Reading: Psalm 22
“This is beyond all others The Psalm of the Cross. It may have been actually repeated word by word by our Lord when hanging on the tree; it would be too bold to say that it was so, but even a casual reader may see that it might have been. It begins with, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ and ends, according to some, in the original [language] with ‘It is finished [or done].’ For plaintive expressions uprising from unutterable depths of woe we may say of this psalm, ‘there is none like it.’ It is the photograph of our Lord’s saddest hours, the record of his dying words… the memorial of his expiring joys. David and his afflictions may be here in a very modified sense, but, as the star is concealed by the light of the sun, he who sees Jesus will probably neither see nor care to see David. Before us we have a description both of the darkness and of the glory of the cross, the sufferings of Christ and the glory which shall follow. Oh for grace to draw near and see this great sight! We should read reverently, putting off our shoes from off our feet, as Moses did at the burning bush, for if there be holy ground anywhere in Scripture it is in this psalm.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
I am sure that David felt the anguish of this psalm in his own experience. But if any Old Testament text embodies the NT teaching that OT saints longed to understand “the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” about which they were writing, this is it. David was writing about himself. But mostly he was writing about Jesus—who suffered, felt forsaken by the Father, and died for us on the Cross. I have divided Psalm 22 into two parts, with the first part posted this week. Likewise, I’ve chosen two melodies for this; both in a minor key, with the first being mournful and the second quietly celebratory—at least to my ear.
This Psalm would serve well for an extended Communion Service or during a Good Friday service, perhaps led by an ensemble and begun with two or three verses as a solo. But for now, I hope you will find your heart moved as you sing what were the thoughts of Jesus while on the Cross, dying for us all.
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