“He Has Done It!” Psalm 22:1-31
A Sermon for Good Friday, April 7, 2023
This is a synopsis, or quick review, of the sermon for Good Friday, April 7, 2023. I am only hitting the highlights of the message, not reproducing the entire sermon.
Psalm 22 begins, “Eloi, Eloi, Lema sabachthani?” “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” A thousand years before Christ died on the cross, the Prophet-King David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned this description of Jesus on the cross and the final ultimate outcome, “for dominion belongs to the LORD and He rules all nations” (vs 28) and “He has done it!” (vs 31b).
We often reflect on the physical pain of Christ on the Cross. The whippings, the indignity of being marched naked before the crowd, the pain of the thorny crown, the pain of crucifixion, even the sorrow in the garden of Gethsemane. But tonight let’s look, as David does, a step further and reflect upon the “Spiritual” and “Psychological” pain of the hours of suffering. I am not saying these physical pains were incidental, or unreal. But for the first time in all eternity, yea the only time in all eternity, He felt separation from the Father. Thus, He cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!”
Yes, God was there, and was hearing Christ, but the pain was so great that Christ seemed to feel, “God was not there!” I confess, sometimes I have felt that too. While I intellectually know He is present, the circumstances of life, or pains of any and all kinds seem to drown out the “still small voice” of His presence. The Father was there all along. See verse 24.
In verses 3-5, we see that God had delivered His people in the past. But now the Father would not, nor could He, deliver His Son. In Matthew’s account of the crucifixion (Matt 27:42), the Chief Priests at the cross jeer and call out, “He saved others, Himself He could not save.” This is actually a true statement. If He saved Himself, or had the Father intervened to save Him, Christ could not have provided the sin-offering needed to buy the redemption of all who would believe. [An aside -- two verses after the High Priests cry out their criticism, Christ replies by quoting Psalm 22:1 (see Matt 27:45-46).]
Verses 6-18 not only describe the pain of Christ, but also they describe “crucifixion” hundreds of years before it was “invented” by the Persians, who used it only on their most evil enemies who committed treason against their empire. The Romans made it their premiere weapon against all opposition to Roman rule.
The piercing of His hands and feet (vs 16b), His bones out of place and displayed for all to see (vs 14 & 17), dryness of throat and melting of heart (vs 14b-15) are all characteristic of the means of death.
See too, the references to His assailants: mad charging bulls, hungry lions, angry dogs. And don’t forget the pain his body is feeling, “I am a worm,” despised by all (vs 6), poured our and dry (vs 14), heart melting away (vs 15), dryness of mouth (vs 15). And even the gambling over His garments is mentioned (vs 18).
But Christ recalls in verses 9-10, that He was born for this purpose. Trusting God for all, good or bad from birth on.
But we also see in verse 19 the word “but!” The subject of Psalm 22 changes from the “Anguished Messiah” to the “Triumphant Messiah.” In verse 24 we see where God the Father was in this episode of cruelty. The Father was not absent or ignoring Christ’s pain. He was there alongside Christ all the time and comprehending all the pain.
Verses 19-21 is another prayer for deliverance. Then in verses 22-24, the “crier” of the first half of the Psalm, becomes the “praiser” of the second half of the Psalm. He is declaring God’s goodness to the congregation (assembly of believers) while providing a “praise feast.” This was a common event in both the OT and NT. The praise feast was a celebration of completing a “vow,” made by the believer to God, resulting in some victory (see verse 25). All the faithful are encouraged to come and dine. Even the poor (hungry due to lack of resources) will eat and be satisfied (vs 25-26).
Verses 27-31 further explain who will hear the message of Christ’s offering. First, in verses 27-28, the ends of the whole earth shall be joyful over the news of deliverance. Secondly, in verses 29-31, this good news is not just for all the world, but for all ages to come. Future generations will tell the story to “a people not yet born” (vs 31). What is that message? “He has done it!” Just as Christ shouted from the cross “It is finished!” (John 17:4) salvation was now provided for all people of all ages of time, because “He Did It!!”
Tonight we remember the somber ordeals that Jesus Christ suffered to gain our salvation. We owe Him more than we can ever repay. Sunday we will celebrate His victorious resurrection, where He demonstrates, once and for all, to the world, to Satan, and to His faithful that His work of redemption is final and sure for all His faithful.
It's Friday, Sunday is coming!
CH Jim Odell