To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David(page last updated: Dec 15 2019)
Psalms 22: kjv
Today's Audio Commentary: "Messianic Profile 2: Suffering Servant"
| Psalm:1 Reading
| Part 1 > Messianic Profile 2: Suffering Servant - Introduction
| Part 2 > Messianic Profile 2: Suffering Servant - Obedient
| Part 3 > Messianic Profile 2: Suffering Servant - A Revealing Light
| Part 4 > Messianic Profile 2: Suffering Servant - A Declarative Light
| Part 5 > Messianic Profile 2: Suffering Servant - Conclusions
| Psalm:1 "Messianic Profile 2: Suffering Servant" (commentary as one file)
Today's Commentary Outline:
- Messianic Profile 2: Suffering Servant - Introduction
kjv@Matthew:27:46 @ And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?
- Ever since the time Jesus cried this upon His cross in His final few living breaths these words perhaps have been the most disturbing words in the Bible: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?
- Some people there at the crucifixion site thought that He was crying to the Old Testament prophet Elias. (It sounds nearly the same, doesn't it?)
Matthew 27:47-49 kjv
- But Elias never did come.
- Ever since that time there has been question as to what Jesus meant by this. The most common perception among casual Bible readers is that Jesus finally realized by God not saving Him then and there that all that He had previously believed in now was in severe doubt. Either He was mad at Himself for believing what He had or that He was mad at God for not doing as He had all this time believed.
- To the agnostic and atheist reader it is a confession that after all was said and done, Jesus was just another man like all everyone else. Either there is no God or that no one knows anything more about God than anybody else.
- I think we all could imagine the extreme disappointment having it all come down to this, having given yourself to a cause that you believed in so much as to surrender your whole life to achieving it, having given yourself to a vow of poverty, having kept yourself from the pleasures of a wife and small children, having left house and home and family to sleep on rocks/to suffer men's insults/to be in fear for your life/to have led a group of men into the same lifestyle and to have filled their minds with the same exact hope; and to have it all come down to this. Sure, we can understand why Jesus would be a little disappointed if this were the case couldn't we? But, is that the case here?
- "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" What was it that Jesus was attempting in His last breaths to convey?
kjv@Matthew:27:46 @ And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
- How would you answer this most disturbing question?
- Today in Psalm 22 we see David asking this very same question:
kjv@Psalms:22:1 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?"
- Could it be that Jesus is comparing His situation to something David also had gone through?
- You know I find myself doing that often, comparing the struggle that I am facing today with something similar David had composed a psalm about; you know some battle or some family issue. I have always found it comforting to see how another man, a much respected man, a spiritual mentor such as David worked his way out of a distressful situation back into a positive and healthy hope and confidence in God. We all do that at one time or another, don't we? Maybe that is what Jesus is attempting to do: work His way back into a final hope and confidence.
- Except there is one problem with that: we have no historical record that David ever went through what he is portraying in kjv@Psalm:22. There is a chance I suppose that he is being poetic about something he had gone through but, to be so graphic and so detailed about it; I just can't see it. Bones out of joint? Heart melting like wax? Pierced hands and feet? Dividing his clothes and gambling to see which dog gets to keep them? Do you see what I mean?
- So we have Jesus quoting David during His final breaths. Quoting perhaps the oddest psalm ever written:
kjv@Psalms:22:1 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?"
- Can you imagine what the people there would have thought had Jesus had the breath to continue with the rest of the Psalm?
- Would there be any question then as to what He meant?
- Well let me continue the Psalm for Him!
- This is the second of several Messianic profiles we have upcoming.
- The first profile BackToThePsalms021 was considering Messiah in His role as Jehovah's King.
- This BackToThePsalms022 profile takes on the consideration that before Messiah could ever be King in the sense that Jehovah most needed Him to be, that Messiah was going to have to suffer as Jehovah's lone Messianic Servant. This essential matter regarding Messiah is nearly incomprehensible to most of us given that it runs opposite to our human perceptions of power and authority and even our theological notions of divinity. Suffering servants do not become kings in our way of thinking, no, powerful people that make their enemies to suffer and force into being their servants become kings.
- And when it comes to our Christian claims of the divinity of Jesus Christ, you'll have to admit it is a scandalous idea to in effect be saying that divinity comes to earth to take on human form for the purpose of suffering in order to be raised from death so that He once again can reign as Messianic King.
- On the other hand it is also a very beautiful idea that Christ our King isn't just king because of His divinity and His namesake and His position in the architecture structure of all creation but, is all the more king because He became like us/was tempted as we are/suffered as we do (and more). Yes, it might even be considered glorious that Christ is not just King by royal inheritance (though that be true) but, that He paid for the right to that position by the sacrifice of His own sweat and blood and His very living eternal being.
kjv@Psalms:22:3-5 @ But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
- In whom did our fathers trust? Jehovah yes. Even more than that though, the fathers trusted that Jehovah as promised and covenanted was going to provide a seed of HIS own through whom not only the seed of Israel would be blessed but, also the people of all nations. This was an unconditional covenant Jehovah made with Abraham. Jehovah alone walked through the cutting indicating that this covenant would be upon Jehovah's shoulders alone.
- So when the fathers are said to have "trusted thee", they are trusting not only that Jehovah will see each of them personally through the daily affairs of their lives, Jehovah would at the same time keep to HIS solemn covenant made to Abraham regarding this Jehovah "seed" or Messiah. On neither account have these fathers been confounded.
