Psalms Through the Lens of the Cross
Sermon Summary
This message is a look at Psalm 22 and it’s amazing prophetic qualities concerning the Cross. Written around a thousand years before Jesus ever lived upon the earth, this Psalm describes in fascinating detail various aspects of the crucifixion. Adding to its authenticity is the fact that crucifixion was not practiced until some 500 years after this Psalm was written. The detail with which the Psalmist speaks of what has become known as the Passion of the Christ is awe inspiring. The Psalmist speaks of his own experience of feeling forsaken by God, and how he realizes God had not turned His face away from him and was in fact going to grant him victory. We may sometimes feel forsaken or abandoned by God due to life’s circumstances, however, we should never forget, God, through His Son Jesus Christ, has made a way for us to experience His presence and power in our lives here on earth and forever in heaven.

Community Group Discussion Guide
1. Did you realize just how many Old Testament prophecies directly pointed to the Crucifixion of The Messiah before this sermon series?

2. God gives us a choice whether or not to believe Him, but it seems He wanted to show us clearly the sacrifices He had made on our behalf. Does it help strengthen your faith when you realize the lengths God went through to include such detail in the prophecies of old? (Peter was an eye witness to Jesus, but the Old Testament Prophesies strengthened his faith)
2 Pet 1:16  We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 Pet 1:17  For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
2 Pet 1:18  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
2 Pet 1:19  And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
2 Pet 1:20  Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.
2 Pet 1:21  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.


3. The Psalmist paints a very descriptive picture of his feelings of being forsaken in the first half of Psalm 22 and then paints a very descriptive picture of his elation over God’s faithfulness to never abandon him in the second half of Psalm 22. Has there been a time in your life where you could relate to either of these two feelings? Explain.

Psa 22:1  For the director of music. To the tune of "The Doe of the Morning." A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?

Psa 22:11  Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
Psa 22:19  But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
Psa 22:20  Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Psa 22:21  Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
Psa 22:22  I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.

4. Read the following verses and then discuss how a deeper understanding of the suffering Jesus endured on your behalf might help you in your resolve to be more faithful in your walk with Him.
Heb 2:9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Heb 2:10  In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Heb 2:11  Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
Heb 2:12  He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises."
Heb 2:13  And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me."
Heb 2:14  Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--
Heb 2:15  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Heb 2:16  For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.
Heb 2:17  For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.


Sermon Notes
Psalms Through the Lens of the Cross
Psalm 22

I want to ask each of you a question this morning. Have you ever had a time in your life where you felt alone, rejected, maybe even abandoned? Have you ever felt no one really cared about you and you wondered if there is a God could He really care for me. Maybe you've even felt at times, God has let you down and even forsaken you.
One thing that amazes me is how the Bible treats its main characters. It never tries to hide or cover up their doubts, their struggles, their questions or even their mistakes and failures.
Today we're going to look at the very honest confessions of the Psalmist. Psalm 22 is a part of the collection of Psalms or songs considered to have originated with King David. It is so interesting to me that David is considered a man after God's own heart, and yet he seems to have some of the greatest personal struggles of all the great men
of the Bible. One of the reasons God's Word is so transparent and honest about these things is so you and I can learn from and take comfort in the fact we are not alone in our struggles.
But you may still believe there's no way God could truly understand how you feel,
your hopelessness, your sadness, your struggles, your sense of fear. Could an Almighty God really ever understand me?
Could the Creator ever really understand the created?
The answer to these questions can be found as we look at
Psalm 22 through the Lens of the Cross! This passage will help us understand what the Bible means in Hebrews 4...

15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet was without sin.
16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV)

Be prepared to see God in a whole new way today. Things we will learn are amazing and have the potential to change your very life, both here and now and for all eternity.
If you are here today and you've wondered if there is any truth to the Bible and it's claims, you may find some answers today.

Let's pray and ask God for His divine wisdom and guidance today as we open our spiritual eyes to focus in on the astounding picture we will see in Psalms 22 through the lens of the Cross!
PRAY!

Now before we get to our Psalm this morning, I must remind you it was originally written by the Psalmist to show what he was going through and how he at times felt abandoned by God and other times felt very close to God! One of the great truths of God's Word is that God can take the bad we face and make good come from it. This is powerfully true with our Psalm today. God used David's struggles to speak a much larger message not only to those who originally read his words, but God would use this Psalm to shed light and insight on one of the most important events in history! The crucifixion.

Have you ever wondered how Jesus felt, not only physically, but spiritually and emotionally when He was on the Cross?

