Reading: Psalm 22:16-21
Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
But you, LORD, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen (NIV).*
The title notes to Psalm 22 state, “A psalm of David.” But while this is David’s psalm, it’s entirely about Jesus—about our Savior’s personal thoughts and experience—about his suffering and death. Nowhere is this expressed more clearly than in the opening lines posted above: Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.
On the rock hill called Golgotha, surrounded by his taunting enemies, Jesus is stripped naked. His hands and feet are pierced as he is nailed to the cross and lifted up for the whole world to see. The helpless Christ silently laments, “All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.”
All four Gospels record what happens next. The soldiers divide up Jesus clothes and gamble for his seamless garment. “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 that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did (John 19:24).
Thoughtless Roman soldiers fulfilled what David penned nine centuries earlier. But was Jesus truly helpless? If he was helpless, he was helpless by design. If he was forsaken by his Father, he was forsaken by choice—his choice. This was a course of action that Jesus willingly chose. He lay down his life. The Lamb of God suffered and died that our sins might be atoned, that we may receive a full pardon. Redemption has come; the price has been paid in full—paid in blood.
The turning point in this psalm is found in the last stanza above. With unvoiced words Jesus cries out to be rescued and delivered from death. Three days later his prayer was answered through his bodily resurrection. Ultimately, Jesus triumphed over death, hell and the grave. By faith his suffering brings our redemption and victory.
Response: Lord Jesus, my thanks flows to you. You were forsaken that I might have eternal life. Thank you for thinking of me rather than of yourself. You deserve all praise. Amen.
Your Turn: What is the right response to the love Jesus showed? How have you responded?