- "They cried unto thee, and were delivered" :5. Many times, many generations throughout the history of Israel, Israel needed to be delivered. Delivered in a good sense in that they were delivered from an exceedingly jealous and oppressive Egypt. Delivered in not such a good sense in that because of their doubts and fears and rebellious murmurings they were kept in the wilderness some 40 years before being delivered into the Promise Land. Delivered in a terrible sense in that they shamefully driven the nation down to the depths of their Temple being destroyed and their people taken captive into Babylonian hands.
- They cried out to the Jehovah the Almighty One. Remember though the majority of the time their cries were the cries of repentance, for they had gone astray, brought slowly to suffer their own consequences, delivered at the first sign of their repentance. Is this in any way similar to the cries day and night of the Messiah? Messiah the suffering servant? Suffering at these fathers children's hands?
- So why is it that Jehovah can hear to deliver such a stiff necked people and deliver them so often when Messiah is not heard and by all human appearances is left hanging on a cross forsaken? Perhaps the better question to this is: what exactly was Messiah crying to Jehovah for Jehovah to do?
- Are we to think that this Messiah was sick and tired of being this suffering servant being called for or that He had come up with a better plan than this to achieve the same salvation of mankind scale result?
- Are we to think that this Messiah came into this not knowing what to expect and quickly became overwhelmed with it all? That He thought Himself somehow above all of this and that now He expected Jehovah to reach in and do something different about it?
- I fear that many of us think that when Jesus prayed kjv@Mark:14:36 "Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt" that we think that Jesus was having second thoughts or was trying to change His Father's mind about this. That is what we would have prayed is it not?
- The emphasis Jesus gives in this prayer is on "not what I will, but what thou wilt" not " take away this cup from me" as can be seen by the word "nevertheless". Let's get this straight, the true test of obedience is not whether we wish to do what is being asked of us to obey, the test is to obey what is being asked of us regardless of how we might feel about it (no matter how much personal sacrifice it takes). This is not a prayer of desperately trying to change God's mind, it is a prayer of intended obedience no matter what the sacrifice. (and just so you know this was a most costly and painful sacrifice).
- "but thou hearest not" :2
- Are we saying that the Almighty of Almighities did not hear Messiah's prayer? Are we saying that the Almighty did not have the power to do anything about this? kjv@Mark:14:36 "..he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee". All things are possible for God. You have probably prayed or said something very similar along the way, haven't you? You must be fairly convinced of this. Here's the real question though: are all thing probable to happen with God? No, only the right things. Are all possible probabilities right for God to do?
Psalms 22:3 kjv
- What is right and what is holy, that is what we should always be expecting from Jehovah!
- In the previous section of this commentary Psalm:22 Profile of Messiah the Servant I've attempted to examine it from the all important aspect of Messiah's obedience to the Father suffering even unto death. The Kingly role of Messiah and the obedient Suffering Servant role go hand in hand and along with the other roles we'll soon discuss are irreducible. In this section we'll look at this same aspect of obedience from the angle that this obedience will be used by Jehovah as a light to reveal the dark spiritually lifeless hearts of men. It is an additional part of what will qualify the suffering servant to be this Messianic type of king. Not all kings are required to have suffered, not all kings have been required to expose this but, this is not the typical king that we are talking about however, this is the King of kings, King of all Eternity. In order for Him to rule eternity has has to have revealed the hearts of man and have done all that is required to have fixed them. That is what we will be getting at. Warning, what He is having to expose to us will be quite painful for many of us, even offensive at first.
- kjv@Psalms:22:9-11 contrasts what "they" (mankind) are doing to Messiah with the simple fact that Messiah is there to suffer whatever they throw at Him. It's like asking "why did all of you do that to Messiah"? Well we have no excuse do we? It's because of this sin that resides within us is a sin on a level we had no idea was in us. There was really no other way left to God to get us to see this in ourselves other than to allow us to do this unto HIS Messiah. You will note the importance given in kjv@Psalms:22:11 "Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help". There was literally no man on earth (nor is there) that could be of help; only the Father can help, this has to be exposed in every living man and women.
- Granted, not every man and women ever to have lived has physically done the things we are about to describe. No, what we are about to see these particular men and women do will shed light on the much deeper issues that involve what we all do to Christ every living second. You might say "wait a minute, I'm not every second doing something against Christ". Stick with this dialogue long enough and think that you will begin to see what it is soon enough. If you dare!
- What we see here in context with other scripture is a sudden shift in the public's perception of Messiah. I believe this to be the first indication of what Messiah is up against from everyone of us. It was just the previous Sunday that Jesus had entered the holy city amidst the massive cheers of Hosanna. Now, 3-4 days later they are lining the streets all the way up to the crucifixion site laughing Him to scorn and worse. It is as if they were willing for a short time to worship Messiah on their own terms but, in the long run not on His terms. Something drastic had happened. It is this mysterious something is what I want to examine now. I suspect that it has something to do with call it mass/mob mentality and momentum even more than any individual angst or ought.
- Before I start though, I want to caution my listener and readers.
- The passages of scripture we are about to consider have led some to conclude that it was the Jews as a whole that killed our Messiah. As a result the Jews have suffered tremendous evil at so called Christian hands. I caution everyone to keep a level head and open heart about these matters and to not jump to the wrong (or evil) conclusions. It is not the Jews that killed our Christ it was sin, our sins, all of our sins.