We have a unique insight into the thoughts and emotions of Christ on the Cross due to the writings of the Psalmist one thousand years before Jesus walked upon this earth. If there are any of you who have doubted the reality, the historical accuracy, or the integrity of the story of Jesus and His death on the Cross, I pray today will evoke a change. If you've ever thought God could never understand the way you feel, I pray today's message will change that perception forever. As we look at Psalm 22 through the lens of the Cross, I will not let you forget it was written 1000 years before the life of Christ.
We will dissect this chapter verse by verse. Let's get started…Psalm 22:1

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?
Psalm 22:1 (NIV)

Jesus quoted the first part of this verse from the Cross. It was the fourth of 7 sayings from the Cross. Listen...

46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:46 (NIV)

What in the world was going on here? Why would Jesus say this? There are several reasons. One, He was truly suffering! He felt like the Psalmist had felt, forsaken. It was not that God had turned His back on Jesus, He had not and would not! But Jesus was at that moment in time becoming the very sacrifice for sin that would bring you
and me salvation. Listen to Paul's words to the Corinthian church...

21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

What does that mean? Jesus became a sin offering for us. He bore the consequences of our sin. Romans 8:3

3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
Romans 8:3 (NIV)

Talk about agony, all the innocence, purity, and righteousness of Jesus was being invaded and attacked by the sin of the world! But there is another very important reason Jesus said what He said. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22:1. Psalms 22, 23, and 24 are  sometimes referred to as the Messianic trilogy. Jewish people knew them by heart!

Jesus was quoting from this passage, knowing His followers would remember the other parts of the passage and be encouraged that this was prophecy being fulfilled and was not the end, but was in fact the beginning of a new covenant! A covenant not based on the law, but based on the grace that would be available after His sacrifice
was completed! He was also attempting one more time to reach out to the very people responsible for His crucifixion.
Jesus was hoping they too would remember the prophecies and realize they were in fact being fulfilled before their very eyes. As we continue, I hope you will realize the gravity and weight this should have had upon the people present that day. I also hope it will either confirm your faith or awaken faith within your heart to believe the
truth of the Biblical message. Let's continue reading our Psalm...

2O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.

3Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.
Psalm 22:2-3(NIV)

Does this remind you of a prayer Jesus had prayed only hours before the crucifixion?

36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

38Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:36-39 (NIV)

The Psalmist said, "Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the praise of Israel."

Both the Psalmist and Jesus acknowledged God's authority in their situations. Sometimes we are guilty of acknowledging God only when His plans match our plans. We are not always willing to allow or trust God's will in our lives.

I know, I'm meddling now and some of you are thinking I need to just get on with the sermon.

Practical application of the message can sometimes be uncomfortable. I know, it gets applied to me when I'm preparing the sermon. So don't think it doesn't get me as well.
Let's get back to our text. The Psalmist continues...

4In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.

5They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
Psalm 22:4-5

Here the Psalmist is reminding his readers to remember how God had rescued the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt.
What the Psalmist says next is almost chilling as it seems he had 20/20 vision 1000 years into the future. Listen...

6But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.

7All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:

8“He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”        Psalm 22:6-8(NIV)

Let's fast forward 1,000 years. Matthew 27:37ff

37Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

39Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads

40and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

41In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.

42“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.

43He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”
Matthew 27:37-43 (NIV)

Do you really think it could be coincidence for these things to be spoken 1,000 years earlier and then happen to the t?

As we will see later in our series, some members of the ruling council actually became followers as well as some of the Roman soldiers who had literally driven the nails.
But I also want to point out something else.

Remember the Psalmist said this...

6But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.
Psalm 22:6(NIV)

I am a worm? What's this all about? Jesus had been spit on, mocked, and ridiculed in every way. He must have felt like a worm. But there is something even more interesting here. The word usually used for worm in the Hebrew is not used here. Another word is used…Tola- Scarlet worm. This worm was used to make red dyes. Interesting since Jesus would give His life by shedding His precious blood that our sins might be cleansed!
The Psalmist continues...

9Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast.

