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jesus in psalm 22 Anne O’BrieN A Bible Study on Jesus in Psalm 22. We encourage you to pray before you begin reading that the Lord would open your heart and mind to be receptive and responsive to God’s message contained within this study. There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview,

God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds. 1


Psalm 22 (New International Version) 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. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.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. 3

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.’ 6

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

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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 is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 12

Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce 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. 16

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. 19

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, honour him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 22

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. 24

From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfil my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him – may your hearts live for ever! 25

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. 27

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! 29

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He has done it! This is not the most well-known of David’s Psalms but it is certainly the most prophetic. And, as is often the case with prophecy, it can be applied to David, to ourselves and – more importantly - to the life and work of our Saviour, Jesus. It shows us different sides of David: shepherd boy, warrior king, submissive servant AND prophet. And it speaks of Jesus throughout his life. This Psalm is David’s voice and spoken from his heart and experience and yet, it is almost as if Jesus is speaking those same words. We therefore have to study this Psalm alongside New Testament scriptures in order to appreciate its full meaning. 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. Psalm 22:1-2 This is the cry of anguish, of someone who is in great mental and physical strain; the cry of someone who is feeling cut off from God and yet knowing that God is there to call on. At certain times in our lives we can probably identify with that feeling. David was no different to us – neither was Jesus. He felt everything we feel when he hung on the Cross for us. See 2 Cor 5v21; Gal 3v13; Matt 27v46 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.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. Psalm 22:3-5 3

David gets his thoughts into perspective by reminding himself of God’s (The Holy One, God the Father) position and character – always praised, always trusted, ever faithful God. As New Testament Christians we have the advantage of knowing that Jesus also came as the Holy One to show us what God is like, i.e. compassionate, loving, forgiving, faithful. See Rev 16v5; Luke 1v35; John 6v69 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.’ Psalm 22:6-8 6

David, like many believers since – and like Jesus – knew what it was to be both honoured and abased and humbled. He knew what it was to feel worthless and unloved, taunted and rejected by men. And sometimes we have these feelings ourselves. But look – Jesus experienced all that too. He walked the same path as David and ourselves. As a man he experienced all the pain and emotions that we experience – and more, as he became despised for us, for our sin that he carried. As an old hymn says: O help me understand it, help me to take it in What it meant for Thee, the Holy One, to take away my sin. Again, this truth is supported by New Testament Scriptures. 3


See Matt 27v41-44; Philippians 2v6-8 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. Psalm 22:9-11 9

Mary recognized this truth in The Magnificat (see Luke 1v46-55) David identifies with the truth that he was chosen from his mother’s womb as do Samson, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and many others in the Bible. This is a truth for us as well. God knows us before we are born – that is, we are a spiritual being before we ever have physical breath. Once we are born into this tainted world and become of age, the only way to renew that spiritual relationship with God is by faith in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. (Of great comfort is the fact that children, babies and the unborn are known by God and received into his presence if they die prematurely). And for us, it is very affirming to know that God loves us and has known and loved us since we were conceived. (At this point the Psalm merges much more into prophecy about the Messiah, although He is not mentioned as such. This Psalm is an example of those passages in the Bible where prophetic truth is “In the old concealed and in the New revealed”.) 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 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 22:12-15 12

David was speaking metaphorically about his enemies – strong bulls and lions – as strong opponents. When he penned this he felt his life was almost ended. (But we know God sent relief.) At times everything feels as if it is too much for us to bear. The bulls and lions in our lives could represent any kind of opposition we face (illness, death, redundancy, emotional stress, family problems etc. etc.) For Jesus, hanging on the Cross, this description is so expressive. All had turned against him. Even his disciples had left him. “He was poured out like water” – like a sacrifice, and dehydrated, waiting for death. See John 19v28-30 – Jesus was thirsty. Here we see that all the Old Testament Scriptures were fulfilled. Why? So that the Jews would recollect them and realise the huge mistake they had made in crucifying their Messiah. Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce 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. Psalm 22:16-18 16

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Here we have more specific information about Jesus’ death – • Villains around him – a criminal either side • Pierced hands and feet, and bones on display (this is a description of crucifixion about one thousand years before the Romans introduced it as a punishment! The person would be stripped of his clothes to bring utter humiliation and then tied and nailed to the cross beam before being lifted up for all to see.) • Casting of lots for Jesus’ garment (See Luke 23v34) This makes such painful reading. But Jesus was “obedient unto death”, he fulfilled all the Scriptures and aligned his will with Father God’s – all because he loves us and knew it was the only way to bring us reconciliation with God. 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. 21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. Psalm 22:19-21 19 20