- I have no doubt that we as Gentiles would have killed Messiah just the same as did the Jews if we had been given the opportunity. The sin nature is essentially the same in both of us. So the Almighty chose to reveal the universal nature of sin in the lives of that generation of Jewish people to all of us, that should be no concern of ours to do evil unto those who are just like us and have done just as we would have done (and are doing currently by doing so unto them).
- If there is one thing to be said about the Jews of that particular generation, they did at least have the concern for the law (though it had been misguided by oral tradition) and were indeed watching for the coming Messiah. The Gentiles of that generation don't even have that to say however in support of themselves.
- Everyone out there, please be extra cautious now as we continue!
- Now then, as I previously said, what I want to first look at is the group dynamic of "they". It is a topic I have been most interested in ever since being part of it in the school yard when the majority of us cheered the bully on to kick the crap out the kid in the glasses. It's as if we thought the bully wouldn't kick the crap out of us if he saw us in support of him kicking the crap out of some one else. Or maybe it was us vicariously kicking the crap out of a kid through the fists of the much stronger bully. I just don't know. The thing is that we see this mentality show up in nearly every human activity social and political and sadly also religious.
- What else explains this sudden shift of public perception against Messiah? Just a few days before this the Chief Priests had withheld themselves from doing anything this drastic for fear of what the public would think of them. They had convinced themselves of every reason to get rid of this Messianic impostor and yet for nearly two years it was the acceptance (or at least curiosity) publicly of Jesus as the Messiah that kept them from doing anything. Until now every little thing that they had attempted to do against Him had turned sour and curdled back on them. The more they had pressed forward the more they ended up backing up.
- Now it could also be said that a good many people present had very little or no knowledge or interest in Jesus. They were not the ones waving palm leaves on Sunday and not the ones calling for Barabbas in Pontius Pilot's court yard. Can you imagine meeting one of these people in a grocery line and in casual conversation you ask "where were you the day Christ was put to death"? "What was the day like"? and they just look blankly at you and reply "What Christ" "did something happen" "oh I was too busy" "a neighbor was telling me something about it but, I didn't pay it any mind". There were probably a lot of disconnected folks like that. Isn't that a sin just as great as driving a stake through the man's hands and feet? Apathy was one of the several complications of mass/mob mentality, one would think that apathy would help to dampen it's rumblings but, it rather seems to be the vacuum either enabling it or else the vacuum it seeks to fill.
- Whether we are willing to admit it or not, there is certainly a huge group component to sin. As a group we seek to go on about our lives and pay little mind to the important things happening all around us. When something does catch our eye as a group the vast majority of us side with the person/persons/issues we perceive to have the most power/force/consequence. The majority of us follow along with the majority simply because it is the majority (and little else). Even those in the minority who oppose the majority are lead about by their own group mentality the majority of the time.
- For some time now (perhaps all of this time) we as a people have chosen to view sin as an individual thing, mostly detaching it from the group or mob mentality. It is safer for us to believe this way because then we can individually excuse ourselves from it. I ask you however to consider the following descriptions from 22 of what "they" are doing to Christ/what Christ is allowing the Father to expose in us, lighting the darker recesses of the complicated multi directional group/mob mentality:
kjv@Psalms:22:6 @ But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
- In the crowd lining the streets of the city leading out the city gate Jesus is well aware that many of the faces there have little or no skin in this fight, they are there because everyone else is there. And they are barking slanders and reproaches on Him not for any reason other than that is what everyone else is doing. They feel that they are in the power, they are in the majority, they are above this misfit whoever He is (they don't know). Even those that know who He is and who He claims to be have allowed themselves to be stirred up beyond all sanity. They have been made by the group to the feel the anger without knowing precisely why. Words come out of their lips, sharp words, words that away from the mob that would not have been so vile and pointed. This is a healer they are reproaching. This is a great prophet and teacher who has worked many great miracles. Why can't they stop themselves from treating this man this way? Here in is revealed the darkest component of human sin: the group component. Can any of us say that we have not been in a similar position with Christ?
kjv@Psalms:22:7-8 @ All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
- On the dirt trail climbing the Hill of Skulls, when Jesus falls under the weight of His burdensome wooden beam, as HE lays there to regather Himself, there are the many voices of laughter. Does any of them know what is so funny? Please, let me in on the joke. Is it that Jesus trusted? Is it that God delighted in Him? One man laughs because it is meant to put this wretched man down in His wretched place, it's not the laugh of humor but the laugh of condescending superiority, his laughter is contagious. What they all are laughing to scorn is something that they have very little comprehension of, Christ suffering at their hands for their ultimate good, what they are able of making out of it they are belittling impulsively as a group. Had any of this group stuck around any longer they would have seen that the Father did deliver HIS begotten Son; no one would have been laughing them. But, as a group they soon became disinterested I guess in the final outcome. I guess that they know better than all of this what this man's outcome will be. Here in is revealed the darkest component of human sin: the group component. Can any of us say that we have not been in a similar position with Christ?
kjv@Psalms:22:12 @ Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
- All around Jesus there are numbers upon numbers of compassing people. There is strength in numbers, crowds gravitate towards what they perceive to be the imposing strength. Often times groups can be too strong for their own good. The strength of the group can quickly burn/dissipate itself out (drunkenness, exuberance, violence, or hatred and covetousness each have a way of doing that). The entity though (whatever that is) that originally collected the group can simply move on and recollect itself as another group.
