Psalm 22:1-2 – “A Prophetic Portrait of the Agonies of the Cross”

Journey to the CrossKnowing we are in the midst of what some call Passion Week, I decided to study Psalm 22 with our church family this past Sunday evening.  It is my desire to share some devotional thoughts on Christ’s sacrifice from Psalm 22 as a prophetic window into His suffering, death, burial and resurrection.

I invite you to read Psalm 22 in its entirety and ponder this fact; David wrote this psalm a thousand years before Christ.  The account of Christ’s suffering and the scorn and mocking that was heaped upon Him by His adversaries reads like a Renaissance painting of one of the great Masters—vivid, dynamic, majestic and inspiring; however, because crucifixion is believed to be an invention of the Persians, it is doubtful David had knowledge of death by crucifixion, making this psalm all the more astonishing!   For the purpose of our brief devotional, consider Psalm 22:1-2.

image on the crossPsalm 22:1-2 – My God [Almighty God; my strength], my God, why hast thou forsaken [left; failed; abandon] me? why art thou so far [remote; distant] from helping [saving; delivering] me, and from the words of my roaring [moaning; cries; distress]? 2 O my God [Supreme God; the Godhead], I cry [call out] in the daytime [daily; by day], but thou hearest [answer; respond] not; and in the night season, and am not silent [still; quiet].”

If you are familiar with the gospel record concerning Christ’s death on the cross you recognize the opening words of Psalm 22 as the very words quoted by Christ from the cross (Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:34).   Christ’s cries of sorrow to His Heavenly Father are recorded here–betrayed by Judas; denied by Peter; abandoned by His Father.  In addition to the physical pain He suffered on the cross, Christ suffered the anguish of loneliness… My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Forsaken, abandoned, deserted; in the very hour of His greatest suffering, the Heavenly Father turned away.  Preacher and commentator Warren Wiersbe writes: “This was not the cry of a complaining servant but the sob of a brokenhearted child asking, ‘Where is my father when I need him?’”

3 crossesWhy would God the Father forsake His Son in such an hour?  Why would He seem so far away when He Son hangs dying on the cross?

Jesus had become “sin for us, Who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He Who was altogether sinless, bore the guilt, shame, and the condemnation we all deserve… DEATH (“…so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinnedRomans 5:12).   Realizing our “works of righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23b);  God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Christ not only felt deserted as He died on the cross, He also felt His Father was deaf to His cries (22:2).

Psalm 22:2 – “O my God [Supreme God; the Godhead], I cry [call out] in the daytime [daily; by day], but thou hearest [answer; respond] not; and in the night season, and am not silent [still; quiet].”

Before the sun pierced the eastern sky, Christ was arrested and tried illegally by the high priest, chief priests and Sanhedrin (Matthew 27:1).  As the sun broke the dawn of Friday the Passover, Israel’s holiest day, the religious leaders of the Jews led Christ bound to demand that Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, would sentence Jesus to death.  No greater travesty of judgment has ere been done than the Sinless One being condemned to die on the cross bearing the sin of us all!

In the daytime hours on the cross Christ cried to His Father and, with darkness shrouding Golgotha from noon to 3:00 pm, His cries pierced the darkness, but heaven was silent.  Why? Why did Jesus die? My friend, He died for you!

I close with an invitation for you to click on this link and listen to a beautiful, haunting song titled “It Was For Me”.

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith