“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? 2 O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. 4 Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. 5 They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7 All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 ‘He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!'”
Of course, this is the Passion Week, and we are celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of our Messiah. There are so many prophecies surrounding this event, and to study them all can be tiresome and tedious. But as I was studying a prophecy about Palm Sunday, I came across this reference to Psalm 22. After reading it again, I thought we could just take a look at this together. Our hope in Jesus, the risen Messiah, is not about myths and legends. There are carefully planned and carefully superintended prophecies that God oversaw without subverting the free will of the men and women involved. If you are familiar with the events of the crucifixion and the things that happen in and around it, then a read of Psalm 22 will yield some recognition of familiar phrases.
King David, a relative of Jesus, lived and reigned in Jerusalem about 1,000 years before Jesus was even born. He was the first king to reign from Jerusalem, and he was and is (since he is alive) from the tribe of Judah. Judah, we are told in Genesis 49, would be the tribe from which the kings of Israel would come, and Jesus is from that tribe. He is the oldest living male, born under Mary’s line (not Joseph’s), and has the legal right to be the King of Israel; you can see His lineage in Matthew 1.
David, as we know, was a man of many talents; he was a shepherd, a feared warrior, a king, and he also wrote about half if not more of the Psalms. One of the Psalms that he wrote is Psalm 22. In it, we find some sayings that will resonate loudly with those of us familiar with the death of Jesus. My intent is not to prolong this article but to show us that the scripture is clearly God-breathed and that this chapter in Psalm 22 offers us some insight into the fact that God knows the past from the future, and He can tell us down to the detail things that will be said and never violate the free will of the persons involved. God did not make things come through. He recorded that they would happen since He knows what is going to happen before it happens.
This is how the Bible gains its credibility. We are told something, and then it happens. This bolsters our faith and our trust in the Word of God. I want to offer two such opportunities for this kind of faith-bolstering belief. The resurrection, we are told by Paul, is the linchpin of our faith; without it, we have nothing.
1 Corinthians 15:19, KJV: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
Paul also told us that more than 500 persons saw Jesus alive after He was pronounced dead by the Roman guards.
1 Corinthians 15: 5-7, Berean Study Bible: “and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”
My dad was a part of the Prison Ministry for some time, and one of the heroes of that ministry, Chuck Colson, once said this and was quoted by Marjorie Hyer in 1983: “Watergate proves the Bible is true.” So says former White House special counsel Charles Colson, convicted felon and born-again Christian, who has drawn packed crowds to the Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church this week to hear his message. The lesson of Watergate is that a lie cannot live for long, according to Colson.
“Here were the 10 most powerful men in the United States,” he said, referring to the Watergate cover-up attempt. “With all that power, and we couldn’t contain a lie for two weeks.”
Applying the Watergate scandals to the New Testament and to current suggestions that accounts of Jesus’ resurrection were a conspiracy perpetrated by His apostles, Colson insisted: “No way.”
We need to have confidence in the resurrection and not just hope. And so today, with Psalm 22, I hope to offer some confidence to one that might be wavering or maybe one who has had his or her faith questioned. Let us look at this together.
- My God Why Have You Forsaken Me, verse 1
We find this very quote in Matthew 27:46, ESV: “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour, darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'”
Now, one can say that Jesus is God, and so He would know the words to say. And that would be the point. Jesus knew the end from the beginning just like God the Father, and in the course of history, about 1,000 years before this phrase would be uttered, the Holy Spirit led David to write it down for us. Of course, none of us can think of this verse without the Holy Spirit bringing to mind this verse, Hebrews 13:5, ESV:
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”
Or maybe this verse, Psalm 94:14, ESV: “For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.”
Or maybe Psalm 27:10, ESV: “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”
I can go on and on with tens of verses where God promises us to never leave us nor abandon us once we are saved. Yet, on this day, about 2,000 years ago, on a hill called Golgotha, God the Father abandoned Jesus as He paid the sacrificial price for your sins and mine. God told us the end, He told us the very words that would be uttered, and He used David to tell us. Now, we can make the excuse that God planned this and that since He is God, this is no miracle, just God being God.
- He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue him, verse 8
We find this very quote in Matthew 27:42-44, Berean Study Bible: “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God. Let God deliver Him now if He wants Him. For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ In the same way, even the robbers who were crucified with Him berated Him.”
Once again, this is quoted (in Psalm 22) about 1,000 years before it was said here by someone in the crowd as they watched Jesus be put to death. This one could not have been orchestrated by the God-Head as this was not spoken by Jesus but by a bystander. There is no way that this person could have known to say this thing at this moment. And, it was not a complimentary saying; it was filled with doubts and, frankly, hatred. They did not expect God to rescue Jesus because they did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. They hated Him and all He stood for and against.
But here we have it, two statements, written about 1,000 years before by David and spoken on the very day that Jesus died. Like the first one, the second has a bit of irony for all of us who are saved, as God did not rescue Jesus; He used His death, burial and resurrection to rescue us. Paul says it this way, 1 Corinthians 6:20, KJV:
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
God promises to deliver us from our troubles, Psalm 34:4, ESV:
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”
Maybe you prefer these verses, Psalm 69:13-14, ESV:
“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.”
I can go on, and I hope that you will seek out other verses as well. But you can see the prophecy and the fulfillment as God said it would. You can also see how God did to Jesus what we deserve so that He can extend grace to us and give us what we do not deserve. We do not deserve to be saved, to be children of the Living God, to have been redeemed from the gates of Hell and granted a home in eternity with the Lord.
There are many other quotes and situations that are prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in these dark days of the crucifixion. Do some research and bolster your faith; see how God told us for many, many years about the events down to Judas’ betrayal and the price paid, even to the fact that the soldiers would not tear Jesus’ outer coat but cast lots or dice for it. On and on we can go with these pieces of evidence and facts that concrete our faith in Jesus. In His death, burial and resurrection, He is our only hope for power beyond the grave. Paul puts it this way, 1 Corinthians 15: 20-26, KJV:
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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