- Consider the numbers that make up this present group. By the human eye there is not one solid block of who these people are, there are many separate interests coming at this from different angles. But, from the spiritual point of view these many diverse interests erupt from the same geyser. Also to be considered in these present numbers should be added the numbers of interests missing from the crowds, those people that have run the other direction such as the disciples, such as the thousands that had been healed, the few Sadducee and Pharisees that did in fact believe in Jesus. The perception of strength is affected by the timidness of the oppositions support. If strength is in deed perceived in numbers... Here in is revealed the darkest component of human sin: the group component. Can any of us say that we have not been in a similar position with Christ?
kjv@Psalms:22:13 @ They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
- It is not just the mentality that Jesus is seeing exposed against Him, it is the ravenous hunger or drive or fierceness behind it. I think that most of us are willing to admit that the group/mob dynamic plays a part in sin to a certain extent. None of us are willing though to admit the intense drive propelling the mentality. It is described here as a roaring lion, a lion that lays perfectly stealth until it pounces upon it's quite surprised prey. It is like the roar is built into the pounce and the gape built into the devouring of it's prey. You can tell and tell the young gazelle all you want about the gape and the roar but, it will not fully believe it until it has both seen and heard the lion's gape and roar tear into a younger familiar gazelle nearby. Jesus has seen this. Jesus has shown it to us. Who are we not to believe that the lion's gape and roar are not only possible but also knowable. As with the illustration made with the bully, it is the roar and gape that draws the majority mass into it's fold. Here in is revealed the darkest component of human sin: the group component. Can any of us say that we have not been in a similar position with Christ?
kjv@Psalms:22:16 @ For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
- Romans. Jesus is now being executed on top of the hill by Romans. In the Hebrew culture of that time Romans were Gentiles and Gentiles considered as dogs. Again not that the Jews are any different from any of us, there is plenty of this kind of prejudice to go around for all of us. Not far from where the Romans are working to nail Jesus down to the wooden beam are the official witnesses. It is Hebrew tradition that those who accused the criminal and been victimized by him be made to witness the convicted's execution, it is for their receiving of justice. Except there is one major problem here, the assembly of official witnesses from the Temple have not at any point in this conviction been in a position of rightly deserving of them receiving justice. No, the territorial Roman governor himself had declared this man innocent. It was upon their insistence backed by the threat of public violence against the governor and Rome that he washed his hands of the matter. Surely you can see the group dynamic working from several various directions of subgroups working it's intended purposes? Here in is revealed the darkest component of human sin: the group component. Can any of us say that we have not been in a similar position with Christ?
kjv@Psalms:22:17 @ I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
- The cross on which Jesus is stapled to is tossed upright into it's mount. Arms extended, the weight of His body thrusting down making it impossible to breath unless He push up with His feet to relieve the stress upon His lungs and diaphragm. This effort repeats itself over and over until in utter fatigue His blood builds up with poorly ventilated carbon dioxide essentially melting away His organs and remaining strength. It comes to a point where His effort to take another breath costs more than His on hand reserves of energy to stay alive. The inability to lift His sagging head from His chest makes it only possible now to stare down at His own marred and blood stained visage; only his bones so David poetically says stare back up at Him.
- There are very few left atop the hill left to watch over this; basically just those who had to be there along with the familiar three that wanted to be there. Everyone else has raced off to prepare for the Sabbath. Oh they are still religious mind you, in fact there is a way that each one of them that attended the mob can find a way to justify themselves, that they did what is right, that they did God proud. Most of them won't even remember whatever crazed things were done, only that they had been there and now it's time to move on. The rest of us look on, almost to linger and stare, not all of us with a mother's stabbing pain but most with a slight morbid curiosity. Here in is revealed the darkest component of human sin: the group component. Can any of us say that we have not been in a similar position with Christ?
kjv@Psalms:22:18 @ They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
- Why not? This Jesus wont be needing them any more.
- They. This is what they did to Messiah. They. This is what it most urgently reveals about us. Them. This is what we do nearly every second in some shape or form against Messiah. Us? Is this really who we are?
- note: not once in this Psalm:21 transcribed by David is there a mention of any particular individual doing this unto Him. Throughout the psalm it is always spoken of as "they". Jesus did not die because of the individual sins committed by "they" a few thousand misguided craze swept people. Jesus died because of obedience to the Father, an obedience meant to reveal the true nature of sin, the sin beneath the covers of the sins of "they" all of mankind. That is why He willingly and with all foreknowledge became the Servant Messiah, that is why He now can become the Messiah King.
- So far in this commentary on Psalm:22 we have considered Messiah as Jehovah's obedient servant sent to mankind along with a few other reasons to suffer even unto death, a foreign concept to most all of us especially in light of Messiah being King as well. Yet it is this suffering servant role that is meant expose a deeply mysterious fault within all of us as He suffers at our hand. Plus we gone verse by verse through some key verses regarding what the men and women of that particular generation did unto Christ and how that was driven by similar forces as drives our treatment of Christ as well. We even considered one of the darkest components of this fault within us all: the group/mass/mob component.
- Hopefully now the suffering servant aspect of Messiah is not as foreign to us, for we are beginning to see that His suffering had very specific purpose. Now we are going to continue studying this intended purpose behind His suffering in that it gave Messiah a personal testimony like no other.
