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The Forsaken and the Forgiven

The poignant, opening sentence in Psalm 22 reveals the disturbing fact of God’s servant crying out in God forsakenness.

How could one of the members of the Godhead turn His back on another member of the Trinity?

“God forsaken of God” was the price of our atonement. When Jesus Christ bore our sin on the cross He was forsaken of God the Father. He paid the full price for our atonement on the cross when He bore the penalty of the wrath of God against sin for us. This sacrificial act reveals how much God loves us.

Psalm 22 has been described as the “Psalm of the Cross” because it is the best description in the entire Bible of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The amazing thing is King David wrote it a thousand years before the event described actually took place in history. Moreover, execution by crucifixion was never practiced by the Jewish people and was unknown for centuries until developed by the Carthaginians and later refined by the Romans. David paints a prophetic picture of the anguish of the Suffering Servant of God to pay the penalty for our sins. Psalm 22 is entirely messianic and prophetic. David foresaw and spoke of the suffering of the Anointed of God.

No event in the life of David accounts for the terrible events in this Psalm. It defies a naturalistic explanation.

The words of the poet are fulfilled literally and exactly in the execution of Jesus Christ. The desolate God forsaken cry (v. 1; cf. Matt. 27:46); the contrasting periods of light and darkness (v. 2; Matt. 27:45); the extreme humiliation and treatment of the sufferer (vv. 6-8, 12-13; Matt. 27:39-44) and the casting of lots for His garments (v. 18; Matt. 27:35) are some of the greatest evidences for divine inspiration of all the Scriptures including this Psalm.

What was Jesus thinking about while He hung on the cross during the terrible three hours of God forsakenness? The Gospel writers Matthew and Mark inform us He suddenly cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” It was a direct quotation of Psalm 22:1. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mk. 15:34).

“My God, my God” is the translation of Eli, Eli “my Strong One,” “my Strong One.” It is He who turns His face from the suffering one (vv. 2-3).

Why is it that our ancient fathers trusted in Elohay, the One to be feared by men, and He always answered them, but even though His Servant cries “by day,” the response is, “You do not answer; and by night, I have no answer” (v. 2)? They “trusted,” “cried out,” were “determined” and “not ashamed” (v. 4). God has turned His back on Him and has forsaken Him.

Jesus was apparently reflecting on great Old Testament Scriptures as He hung dying as our sacrifice. He saw His crucifying as a fulfillment of the Scriptures. These prophecies gave Him encouragement and focus as He died to purchase our atonement.

Psalm 22 opens with the awful sense of God forsakenness that took place during the three hours of darkness at Calvary. The one crying out in God forsakenness feels completely enshrouded by the wrath of God.

The answer to the question, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is found in the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:21. “He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Have you experienced perfect forgiveness from the One who was God-forsaken?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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