Psalm 22 and The Passion of Jesus
"Can you imagine, a Psalmist a thousand years before it actually happened describing exactly what people are going to be saying to Jesus as He's hanging on the cross? It absolutely boggles your mind."
Jesus did give of Himself, and it was all foretold in the Scriptures. That's what Jesus said to the disciples on the road, "How slow of heart we are to believe all that the prophets foretold."
We're going to give you a whole series of the prophecies that were fulfilled on the cross. We've already started with Isaiah 53, and today we're going to move on to Psalm 22. It's one of my favorite Psalms. It's called the Song of David.
Even in the introduction to Psalm 22, you see it as a Messianic song, because David asks the chief musician to play this song on a particular instrument. The Hebrew translation for it is morning star. The morning star is yet another symbol of the Messiah, the chosen One, the One who is going to come to redeem His people.
The very first line of Psalm 22, here it is: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" These are the identical words to what Jesus said on the cross, and it's recorded in Matthew 27. At the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" He knew He was fulfilling what David said a thousand years before the event. You've got to keep that in mind. Psalm 22 was written a thousand years before the event.
Here is our next one, again, all from Psalm 22. It even describes in detail what the people around the cross are going to be saying to the Messiah as He is dying. And it says, "All those who see me ridicule me. They shoot out the lip. They shake their heads saying, 'He trusted in the Lord. Let Him rescue him. Let Him deliver him since He delights in him.'"
Let's go to what actually happened, as recorded again in the Gospel of Matthew. Likewise, the chief priest also mocking with the scribes and elders said, "He saved others. Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel let Him come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God."
Remember that from Psalm 22. "He trusted in God. Let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. For He said, 'I am the Son of God.'" Can you imagine, a Psalmist a thousand years before it actually happened describing exactly what people are going to be saying to Jesus as He's hanging on the cross? It absolutely boggles your mind. Here is the son of David - that's one of the Messianic titles of Jesus, son of David - and here is David in Psalm 22 describing his passion, describing how people were going to mock Him.
The detail gets even more astounding.
Here it is in Psalm 22:12-13. I have struggled with this for a long time, and I finally got it in a Hebrew translation, an orthodox rabbinical translation from a group called Art Scroll out of New York City. It's a wonderful illumination of the Psalms. And here you've got two words. "Many bulls have surrounded me. Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me." Now Bashan is a place in Israel where they have very good pasture land. And so the bulls there get big and beefy. When I saw The Passion, and I remembered this, it came to me that here is a visual description of beefy Roman soldiers who were then coming after the Messiah, coming after the chosen one.
But even more importantly, this word here, "they encircled me." The Hebrew translation is actually "crowned." And it's been translated into English "encircled." But "strong bulls of "Bashan have crowned me." This is a strong visual image of the crown of thorns. "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and a reed in His hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews.'"
It also gets specific about what happens during crucifixion. Here it is, Psalm 22:15: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and I'm as dry as an old piece of pottery. My tongue clings to my jaws. You have brought me to the dust of death." One of the signal things about crucifixion is that the body literally dries out. The fluid starts to collect down in the legs and the extremities. And literally, your mouth, your tongue starts to cling to the roof of your palate. You cannot imagine the thirst created by crucifixion. Here it is a thousand years before, predicted what was going to happen to the Messiah as He hung on the cross. And here Jesus says it, John 19:28-29: "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished that the Scripture might be fulfilled said, 'I thirst.'"
Jesus knew what was in Psalm 22. He knew it before He went to the cross. He knew what He was going to suffer, and here it is being fulfilled, what David wrote in Psalm 22.
It goes on even farther to describe how crucifixion happens. "They pierced my hands and my feet." We know this happened to Jesus, because doubting Thomas said, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nail and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." Again, all foretold by King David a thousand years before the event.
It even gets to the detail of the soldiers gambling for his clothes and how they're going to do it. "They look and stare at me." Then it says, "They divide my garments, and for my clothing they cast lots." Now if you're going to cast lots, how are you going to divide? There's two parts to this. John tells us, "Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts." They divided to each soldier a part and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece, a very valuable piece of clothing in those days. They didn't want to cut it up. So they decided, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it whose it shall be." Can you imagine the detail of that prophecy a thousand years before the event, saying not only is it going to be divided, but there is going to be one piece of clothing that they're not going to divide, and they're going to cast lots for that one.
There is one piece of this prophecy in Psalm 22. Keep in mind also that David wrote this a thousand years before the death of Jesus, and crucifixion hadn't been even invented. So there was nothing for David to have a reference for about hands and feet being pierced, or hanging on a cross until you're so dry that you are hungry and thirsty that you cry out, 'My God. My God, why have You forsaken Me?" There was no way for him to know that soldiers were going to gamble for your clothes. The prophecy is so specific, and it happened a thousand years before the crucifixion.
But there is a part of this prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled, and it's up to you and me to make sure it happens. Here it is: "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You, for the Kingdom is the Lord's." Here is the final Messianic prophecy, that all the earth is going to hear.
And who has that commission? Well, Jesus gave it to you and me. "Go ye into all the world and preach this Good News. Preach remission of sins based on what I am going to do or what I have already done on the cross." And so it's up to us to see this one fulfilled. All the ends of the earth shall remember, and they shall know, and all will come and worship, for the Kingdom is the Lords.