- There are a few preliminary verses to map out prior to us moving to the next part of this Messianic Servant consideration :19-21
kjv@Psalms:22:19 "But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me."
- Along with what has been said earlier in kjv@Psalms:22:11, verse 19 is a similar refrain stating that Messiah is now in a position that only Jehovah can help. The first refrain acknowledges that there is this trouble, the second makes it clear that Jehovah is the strength Messiah is depending on to see Him through, no one else. He then asks for Jehovah's haste.
kjv@Psalms:22:20 "Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog".
- In just a few short moments upcoming the Roman soldiers will seek to hasten the deaths of all three men being crucified this day by breaking their leg bones so that they can no longer lift themselves up for a breath, then in order to confirm their deaths they will pierce through their sides into their heart from the ground below with a long spear. Jehovah's haste is needed now because Messiah can not die from the sword according to prophecy nor can His bones be broken. The deliverance being asked for is not a deliverance for Messiah to not have to die, it is a deliverance from any other cause of death than that prescribed by the prophets.
kjv@Psalms:22:21 "Save me from the lions mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns (wild bulls)".
- This is a tough phrase to decipher for me. I could use the help of a Hebrew scholar here. I am guessing that the mouth of the lion has to do with a devouring death that He is currently in the clutches of, and the horns of the wild bulls is alluding to the position of strength Jehovah would be hearing Him from. Saving would be for Jehovah from HIS position of bull like strength to loose/open wide the lion's sharp jagged powerful clutches so that Messiah can get back out. Please tell me if this means something more or else.
- So now we have the picture of the obedient servant (obedient unto death) being used in this by Jehovah to reveal the hearts of all men of all nations of all ages. One particular generation and one particular people are chosen for this revealing to first occur. The hearts of this particular generation of people are exposed to us by what they do to Messiah. There is something vitally important for all of to see in what all transpired, not the particular actions of this particular generation of people per se but, the forces behind those actions that may also be effecting any possible action we might be making in our daily lives as well.
- Messiah the obedient servant has now died in fulfillment of several longstanding Old Testament Hebrew prophecies; this begins His transition from suffering servant to a servant who has been heard by Jehovah and saved from out of death's ravenous and roaring clutches. Here is where the psalmist again picks up:
kjv@Psalms:22:22 "I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee".
- You might think that the better testimony would have been for Messiah not to have suffered to this extent at all (maybe take Him as far as the cross just so we all know how out of hand some people can possibly get but, save Him somehow from off that cross (maybe throw in an epic battle between the Romans and the Angels for lasting effect)). Let me tell you though that as far as we have come through the trial and execution of Messiah to get to this, the revealing intended by Jehovah is only just beginning to shine forth. The discomfort level is about to sky rocket.
- Remember before when the Jews had asked for a sign from Jesus to prove to them who He was? Remember Jesus told them that only one sign would be given? What was that sign that HE said would be given? Jonah, right? Three days in the belly of the beast, the third day spewed back out of mouth of the beast onto the shore and Jonah (praise God) heading his way back towards Nineveh. Do you remember what the message was given by God for the Ninevehites (?) sent on his lips? That's right... the message of repentance. Only this time it is the risen Messiah (the Messiah that they all in various and corporate way had tried to put away) and this time He is declaring Jehovah's name (as never could be declared before by anyone else) to His brethren (those whom Jehovah had given Him) and He then sends His brethren forth into all the earth
Matthew 28:19-20 kjv
- And what are His brethren saying publicly and in the midst of the great congregation?
Acts 2:38-39 kjv
- This is such good news; is it not?
- Well of course this is good news (most excellent news) but wait, not as viewed by the hearts of men. Not only does Christ Jesus have to suffer their further increased sinfulness, now too does His brethren. Do you think that the heart of man has changed any by this? No they have only entrenched themselves into the darkness all the much further.
kjv@Psalms:22:23 @ Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
- Some individual Jews (the seed of Jacob) do believe at first. The early church is made up of all Jews and these Messianic type Jews attempt to continue alongside their people in their synagogues and at the temple. But the group dynamic begins to regather itself, they are soon put out. It turns out that the LORD that they would rather fear and praise bares little resemblance to the LORD who by the strength of HIS own arm has kept HIS promise of anointed (though suffering) Messiah. The LORD that they would rather fear and glorify is a LORD that doesn't require Messiah to reveal the corrupt heart of man kind, sacrifice Himself in order to fix it, raise again to the right hand throne of God to be installed as Eternal King. No, their Messiah simply has to come in and take over and restore Israel back to some sort of glory that they vaguely recollect having back when King David ruled them (by the way David complained of enemies all around him too setting traps for him). See their Messiah is more about the nation of Israel ruling here on earth right now than it is the Christ the vetted King ruling over Jew and Gentile alike (from all the nations) in His Kingdom of God forever more.
kjv@Psalms:22:24 "For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard".
- What a testimony Messiah has been given by this. Who has been afflicted and oppressed of us more than Christ Jesus? Jehovah did not forsake Him, HE heard and answered His cry. Nor will Christ now forsake His brethren following after Him. Men might despise Him. Men might abhor Him. It is not even a question of might, it's that they certainly will.
