Not the Jesus of PBS, National Geographic, and The History Channel

Psalm 22 is an account of Jesus’ death written hundreds of years before he died.  Jesus was obviously associating the psalm with himself when he died on the cross.  He cried out, “My God!  My God!  Why have you forsaken me!”  I had a struggle with this kind of prophecy when I was in my undergraduate school studies.  My teacher told me that the New testament fulfillment had been written by people who read the psalms and the Old Testament and then wrote it into the New Testament.  They made the two pieces of writing gel seamlessly, when in reality they did not.  One day I asked in class if there was proof that this process they were telling me had happened.  They had to admit that they had no proof, but they believed that it had.  I asked if there were some logical reason why someone could not believe in the fulfilment of prophecy, and to their credit, they told me that it was possible logically that the New Testament was written in the way it was because it outlined historical events.  National Geographic, The History Channel, and PBS seem to revel in cynical theologians or marginal scholarship.  It generates ratings through sensationalism.  The truth is there is reason to believe that Jesus Christ, Messiah Yeshua, died and rose again according to the prophecy of the Old Testament.  Psalm 22 was lived out through the Easter Story.

Today is Easter Sunday.  He is risen.

Psalm 22

 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

 1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
   Why are you so far from saving me,
   so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
   by night, but I find no rest.[b]

 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
   you are the one Israel praises.[c]
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
   they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
   in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

 6 But I am a worm and not a man,
   scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
   they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
   “let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
   since he delights in him.”

 9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
   you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
   from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

 11 Do not be far from me,
   for trouble is near
   and there is no one to help.

 12 Many bulls surround me;
   strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
   open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
   and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
   it has melted within me.
15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd,
   and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
   you lay me in the dust of death.

 16 Dogs surround me,
   a pack of villains encircles me;
   they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
   people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
   and cast lots for my garment.

 19 But you, LORD, do not be far from me.
   You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
   my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
   save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

 22 I will declare your name to my people;
   in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!
   All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
   Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
   the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
   but has listened to his cry for help.

 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
   before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
   those who seek the LORD will praise him—
   may your hearts live forever!

 27 All the ends of the earth
   will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
   will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
   and he rules over the nations.

 29 All 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.
30 Posterity will serve him;
   future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
   declaring to a people yet unborn:
   He has done it!

Questions

  1. What word describes the emotional form of speech that the psalmist uses (e.g. talk, whisper, or scream)?
  2. How does the psalmist feel?
  3. Why did Jesus claim this psalm for himself?
  4. When have you felt abandoned by God?
  5. How does a person get from a place of feeling abandoned by God to a place of feeling peace with God?  Are peace and happiness things that God wants for us?

Going Deeper

Read Philippians to see what Paul instructs to help people find contentedness in all circumstances.

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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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