsaken by God.
1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
What we have here is something I want to emphasize from the very beginning—a record of His human suffering. We see Him as a man nailed to the cross, “. . . the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). We get more light on this matter by turning to the Epistle to the Hebrews: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). This is what we are looking at—the One who left heavens glory and became a Man. He became a Man in order to reveal God to us, yes, that is true; but most of all, it was to redeem man. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).
He could save no one by His life; it was His sacrificial death that saves. “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:15-16, 18). We see the Man Christ Jesus on the cross as perfect Man. He had learned to rest upon God. He had learned to trust Him in all that He did. He said, “. . . I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). But all the way back in that desperate and despairing hour He was abandoned by God. There was no place He could turn, either on the human plane or on the divine. He had no place to go. The Man Christ Jesus was forsaken. No entirely human man has ever had to experience that. No one. Only Jesus alone.