Now let’s pick out the major thoughts of Psalm 22. I suspect the whole psalm was in Jesus’ mind while He was on the cross, and not just the first verse. Here is a summary of the psalm:
- My God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You ignoring my cries for help?
- Yet I know You are holy and always answer cries for help.
- Everyone is mocking me, I am surrounded by cruel enemies. Only You can help me now.
- Description of the crucifixion events: life poured out; bones out of joint; heart is melting like wax; strength dried up; terrible thirst; being left in the dust to die; pierced my hands and feet; enemies gloat; they cast lots for my clothes.
- So rescue Me from this violent death, O God! I know I am precious to You! You always listen to the cry for help from the needy! I will praise You to everyone, and everybody else should praise You, too!
- All who seek the Lord will praise Him, for the Lord is King; and future generations from all over the world will yet praise His righteous deeds!
I believe it was only Jesus’ agony that prevented Him from quoting all of Psalm 22. Of all the psalms that Jesus would know by heart, Psalm 22 must certainly be one, due to the clear description of a crucifixion centuries before the Romans invented it. Jesus knew He would die this way. The psalm ends in praising God; it only begins in doubt. We need to keep that in mind: Jesus trusted His Father throughout the crucifixion. He never cursed God; far from it.
Jesus’ asking God why He forsook Him in that moment just shows what a terrible load Jesus was carrying. It confused Him. It was not rejection of God but asking a question in the throes of agony. God could not look on sin within Himself. That is the price God paid – the loss of His closeness to His Son while Jesus was made to be our sin that we might be free from it.
We know the Father put all our sins on Jesus. Isa. 53:6 says, “6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” No one but Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit will ever know how horrible that was.
Ps. 22 shows Jesus never lost His holiness. Jesus never yielded to sin, though God made Jesus to become our sin so we could become the righteousness of God.II Cor. 5:21, “21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He was the willing, and innocent, sacrificial Lamb of God, who took the curse on Himself that we might go free.
Why then did God sacrifice His only begotten Son for us? Because of his love for us.
- There can be only one explanation: God loves us as much as He does His Son. And Jesus says that in John 17:23, “…Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me.” Jesus says God loves you and Him the same.
Years ago, in Brackenthwaite, England, there lived an old widower named William Dixon. One night a fire broke out in the three-story house next door, where lived a couple with a son, a mere toddler. The house was consumed by the fire, and the parents died of smoke inhalation, but not the little boy. William Dixon, hearing the boy’s cries, ran to the house and climbed to the top floor using an old iron pipe attached to the outside. With the boy clinging to his neck, William made his way down, but by the time he reached the bottom his hands were terribly burned by the hot iron pipe. A town meeting was held to decide what to do with the little boy. Several families offered to adopt him, including one rich family who could give the boy everything. But William Dixon stood, walked to the front of the room, and held up his bandaged hands. They gave him the boy. In the same way, our Lord Jesus holds up His nail-scarred hands and lets the world know that He has paid the ultimate price to redeem us from the fire. He wants you to live forever with Him and the Father! In John 14:1 Jesus says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there ye may be also.”
William Dixon redeemed that boy for himself. He saved the boy’s life. He bought that boy with a price – he risked his life and his very body to save the little boy. Then he took him to himself to become his adopted son. This is a picture of what God and Jesus were about on the cross – Jesus rescued you by paying the price to redeem you from Satan. Jesus Himself is the redemption price by which God the Father adopted you as His child.
In Jesus’ day, the Romans had a ceremony for adoption. The biological father and the adopting father sat with the child between them. The adopting father offered a token coin, or sometimes an actual amount of money, for the child, which the biological father refused to accept the first two times it was offered. The third time, the biological father kept the coin and the adopting father kept the now adopted child. This was so serious and final that Roman emperors had been known to adopt a favorite general to take their place in the succession to the throne. It was said that the adopting father had “redeemed” the adopted child. They said that the child had been “born again” because now he had a new father.
God has redeemed you from the hands of the devil. The redemption price was Jesus Himself. When you accept that Jesus has redeemed you, you become born again – God is your new Father, and it is permanent, binding forever, and everlasting. It can only be undone by some kind of permanent betrayal. You have become the adopted child of God.
The Father loves you. The Son loves you. They both want you to go to heaven to be with them forever! They want you badly enough that God gave His Son, and Jesus suffered and died, to redeem you – to take away your sins and bring you, clean and holy by Jesus’ blood sacrificed to be the price of your redemption, into heaven. There, God will wipe your tears away and best of all, His face will shine upon you – you will see God’s joy at your homecoming written on His face!