April 2, 2017
Prophets of the Cross: Psalm 22
Jesus cried out the opening refrain of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” as he hung on the cross, bloody and dying. This psalm, written one thousand years earlier by King David, is about the suffering servant, the Messiah who laid down his life for humanity. It is a brutal picture of the suffering that Jesus would endure in order to redeem mankind from their sins.
In Psalm 22, we see three ways that Jesus suffered when he died on the cross. First, he suffered a broken, cherished relationship. The worst pain that Jesus experienced that day was the moment he was forsaken by the Father, with whom, along with the Spirit, he had enjoyed eternal and perfect unity. But at the cross, Jesus experienced the terrible forsakenness of the Father. Second, Jesus suffered the abuse of others. He was despised by everyone, and abandoned by his closest friends. Finally, Jesus suffered the unspeakable physical anguish of crucifixion. Humanity may not invent a more horrific way to die than by hanging on a cross. It is gruesome, merciless torture.
Our proper response to the suffering of Jesus is a heart full of gratitude and an abhorrence toward sin. He went to the cross to pay the penalty for our wrongdoing. As a result, may we be motivated toward a higher lever of commitment as disciples of Christ.