- Again this plays into that group dynamic: why would any sane man or woman chose to be despised and abhorred and afflicted when they didn't have to be? Well the answer for these men and women to that would be so that the LORD doesn't hide HIS face from them too. The men and women of the world complain of this being a world where God is hiding, where God doesn't hear them, where men inflict affliction upon others with very little divine intervention. You know what? They are exactly right in an odd sense. God is this to them because they are that to HIM. I don't want to live hiding myself in the darkness from God nor do I want HIM hiding from me because I am being too stiff necked and stone hearted. The importance to these other faithful men and women is not how the world compassing around them in a fit and furry see them, the importance is placed on how God sees them placing themselves under the wing of HIS servant and priest and king Messiah.
- Not even the Jews of that day would have admitted that their LORD Jehovah was now and for sometime previous hidden from them. There had not been a great prophet sent them in over three hundred years. There had not been a king from the lineage of David for sometime. The Holy Spirit had ceased abiding in the Temple. They had been tossed around from captor to captor, not anything at all resembling the double measure blessing promised them in the covenant of Moses should they obey the commandments or turn back from their disobedience. That generation would be the last to admit the Godless state that they were in because they had all the trapping of religion but, without now the essential presence of God. Of this generation here today the very same thing could be said but, not admitted too as well.
kjv@Psalms:22:25 "My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him"
- Wouldn't it be something to hear the voice of Messiah and see Him as written here in the midst of the great congregation praising His Father Jehovah, rehearsing all that He has seen and done and been through, what it all means to Him and to mankind? Not praising Himself mind you, "My praise shall be of thee".
- Likewise, wouldn't be something to hear what it is Messiah would be vowing to pay (what we can only imagine) for the remainder of eternity? Wouldn't it be something to be one of number of them that He alludes to as being there before Him, because of all that Jehovah through Messiah has revealed about man and declared about HIMSELF and has brought to come to pass, for you and I together to join along with Messiah in the worship of Jehovah, from a heart now sprinkled clean of sin, regenerated with entirely new purpose and insight, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, being of true fear, true reverence, conformed now to the image of HIS beloved Son? Wouldn't it?
- Apparently this isn't something that the majority of Jews and Gentiles would want to experience and be part of. No, they all have other plans. Like the parable Jesus told of a rich son's wedding whom the rich father sent out banquet invitations to all the desired guests. They were all too busy. They had other plans and engagements to attend to. Well, why should they attend? They barely believe that the rich man's son even exits or that he has any significance to them.
kjv@Psalms:22:26 "The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever".
- Who is it that is meek if it is not the man or women that gives themselves wholly over to a their bonafide Savior (body soul and purpose) (one who has by the way suffered for them in their own stead and by their own doings)? Is it the man who puffs himself up with the law thinking himself strong enough to have nearly attained it? Is it the woman who thinks salvation owed to her because of who she is, what she's been through, the acts of kindness and charity she occasionally did? Is it the physician who carved the cancer out of a mother's breast? Is it the scientist that split the atom? Or the President who kept us from war across the world on hostile foreign shores? Good work, good people, good intentions, for the most part good results? Satisfying? Not for long, not enough, not for everybody. One could do those things without ever having to seek the LORD let alone ever praise HIM. Is it meekness then that is over rated or is it all these other things that we insist we are capable of with or without God's assistance that are incapable of bring to us a lasting satisfaction?
- What does any of this have to do with the Psalms:22 Obedient/Suffering/Revealing Servant? What does any of this have to do with the mob dynamic we took on the task to consider at Christ's Crucifixion?
- Let me put it to you this way: why is it we do not want to see what Christ Jesus has revealed about us? Why is it we would rather see things about ourselves the way we have always seen them and not in a way miraculously different? Why is it we do not want to have Him do anything about it? Why is what He is calling love offensive to us? Questions like this can go on and on and on. The answer at least in part is that we fear what other people might think of us if we switched and sided with Him. Yes there are some personal sin issues that we individually are quite attached to; I am not sure though that those are the primary obstacle.
- I am not saying that any of us are "bad people". Jesus gave His own life in order to help us; we can't be all that bad, ey?
- There's also the part of us that doesn't want to hand over any of self willed authority (it seems that there is so very little of it to be had that we want to keep as much of it as we have). Now that's a different issue that we'll have to consider real soon as well.
- For now the thing for us to take from this is that along with what the suffering of Christ reveals about our darker nature there is that which the suffering of Christ declares to us about who Jehovah really is, not merely a God of law and tradition and ritual and good intentions but, a God of real restorative life changing power and mercy, a God not hiding and not hidden from, A God who our Messiah trusts whole heartedly enough to have obediently suffered for.
- The remaining verses of 22: will help me summarize the entire psalm context in the light of Messiah - Suffering Servant.
kjv@Psalms:22:27 @ All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
- This remembrance/worship is quite the contrast to the way things were before Messiah, remember
kjv@Psalms:2:1-3 "Why do the heathen (nations) rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us".
- What is it that has brought about this change of heart? Well it is the work of Messiah HIS Anointed, in good part the role of suffering servant.
- Not everyone of every nation will be part of this remembrance, turning and worship but, there will be a sizable identifiable number of people from each kindred, enough that it can correctly be said that "all the kindreds of the nations" will be represented. People generally react to the idea of suffering servant one of two ways: they are touched that this suffering was performed in obedience to God the Father for man and woman's ultimate good or they are all the more angry and vain plotting. It is what has been revealed about our fallen nature by His suffering that we either accept or reject. It is the person of this revealing Messiah we either acknowledge and turn to worship or His person we continue to disrespect and refuse to honor.
