On this day when we remember Jesus’ crucifixion, we focus on the Psalm with a devotion from Lamb of God, Pure and Holy—Lent Preaching and Worship Resource.
Psalm 22 or Psalm 31
Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9
John 18:1–19:42 or John 19:17–30
The suffering about which David speaks in Psalm 22 points toward that of our Lord Jesus, who suffered in our place. Christ was forsaken that we might never be forsaken; He died that we might have eternal life; He became sin that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Today, with reverent joy, we give thanks for this glorious exchange, the greatest of good gifts!
Psalm 22 is part of Book 1 (Psalm 1–41). In the LXX it is counted as Psalm 21. The superscription notes that this is a psalm of David, thus placing its writing at about 1000 BC. With its clear Christological applications, no other psalm is quoted as frequently in the New Testament.
Psalm 22 expresses the anguish of David in his suffering under the attack of his enemies. It bears characteristics that resemble Psalm 69 but without the imprecatory thrusts of 69:22–28. This Messianic Psalm speaks as Messiah lived: without vengeance on those who brought about the pain He endured. Its messianic content is clearly seen in Matthew 27:35–43; John 19:23–28; Hebrews 2:12; and elsewhere. Although the psalmist begins (22:1–2) with a cry of anguish (“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”), he also rehearses the faithfulness of God to his ancestors, whom God delivered when they cried to Him (22:3–5). Immediately after the verses of our text, David again recalls the faithfulness of God upon whom he has trusted since he was in his mother’s womb.
This psalm reflects a time in the life of David in which he was hated, persecuted, and despised. But it is finally not David who speaks but David’s greater Son. In his suffering, David serves as a type of the Christ. David cries out in anguish with the words Christ Himself would later use. Thus we hear of one who is despised, rejected, and scorned as one considered far less than human by his tormentors. From the anguished soul of His prophet David, we hear the voice of the Savior of the world. From the depths of David’s time of despair came his ultimate glory when he finally claimed his throne. So we who follow Jesus to a cross, a tomb, and the resurrection look forward to the time when He claims His throne and all creation proclaims Him as King of kings.
Devotional reading is from Lamb of God, Pure and Holy—Lent Preaching and Worship Resource, pages 49–50 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.