Both Matthew and Mark both record that at the end of His crucifixion, Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1. It’s likely that by His statement, Jesus was also a referencing the Psalm as a whole. We have a similar practice when we refer to the First Amendment and only reference “our right to free speech”…but in reality we are quoting more than just those five words.
Taking a continued look at the psalm which Jesus quoted near the end of His six hour crucifixion, we see many predictive parallels between David’s feelings about the oppressive situation he was writing about and the crucifixion of Jesus 1000 years later.
As you read this section of Psalm 22, read it slowly – and do your best to feel as they felt, see what they saw, and think like they thought:
Psalm 22:12-28 Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me.
They open their mouths against me – lions, mauling and roaring.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed;
my heart is like wax, melting within me.
My strength is dried up like baked clay;
my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You put me into the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me.
They divided my garments among themselves,
and they cast lots for my clothing.
With the whole world against Him and His body slowly failing, there was no physical reason to have any hope. It’s times like these that feelings of despair start to settle in deep within us. Jesus fought against these feelings by taking His focus off of the torment pressing on Him and seeking the Father:
Psalm 22:19-24 But You, Lord, don’t be far away. My strength, come quickly to help me.
Deliver my life from the sword, my very life from the power of the dog.
Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will proclaim Your name to my brothers;
I will praise You in the congregation.
You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
All you descendants of Israel, revere Him!
For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted.
He did not hide His face from him, but listened when he cried to Him for help.
My favorite line in this section – For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted – contains so much hope and such a greater perspective.
God doesn’t hide from us when we hurt. The Father doesn’t abandon us when we are in pain. He won’t throw up His hands in frustration because He doesn’t know what to do with us next. The Father did not leave David or Jesus in their darkest hour. And God won’t leave us, either.
We are not alone in our affliction. When all else is crashing in, God is listening for our cries. We can look to Him for rescue, just like Jesus.