Greetings in the name of our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ, the One who was and is alive, on this
day that we celebrate and thank Him for having the power to
Age. It creeps up on us all, some faster than
others and some completely unawares. It struck me the other day
how much I have aged. Looking in the mirror, seeing all the lines
on my face, the gray in my hair, the aches and pains in my joints.
Whatever happened to 'growing old gracefully'? Then I think and
realize that Jesus was three years younger than I am when He went
through the agony at the cross. And all the pain and suffering
that He went through there just for us and even someone as
undeserving as I. How could I ever thank Him enough for what He
has done? That is what eternity is for.
In church Sunday morning, I know that we all
heard the accounts of the crucifixion from the gospels. That is
what happened to Him that weekend. But what was going on in His
mind and what was He feeling hanging on that tree? For that, we
must go back to the Prophet David in the Old Testament. Oh, yes,
we have all heard of King David and the Psalmist David, but he was
also a prophet!
In Psalm 22, we have the thoughts and feelings of Jesus as He is
hanging on the cross. The first verse is a familiar one: "My
God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are
you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my
groaning?" You see, these are the very words that He cried
out in His agony. Why would God forsake Him and be so far away
from Him when they had always been so close? He was bearing all
our sins for us and God cannot look on sin and their communion was
broken. This is why Jesus had to have the power in Himself to
raise Himself on this morning. And when He did, the communion was
restored. The debt had been paid once and for all. And why is He
groaning? That word translated groaning in Hebrew more refers to
the roaring of a bull, a loud roaring. Certainly He was not
groaning or roaring out loud. He was groaning in His Spirit for
the broken communion was a very painful and awful experience that
we can't even begin to imagine.
Verse two continues: "O my God, I cry out
by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent."
When they nailed Him on the cross, it was daylight, but then it
was dark, day and night. He is praying in these first two verses,
never ceasing. Never questioning God about what He was going
through, never doubting God's righteous judgment in turning away
Then, starting in verse three, the praise
starts! Wait a minute. Praise in the middle of all that suffering?
Praise when God has forsaken Him? You bet! "Yet you are
enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. 4 In you
our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.
5 They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were
not disappointed." He has no doubt that God is deserving of
praise in the middle of all this pain, suffering, cruelty and
darkness. That God is just and righteous in all that He does, and
that His judgments are right and true.
Verse six starts His feelings up there in the
air, suspended by nails in front of all those people:
"But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and
despised by the people." This is an interesting statement.
The worm referred to here is an interesting creature. As it gets
ready to give birth, it attaches itself to a tree, and as it gives
birth, it secretes a red fluid that the young worms feed on. After
it gives birth, it then dies, still attached to the tree. Clearly,
hundreds of years before crucifixion was even thought of, David
has a very clear picture of what is happening on this day.
Verse 7 ďAll who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking
their heads: 8 "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue
him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."
And isn't this just what happened at the foot of the cross? Let's
look at Matthew's account:
27:41 "In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the
law and the elders mocked him. 42 "He saved others,"
they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of
Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe
in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants
him, for he said, `I am the Son of God.' "
The very people that He tried so hard to win and drop the scales
from their eyes are there being the cruelest. The very ones who
should know backwards and forwards all the prophecies about the
Messiah are the ones mocking Him. No wonder God calls them a
stiff-necked people clear back in Exodus!
So what is Jesus thinking about while this is
going on? Verse 9: "Yet you brought me out of the womb; you
made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. 10 From birth I
was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. 11
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to
help." Once again, He starts to praise God and acknowledge
His presence throughout is life.
Verse 12 "Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan
encircle me. 13 Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths
wide against me." This could either refer to the demons and
Lucifer having a party at His expense around Him (As He could
them surrounding Him and hurling insults at Him) or it could just
refer to the crowd jeering and insulting Him.
Now He looks inside of Himself again: 14"
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My
heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15 My
strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the
roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs have
surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have
pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones; people
stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my garments among them and
cast lots for my clothing." How could David, hundreds of
years before even think of this? Years before this cruel
punishment was invented, how could he describe it so vividly, if
he weren't a prophet?
Once again, He starts to praise God: 19
"But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly
to help me. 20 Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life
from the power of the dogs. 21 Rescue me from the mouth of the
lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen."
Then something happens between verses 21 &
22. What could it be? 22" I will declare your name to my
brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. 23 You who fear
the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not
despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has
not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will
eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him--may
your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will
remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and
he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast
and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before
him--those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will
serve him; future generations will be told
about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a
people yet unborn--for he has done it." What could have
happened? The Resurrection! 1 Peter 3:18 "For Christ died for
sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you
to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the
Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits
in prison". So here He is doing just that!
Now we come to Psalm 23. We all know this Psalm. It is
probably the most widely
recognized passage in the Bible. But now, look at it in a new
light. Psalm 22 is Jesus dying on the cross and being resurrected.
And now comes Psalm 23 and what Jesus is right now for us, the
Good Shepherd. Let's look at it and meditate on it in this new
Psalm 23 A psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me
lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he
restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for
his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your
rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before
me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my
cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the
days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
And now comes Psalm 24 which is Christ in His Second Coming.
1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and
all who live in it; 2 for he founded it upon the seas and
established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend the hill of the
LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands
and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or
swear by what is false. 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior. 6 Such is the generation of
those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient
doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of
glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient
doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King
of glory? The LORD Almighty-- he is the King of glory. Selah
Now may the Lord bless you and
keep you. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ
Jesus our Lord.