Summary: As you read this psalm, you see Jesus at Calvary: His cry to the Father; the period of darkness; the ridicule of the people; His thirst and pain; His pierced hands and feet; and the gambling for His clothes.
Title: The Suffering Messiah
Text: (Psalm 22)
Of all the psalms dealing with the Lord’s great desire to save lost men and women, this is undoubtedly the best.
It’s identified as a Messianic psalm (a psalm written about Jesus, the messiah) because Jesus used its opening words at the end of His agony on the cross, when He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me…”
Because he was a prophet, David was able to write about the Messiah centuries before He came.
Did you know that crucifixion was not a Jewish form of capital punishment, yet David described it accurately?
As you read this psalm, you see Jesus at Calvary: His cry to the Father; the period of darkness; the ridicule of the people; His thirst and pain; His pierced hands and feet; and the gambling for His clothes.
Remember, He endured all of these things for you.
The psalm can be divided into two easily identifiable parts.
The first part, verses 1-21, speaks of being forsaken by God, and the second part, verses 22-31, is about being delivered by God.
Forsaken By God.
Verse 1 contains a pitiful cry for help.
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me…”
These words are unmistakably similar to the startling cry of Calvary: Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani? (Mt 27:46).
When Jesus cried out, “Why hast thou forsaken me,” His complaint did not arise out of His need to know the deep-seated reasons for God’s absence.
Rather, it arose out of the incomprehensibility of it all.
Certainly, God had forsaken the Lord Jesus in those moments on the cross, but the reason was that He had made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.
That’s what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “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.”
God turned His back on the sin He hated, not the Son He loved.
Although people may have such horrible experiences that they feel God has forsaken them, still no one has experienced what Jesus did, because no one has had the close relationship with the Father that Jesus had.
After the despair expressed in verse 1, there comes hope expressed in verses 3-5.
“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.”
Once again, why was Jesus forsaken by God?
Because, on the cross in those last three hours, in the impenetrable darkness, He was made sin.
He was forsaken for a brief moment.
The irony is that at that very moment God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.
The Father was with Him when He was in prison, the Father was with Him when He was being beaten, and The Father was with Him when they nailed Him to the cross, but in those last three hours He made His soul an offering for sin, and it pleased the Father to bruise Him according to Isaiah 53:10.
Friends, you do not know what that is; and I don’t know what it is to be forsaken by God.
The vilest man on earth today is not forsaken by God.
Because of who He is, God could never abandon anyone who trusts in Him.
Anyone can turn to Him.
But when Jesus took my sin upon Himself He was forsaken by God.
In verses 6-8, David tells about the disrespectful treatment at the hands of the enemy.
“But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”
The figure of a “worm” is a reference to total helplessness and defenselessness.
Ridicule from others produces a particular kind of hurt in a person, and I believe we have all experienced it.
In verse 7 we see a picture of Calvary.
The laughing taunts were flung at Jesus first by the priests and leaders and then by those passing by.
Verse 8 is clearly reminiscent of the taunts our Lord’s crucifiers heaped on Him.
What does it mean when he says, “But I am a worm, and no man?”
The worm is a symbol of extreme weakness and helplessness, something that is crushed, unnoticed, and despised.
It’s disgusting, and repulsive to people.
Jesus had reached the very lowest point.
He had become so despised that the very people who once would have crowned Him now expressed their desire to have a murderer released instead of Him.