These are words of David. And very likely our prayer at times. We plead with God for deliverance from our difficulties and problems and he answers us. But for Jesus, who spent the night wrestling in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, there was only one outcome. However, Jesus did not die at the hands of the Romans. He, himself, gave up his spirit to God. He was not killed by the sword of the Romans (verse 20). And (to fulfil verses 20,21) Jesus was not left on the Cross at the mercy of the elements and wild animals. His body was taken down by Joseph of Arimathea and, with respect and love, laid to rest in his family’s tomb. See Luke 23v46; Matt 27v57-60 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, honour him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! Psalm 22:22-23 22

Despite the preceding verses, David was inspired to announce praises to God and to call people to honour him then and now (descendants of Jacob – that refers to us!) Somehow God had revealed the fact that death was not the end. There was a purpose, as explained in the New Testament. See Hebrews 2v11&12; Hebrews 12v2 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. Psalm 22:24 24

Compare with verse 1. God was in it all. He was working all the time. He was working out his purposes. And even though all others forsook Jesus, God did not. Through it all God was fulfilling all the Scriptures and working out his great plan of salvation for all mankind with the full cooperation of Jesus. See Hebrews 5v7-10 5


(At this point the Psalm moves from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection and glorification of Jesus.) From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfil my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him – may your hearts live for ever! Psalm 22:25-26 25

David introduces the theme of God’s provision; the fact that any who seek Him can find Him; and the theme of eternal life. “May our hearts live forever”. Without the Messiah the Jews do not have this hope. Once Jesus had come this hope was for everyone. See John 6v27 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. Psalm 22:27-29 David looks to the future when the Jews will remember what was accomplished by the Messiah, and when all nations of the earth – Jews and gentiles together – will bow before the One who is Sovereign Lord over all. This amazing prophecy, written so long ago, has echoes of Revelation and End Times theology. Whether we be rich or poor, we cannot keep ourselves alive. God ordains both our birth and our death. After all the scientific advancement since David’s day, man still has no control over the day of his death – unless it is taken unlawfully. And ultimately, as it says in Philippians, all will have to bow the knee to Jesus, the one who they persecuted. See Matt 8v11; Philippians 2v10&11 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! Psalm 22:30-31 David declares to future generations that there will a time when they will be able to say, “God has done it” – through Jesus Christ the Righteous One there will be made a way of forgiveness that will be open to all. Praise the Lord, when Jesus died on the Cross he shouted, “It is finished”. The work of atonement, of paying for our sin, was completed on the Cross. Jesus, referred to all the way through this Psalm, was the one who effected it. And prosperity will serve him. He will be revered and worshipped for everlasting. Read John 19v30; Revelation 7v9-12 Many people, prophets and poets and songwriters, have tried to capture God’s plan for eternity – such is its awe-fullness and beauty and wonder.

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This old and well-loved hymn follows the themes of Psalm 22: Man of sorrows, what a name for the Son of God who came, Ruined sinners to reclaim. Hallelujah! What a Saviour. Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned he stood Sealed my pardon with his blood. Hallelujah! What a Saviour. Guilty, vile and helpless, we, Spotless Lamb of God was he; “Full atonement?” Can it be? Hallelujah! What a Saviour. Lifted up was he to die, “It is finished” was his cry; Now in heaven exalted high; Hallelujah! What a Saviour. When he comes, our glorious king, all his ransomed home to bring Then anew this song we’ll sing: Hallelujah! What a Saviour.

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The Estuary Elim Group of Churches are three Essex based Elim Pentecostal Churches in Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend on Sea with a shared Leadership team. We are a group of people responding to the love of God and the life changing message of Jesus Christ. Our services are lively with contemporary music, worship and preaching and teaching relevant to the 21st Century. To find out more about us visit www.estuaryelim.church Whether you are new to church, someone with questions or a committed Christian, we want to serve you and help you discover and fulfil God’s purpose for your life. If you would like an opportunity to email or talk to one of the team email your contact details to info@estuaryelim.co.uk and we will get back to you. The Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend Elim Pentecostal Churches are branches of The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance (Registered Charity No. 251549) 8

Jesus in Psalm 22  

This is not the most well-known of David’s Psalms but it is certainly the most prophetic. And, as is often the case with prophecy, it can be...