I know I’ve written a great deal on Psalm 22 before, and before I go ahead and have a look at what I actually put down, I’m going to ‘have a go’ at it again, allowing 2023 JB to have a look at it and see if I’m calibrated, or if not more fine tuned compared to JB last year.
If you joined me yesterday I took a look at Psalm 21. In that Psalm we had a small glimpse of the infinite love of God for each and every one of us, as seen in exactly how much we gained through the salvation we have in Jesus Christ. We’ve settled that this is FAR more than just a ‘Get to Heaven when you die’ card, and this is a whole lot deeper than a campaign to get people to behave appropriately (or, according to what our limited minds would define as ‘appropriate’, anyway). No, in salvation we find strength, and much more than that – we find satisfaction, sanctuary, and all other sorts of good things (probably starting in the letter s or not)… But for all that the Psalmist elaborated on, the ultimate point was that this salvation we received when we gave even a hint of consideration to the Truth of Christ and His finished work… for all we’ve enjoyed in Psalm 21, this salvation is our full and complete reconciliation to our Creator.
I could imagine a whole bunch of people out there who mock this message. I mean, I understand it. Believe it or not, I actually caught myself indirectly speaking out against this grace… and, of all times, it was when I was listening to Joseph Prince. I was thinking, ‘It’s all grace! It’s all Jesus! That’s all he’s saying!’; No mention of our needing to do good, to be good, to feel good. And, more importantly, no mention of our ‘part’; that is, our side of the ‘bargain’. I guess I found myself mocking his message because in my mind there had to be a string attached. There had to be a part we played. It couldn’t be all free.
Looking at Psalm 22… well, here’s where I’m led to remember. The strength, the favor, the satisfaction, the sanctuary, the salvation, the reconciliation – It wasn’t free, at all. Let’s look at Psalm 22:1-18, but in reverse:
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
There were no literal strings attached… because those were nails that were driven through Christ’s hands and feet, at the cross. He was not only restrained and rendered immobile, but He was stripped of His clothing, presented to the world to be humiliated.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
Christ was rendered weak – restrained and exposed. Christ was beaten to the point that I could imagine His ribs were exposed, and He was bleeding all over His body; He was broken, both in body and in His soul. Drained and dehydrated.
Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
For all His recognition of the power that reigns eternal, He was exposed to trouble. The Psalmist writes of being surrounded by bulls; At the cross, Christ was not only watched by the Romans, but the Pharisees and Sadducees did not pass up on the chance to see their enemy brought so low.
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
And not only was Christ surrounded by enemies, Jew and Gentile… But they openly scorned Him, openly expressed their hatred towards Him, scorning Him and encouraging those around to take part in ridiculing Him and the God whom He spoke of, who was full of grace.
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
Most painful of all… it was at the cross where Christ experienced the sum of all fear, ultimate danger, and literal death; absolute rejection and separation from God.
Lest we forget, there WAS a price that was paid, friends. Before we celebrated our strength, Christ took the weakness we were bound to suffer. Before we recognized our favor, and before we came to satisfaction, it was Christ who was stripped of everything, and given unimaginable discomfort.
We enjoy our Good Shepherd, and we are safe and secure, both physically and emotionally… Only because Christ was surrounded, humiliated, and embarrassed as sin should have rendered us; And, most of all, we are more thankful for the infinite salvation and reconciliation, now more than ever, because we realize it was Christ who suffered the hopeless rejection we deserved.
And I don’t say all this to appeal to our consciences. As I just mentioned, I suppose all this is pointed out for me to say that this is no cheap grace we received from God. It cost Christ everything for us to be something in God’s eyes… and as such, we are all the more thankful. All the more in awe.
Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, for all that You have done.
Until the next post, God bless you.