- Note: By expressing this in terms of nations and kindreds, we are once again confronted with the concept of their being group identities and motivations and driving forces, mass or mob identities, some the size of nations and united nations. Even those attuned to the person of Messiah are often identified as a group "kingdom" made up from portions of each one of these kindred and national groups.
kjv@Psalms:22:28 @ For the kingdom is the LORDS: and he is the governor among the nations.
- Again this does not mean that Christ is king over the world yet; at least not as they are willing to see it. Christ never has not been King of this world in one very real sense, man has simply turned over the role of governor to another, however, the decision is not man's to make only Jehovah's, that is what puts man in direct rebellion.
- So what would it take to win rebellious man's loyalty back? You will remember that Satan attempted to tempt Jesus by offering this power to Him if He would only place Himself under Satan. Jesus refused. So it is obvious that this type of power grab is not what Jesus is about. Loyalty and governance does not mean anything if loyalty is placed in the wrong thing and governance is subservient to what is spiritually wrong. So if this is not such a power grab what is it then?
- The key to understanding this might be indicated by the word kingdom: "the kingdom is the LORDS". This is not just talking about the kingdom of Israel, it is talking about the much bigger Kingdom of Heaven as presently consisted and the developing Kingdom of God amongst man (that which will become the Eternal Kingdom), the possession of which is Jehovah's. The power play is not for Christ to grab the power, it is to restore man's loyalty back to Jehovah.
- Therefore, we see Christ's earthly effort as suffering Messiah as an effort to reveal to man that their loyalties are not currently with Jehovah (not even those that claim that they are, not even those who identify themselves within a group or subgroup that claims it does). His suffering revels that even within the Law there are places for the disloyal to hide themselves and build a nest in (assume a kindred/nation like power). Not leaving it just at that, the suffering servant also declares a truer knowledge of Jehovah by the manifestation of Jehovah keeping HIS Messiah, Jehovah delivering Him in the end, Jehovah through all of this and confirming all that HIS Messiah had said and done as an obedience made by Messiah unto HIM - Jehovah.
kjv@Psalms:22:29 @ All they that be fat (fertile) upon earth shall eat and worship (prostrate): all they that go down to the dust shall bow (bend knee) before_him (plural faces): and none can keep (revive) alive his own soul.
- It shall be to Jehovah that these kindred from every nation turn to. Perhaps for the first time like no other time they will worship and bow in true fashion (as conformed to the image of the Son) to Jehovah. Not because of the power grab mind you (there is no reason for Jehovah to grab/seal away what is already HIS). In context with other scripture they prostrate and bow because they "hear His voice" (Messiah), they "know His voice", they "follow His voice" (like a shepherd over the sheep of His flock), because they have been "given" Him, because they have been "chosen", they have been "called" out, they have "received", they are not of this world just as He was not, they have been "adopted", instead of them trying to keep alive their own rebellious soul they have been revived because of Him, quickened by Him anew.
kjv@Psalms:22:30 @ A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
- Let's ask ourselves this: these men and women that have been quickened and are gathered to bow and prostrate, are they there because they are smarter than most? that they have somehow figured all of this out enough to give their intellectual consent? that they were more honest or sincere or desirous? less sinful? Nah, that would be us giving ourselves far too much credit. No, I rather think that this is all about Christ's effect upon us. The seed is not our understanding nor our free choice, the seed is His doing that has been planted that is causing our understanding and free choice. Many before the time of Christ had chosen to serve Jehovah but, they had chosen to serve HIM in the various ways that they saw comfortable and fit. We see by Christ's suffering that what little we were then capable of making out of OT religion that none of it was up to the standards that God better saw fit.
- A seed is planted, it sprouts and takes root, it grows and then blossoms. Just as a man cannot keep alive his own soul, he cannot plant/sprout/grow his own seed (not spiritually). This is Christ Jesus, through means of incarnation/death/resurrection/ascension, the power of Jehovah working through Him that brings all of this about. This is the Holy Spirit who because of Christ's doing is now sent to us as both guide and reprover and comforter. This all is much more than either you or I. This is a new time, a new age, a new beginning sprouted out from the old but caused upon by the gracious/merciful doings of Jehovah by these very means. This is to be stood up for and declared and celebrated!
kjv@Psalms:22:31 @ They (His seed) shall come (go/come/abide/attain), and shall declare (to front/stand boldly out opposite) his (Jehovah/Messiah now one) righteousness unto a people that shall be born (bear/beget/midwife), that he (Jehovah/Messiah now one) hath done this.
- We see the importance now given that first seed after Christ: His Apostles. The physical ministry of Christ on earth is a one time shot. He is not performing this suffering servant righteousness multiple times upon earth, multiple generations, multiple sufferings. These times following are all accounted as one all encompassing generation. Christ suffered once and for all. Christ died once and for all. Christ has risen once and for all. In one shot He has revealed the hearts of all mankind, revealed the heart of Jehovah to all of mankind, brought about the spiritual regeneration and healing placed upon both His seed (the Apostles) which in turn has brought about those that have carried it forward "that shall be born" (now including us).
- In the context of everything presented in Psalm 22, perhaps the key concept for us to help us understand this obedient suffering servant role of Messiah comes down to this phrase :31 "his righteousness". We won't go to far into this righteousness because we have several psalms ahead that will can isolate on righteousness more fully. But, for this present discussion it might be best to think of this righteousness simply as what makes us right with God. What is it ultimately that will make us right with God? There are three primary schools of thought:
- 1. Self Righteousness - Either the inherent self worth or achieved self worth of a person makes them right with God.
