Thursday, March 28, 2013

Psalm 22 - The Crucifixion

nodding daf

Psalm 22

I am poured out like water,  and all my bones are disjointed; 
my heart is like wax, melting within me. 
My strength is dried up like baked clay;  my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. 
You put me into the dust of death. 
For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced  my hands and my feet. 
I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me. 
They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. 
But You, Lord, don’t be far away.  My strength, come quickly to help me. 
Deliver my life from the sword,  my only life from the power of these dogs.
Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen.
I will proclaim Your name to my brothers; I will praise You in the congregation. 
You who fear Yahweh, praise Him!  All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him!
All you descendants of Israel, revere Him! 
For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. 
He did not hide His face from him  but listened when he cried to Him for help. 
I will give praise in the great congregation
because of You;  I will fulfill my vows before those who fear You. 
The humble will eat and be satisfied;  those who seek the Lord will praise Him.
May your hearts live forever! 
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.
All the families of the nations will bow down before You, 
for kingship belongs to the Lord; He rules over the nations. 
All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust
will kneel before Him— even the one who cannot preserve his life. 
Their descendants will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. 
They will come and tell a people yet to be born about His righteousness—what He has done.
––Psalm 22:14-31
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I am poured out like water,  and all my bones are out of joint;  my heart is like wax;  it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; 
you lay me in the dust of death.  Psalm 22:14-15  David uses striking imagery, vivid words descriptions , and prophetically described a crucifixion. Though David wrote these descriptive words to describe his experience, he was speaking accurately of the sufferings of Jesus.

The outward attack of his tormentors, those who made fun of Him and belittled his is matched with the inward, physical agony of the cross. He is poured out like water.  He is weak and physically unstable.  His human body no longer feels solid.  He feels like an empty bottle of water. All my bones are out of joint.  Like being pulled apart on a rack, crucifixion stretches the body out of a normal human shape. Crucifixion causes dislocation of the bones. My heart is like wax. A broken heart due to his immense sorrow.  The and suffering of the cross would be more than enough but He also suffers the intense pain of bearing the sins of mankind. My strength is dried up like a potsherd. A potsherd is a piece of pottery which is broken because of too much burning.  Perhaps the intense burning of God's judgement because He bore our sins. My tongue sticks to my jaws.  His mouth is dry, making it hard for him to speak.  He is dehydrated. You lay me in the dust of the earth. For  the writer, David, his expected death was not yet to come. For our Savior the physical suffering combined with the absence of God, there would be no reprieve of death.  But, Christ’s deliverance, and ours, was accomplished by his resurrection from the dead.

For dogs encompass me; a company of evil doers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.  Psalm 22:16-19   For dogs encompass me; a company of evil doers encircles me.  For David these words were vivid figures of speech. In Palestine wild dogs roamed in packs living on the outskirts of towns.  keleḇ - The Hebrew word for dog, carried a negative image in the Bible. To call a person a dog was an insult. The dog was a scavenger, it was considered unclean, it represented the enemy waiting to devour. The Jews often used the word dog to refer to the Gentiles. For Jesus these word were literally true. The Roman soldiers surrounded Him like a pack of dangerous animals.  They have pierced my hands and feet.  Crucifixion was not known of when David wrote this Messianic psalm.  These words accurately describe the crucifixion of Jesus. His hands and feet were pierced with nails.  I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me. As the spectators of the crucifixion looked upon the naked body of Jesus they would see His physical torment. They would see His bones pressing out against His skin. Many would have gloated and taken pleasure in shouting insults to Him. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. Mark 15:29-32   They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. All four of the Gospels mention the casting of lots for the clothing of Jesus.  Matthew 27:35  Mark 15:24  John 19:23-24  Luke 23:34 It was the common procedure of the guards to take the belongings of the one who was crucified. In John there is more information given.  It appears that there were four soldiers.  Each soldier took an item of clothing.  After dividing the clothes evenly,  there was one item, a seamless tunic, that remained.  The soldiers cast lots for this remaining piece. this was a very specific prophecy that was given in this psalm.


But You, Lord, don’t be far away.  My strength, come quickly to help me.  Deliver my life from the sword,  my only life from the power of these dogs. Save me from the mouth of the lion!  You have rescued  me from the horns of the wild oxen. Psalm 22:19-21  The style of this psalm is noticable here as the image of animals is repeated to represent the enemies. In the earlier verses it was bulls Psalm 22:12, lions Psalm 22:13 and dogs Psalm 22:16 (discussed in the previous blog) In this repition the order is dogs, lion and oxen.  This time the wild oxen is used instead of bulls, both are horned animals.  The Hebrew word used here is רְאֵים rieym, it is translated as unicorn in the KJV.
the exact meaning of the word is not known, but it is an animal with a horn. It probably refers to the great aurochs or wild bulls which are now extinct. this was the wild ancestor of domestic cattle. Both times the animal enemies are followed by the sword.  The sword is generally used to figuratively represent robbers, enemy soldiers or any violent death.

It is such a wonderful thing to see that the word of God is so complete.  His inspired word are appropriate to every age. What David wrote of himself, is appropriate to an suffering follower of Christ.  It was also a prophecy of the suffering Messiah, Jesus the Christ.  Only the inspired word of God could span those thousands of years and still be alive today.  No one could have take the life of our lord.  No one had the power to take the life of Jesus.  From the Father, Jesus received the right to lay down his life and take it up again. Jesus was at the beginning with God.  He knew the plan. He voluntarily suffered and died for those He called.  Answer the call.  Your sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus. His resurrection guarantees the resurrection of all who love Him.


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Near The Cross

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain—
Free to all, a healing stream—
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
  • Refrain:
    In the cross, in the cross,
    Be my glory ever;
    Till my raptured soul shall find
    Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and Mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.

Fanny J. Crosby - 1869

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