10From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Psalm 22:9-10(NIV)

One of our young people asked me this week a really deep question. "When did Jesus know He was going to be crucified? Did He know this when He was little kid?" Great question. We know from Scripture that the plan for our rescue was planned before the foundation of the world. However, when Jesus took on human flesh He limited Himself in certain ways. In the few verses we have concerning the childhood of Jesus we read that He "grew in wisdom and stature." In order for Him to grow in wisdom, there had to be things He didn't yet know. He obviously knew He had to be about His Father's business even when He was 12 years old, however, I think it was later that He realized those prophecies in Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, and as we will see next week, Isaiah, were indeed about Him. We don't know just when this knowledge came, but we know He was born to be the sacrificial lamb and when He did realize He was that lamb He did not run from His calling! He embraced His purpose to seek and to save that which was lost. You and me! There is more and it's truly mind blowing. The Psalmist says...

11Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
Psalm 22:11(NIV)

What happened as Jesus was arrested? At first at least one of the disciples was willing to fight, but then…Matthew 26:55

55At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.

56But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Matthew 26:55-56 (NIV)

Absolutely amazing the detail with which the Psalmist describes the events of the Passion of the Christ 1,000 years before. Look at what is stated next...

12Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.

13Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me.
Psalm 22:12-13(NIV)

When it says mighty bulls of Bashan, the Psalmist was using imagery his listeners would certainly understand. Bashan was a region of great pasture and the bulls grew to great size and strength. He was painting a picture of his
enemies and how strong and fierce they were. It's interesting also that the Hebrew word encircled is actually the word crowned. Now fast forward 1000 years to Matthew 27:27-31

27Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.

28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,

29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.

30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

31After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
Matthew 27:27-31 (NIV)

Wanna know why I'm so passionate about living for Jesus Christ? He took all that for me. He didn't have to put with all that mockery. And He knew the worst was yet to come, but He kept going. Why? For you and me, that's why!

You might say, but God had forsaken Him and there was nothing He could do. First of all, God had not forsaken Him!

Jesus knew The Father was there for Him and He had options. Listen...

53Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?

54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
Matthew 26:53-54 (NIV)

Jesus knew the Scriptures well, He had read them. He knew what was coming. Psalm 22 continues the description.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.
Psalm 22:14(NIV)

1000 years later...

31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.

33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.

36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”

37and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”
John 19:31-37 (NIV)

The Psalmist then says an amazing thing...

15My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Psalm 22:15(NIV)

1000 years later...

28Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
John 19:28 (NIV)

The Psalmist reiterates the fact that he is surrounded by some very venomous, evil intentioned people...

16Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.

17I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.
Psalm 22:16-17(NIV)

By the way, the Roman tool of torture known as Crucifixion would not be invented for some 500 years when Dyrius 1 King of Persia first used crucifixion against political opponents. So the Psalmist had no way of knowing details of this form of torture, yet he describes it in detail. And then he gives a detail that would only pertain to one particular
crucifixion, that of Jesus the Christ...

18They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
Psalm 22:18(NIV)

Is this not simply amazing?
Let's look at this through the Lens of the Cross…John 19:23-24

23When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.
John 19:23-24 (NIV)

The Psalmist now changes his focus. He now shows how God did not forsake Him even during His lowest times.

He begins to speak of his ultimate victory!! It's as if the Psalmist knew there would be a resurrection!

Psalm 22:19ff

19But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

20Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.

21Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.

23You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!

24For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Psalm 22:19-24(NIV)

There you go! Scriptural proof God did not abandon His Son that day, but He did the hardest thing He had ever done. He allowed His One and Only Son to take your punishment and mine! Can't even imagine the Father's pain.

Now let's read verse 22 again together with verse 25 of our Psalm...

22I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.

25From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.
Psalm 22:22&25(NIV)

And now the fulfillment of this prophecy in Christ is described in the New Testament book of Hebrews. Hebrews 2:9-15

9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”

13And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil —

15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:9-15 (NIV)

The most macho men on the planet, if they're honest, have fears. The only way to overcome that fear is through faith in the One who defeated death and the grave! The One who gave His life so we could be set free from the law of sin and death!
The Psalmist continues his theme of victory by stating the benefits to those who were
once spiritually impoverished!

26The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever!

27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,

28for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.

29All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive.
Psalm 22:26-29(NIV)

So powerful. What we were powerless to do, Christ did for us. Reminds me of Philippians 2:8-11...

8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death —even death on a cross!

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,

10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:8-11 (NIV)

And I absolutely love the way the Psalmist concludes this amazing song...

30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.

31They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn —for he has done it.
Psalm 22:1-31 (NIV)

For He has done it! Listen to what Jesus said from the Cross...

30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19:30 (NIV)

Folks, we can't add anything to the saving work that Jesus did for us on the Cross. We can only accept it or reject it!

Let's Pray!