JESUS PRAYING THE PSALMS
Psa. 22:1-3 ¶ My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
This psalm is one of the most amazing passages in all of scripture. It is not only an incredibly accurate prophesy dealing with the crucifixion of our Lord, it is actually His dying prayer. This psalm was written 1000 years before the time of Christ. As recorded in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus prayed Psalm 22 as He was dying on the cross. As you read through this psalm, you see the horrors of crucifixion described as well as the rejection and mocking of Christ by the Jewish elders. You can also see the substitutionary death of Jesus described, the description is so powerful you feel as if you are on the cross. It is written not as an observer, but as one who is being crucified. He was forsaken by His Father that we might be accepted. The power of the gospel shines brightly in this Davidic psalm. Martin Luther felt that this was one of the greatest of the psalms, here are some of his thoughts on Psalm 22.
“This is a kind of gem among the Psalms, and is peculiarly excellent and remarkable. It contains those deep, sublime, and heavy sufferings of Christ, when agonizing in the midst of the terrors and pangs of divine wrath and death, which surpass all human thought and comprehension. I know not whether any Psalm throughout the whole book contains matter more weighty, or from which the hearts of the godly can so truly perceive those sighs and groans, inexpressible by man, which their Lord and Head, Jesus Christ, uttered when conflicting for us in the midst of death, and in the midst of the pains and terrors of hell. Wherefore this Psalm ought to be most highly prized by all who have any acquaintance with temptations of faith and spiritual conflicts.”
The Apostle Paul described in his epistles the substitutionary death of Christ, how Christ satisfied justice as He bore the sins of mankind in His body on the cross. In Psalm 22, David sings this incredible prophetic prayer. In it, He reveals the experiential side of redemption, Christ bearing our sin and the rejection of His Father in our place. In David’s words we can feel the passionate suffering of our Lord. He describes His suffering as something beyond human suffering, he said the Lord “groaned” like an injured lion in the woods. As we feel the passion in David’s words, we can actually feel the passion in our Lord’s prayer. We are caught up with Him in the sufferings of the cross, we hear his groans, we feel the breath of His mouth.
How can I respond to such intimacy? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? It should. Our response can only be like the response of one of the witnesses of our Lord’s death. You remember the one, it was the Roman Centurion, his response to the Lord’s suffering was this, “SURELY THIS WAS THE SON OF GOD!”