Everybody knows Psalm 23
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”
But many do not realise that Psalm 22-24 is a prophecy concerning Jesus’ suffering, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Psalm 22-24 is the Passion of the Christ.
“All who see me, mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads,” 22:7
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint,” 22:14
“They pierce my hands and my feet,” 22:16
“They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment,” 22:18
“Praise the Lord … for he has not hidden his face … but has listened to his cry for help,” 22:23-24
“The Lord is my Shepherd … he restores my soul,” 23:1-3
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me,” 23:4
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,” 24:3-4
“Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors – that the King of Glory may come in. Who is he, this King of Glory? The Lord Almighty, he is the King of glory!” 24:9-10
Jesus quoted these Psalms from the cross. When, you ask? When he said the words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” he was quoting Psalm 22:1.
Jesus was NOT saying that God in actual fact forsook him. He was saying: “All Jewish boys have memorised Psalm 22-24. Let it be etched on your hearts and minds, right now, as you watch me die.”
People have taken this one verse of the New Testament: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46), and have turned it into a sermon about how God-the-Father was forced to look away from God-the-Son on the cross because he was so disgusted by the sin of the world. I do not adhere to that interpretation. The Bible says that the double-minded man is unstable (James 1:8) and that a house divided against itself will not stand (Matt 12:25). God is not capable of dividing against himself. He does not suffer from personality disorder or double-mindedness. God-the-Father did not turn his face against God-the-Son.
This is why the Bible harps on about God being one (Deut 6:4, Mark 12:29). He is unified in love and cannot be divided against himself.
God did not forsake Jesus at the cross. The evidence is in Psalm 22:23-24
“You who fear the Lord, praise him … 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.”
In fact, in Hebrew writing, the climax of the story is generally recorded in the middle (as opposed to Western writing, where the climax often occurs just before the end of the story).
The climax of Psalm 22-24 is Psalm 22:19-31. I will pick it up from verse 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
For dominions belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations
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
Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord
They will proclaim his righteousness,
Declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it / It is finished!”