- 2. Righteousness by the Law - Compliance to the written/oral law makes a person right with God.
- 3. Righteousness by Imputation - As opposed to any form of righteousness we could offer up ourselves, it is rather Christ's own righteousness alone that covers or is imputed on a person that ultimately makes a person right with God.
- Let's break each of these schools down and contrast them in light of Jesus the obedient suffering servant:
- 1. Self Righteousness (inherent or achieved value as determined by self makes own right with God). This is perhaps the weakest of the three schools of thought. Judged by the suffering Christ had to suffer, there was not a single self righteous person there at His aid, not even His own disciples. It is obvious by just daily occurrences that self righteousness barely makes us right with one another let alone right with God. Because of the obvious inconsistencies of self righteousness most men are willing to submit themselves in principal to the idea of righteousness by Law, at least righteousness by a common morality.
- 2. Righteousness by the Law (compliance to the written/oral law makes a person right with God). Judged in the light of Christ the suffering servant it is obvious that the Law is a very difficult thing for unregenerate mankind to keep. Shortly after Moses had been given the Law scholars who knew the Law began seeing difficulties with the Law, difficulties keeping the Law, difficulties interpreting the Law, difficulties enforcing the Law; the unregenerate heart of men became weary under the Law, they did not feel as if they were being made right with God because they were always being accused by the Law. They attempted to explain the Law with the idea that the Law was too big for any one person to correctly interpret, so they began viewing it from multiple points of view (think of it as a onion with multiple layers to peel back). This method of interpretation is what evolved into the great oral traditions. Even by oral tradition men wearied under the Law, the Law and oral tradition was often put aside and forgotten. As I understand it the Pharisees were a reformational movement yearning to go back to the Law and earlier interpretations. By the time Christ finally appeared both the Pharisees and the more liberal Sadducees were revealed to be polar opposites to Christ; they became the primary driving force for Christ's execution. God gives man Law, man takes the Law and makes it something of his own, man by Law puts Christ to death essentially for shooting holes in what the Law tainted by man had come to mean.
- 3. Righteousness by Imputation. This school states that man can only be right with God if God HIMSELF reaches into the person's heart and makes him/her to be. In order to do this God regenerates the man's soul and at the same time covers him in a robe of HIS Son's perfect righteousness by imputation. Man is not owed this, man cannot earn this, man cannot do any of this by himself; it is only by God's mercy and only by HIS grace and the effectual power of HIS Holy Spirit. Best chance states that the carnal unregenerate man is not going to be of any initial assistance in his own being made right and will likely resist this divine effort like a feral cat. In other words a person is right with God when God makes him right. Then and only then can the Law be of any positive effect because then and only then is the Law working upon the regenerate (spiritually quickened soul), then and only then God has written HIS Law upon man's living heart. Fulfillment of the Law in essence is fulfilled in the person of Christ and the righteousness of that is imputed upon his following seed. Judged in the light of the suffering servant this school of thought stands on the strongest legs.
- It is very important for us that have been born from this Christ planted seed to declare Christ to declare this seed "His righteousness" correctly. If you or I are ever to be found right with God it will be by Christ's doing alone, our righteousness (what little we might have) will always be but filthy rags compared to His. I cannot in good conscience go to the throne of God with my piddley amount of self righteousness and good works and say to HIM "here God, here is what I will offer in my defense making me deserving of being made right with you". Unless my righteousness exceeds the righteousness of those Pharisees (the words of Jesus so aptly tell me) I will in no way see the Kingdom of God. But so often what I am declaring in my daily life to others is my own self righteousness. So often what others are hearing from me is the "thou shall not" and the "I am more religious than you" and the "oh if you only believed as much as I do" and the "why don't you believe, it makes so much sense to me" declarations of self righteousness. What we should be declaring is the "look this is what Christ has done" "this is how much He suffered" "this is what His suffering reveals about us" "this is what His time on earth/death/resurrection reveals about our Father" "this is His righteousness, how it covers us, how it revives us, how it influences us, how it transforms us; even to me the lowliest of sinners" "this is why I rejoice, why I hope, why I try to do the few little things that I can, why I bow, why I worship" "this is Him, this is God the Father's only begotten Son, this is the promised one, this is the anointed one". This is the delcaration I need to make of my Lord Jesus!
- The suffering obedience of Christ described here in Palm:22 was not without purpose for in the light of His obedience the hearts of all mankind past present and future have been fully/uncomfortably exposed in the dark contrast of what suffering we have intended for Him to be put through; each of us in our own but similar ways, all of us also in ways that can only be described in terms of group or mob mentality. To deny Christ His due influence and lordship in our lives at any moment or any second is to oppose His person, to scorn His person, to reject His person as did that particular generation that physically imposed this evil upon Him. Worse than that generation is the fact that this present generation now knows what His one time suffering has proved to mean to our eternal salvation and remedy and yet we still go about to do deny and reject His person and influence (most people without a second thought).
- Messiah is described for us as having several irreducible roles, king, priest, shepherd, victor etc..., this role of suffering servant in terms of revealing light and initial purpose may be one of the most important for us to get an immediate grasp of. And we have David in good part with his Psalm:22 to thank for helping us understand what the suffering received by Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior now that it has happened actually means.
Psalms 22:25 kjv