Sunday, September 9, 2018
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 22
Scratching the Surface of the Psalms
What’s deep in the well comes up in the bucket.
Let’s put it another way.
Tough times don’t build character.
Tough times reveal character.
That’s especially true for folks knocking on heaven’s door.
People tend to say what they really mean when they don’t have much time left to say it.
It’s very, very, very sad to see people who do not believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior in their last breaths filled with inconsolable fear about what happens the first nano-second after the last inhale and exhale.
While only God judges in the end, some folks look and talk and act so desperately; betraying no calm or confidence or certainty in eternal life.
They remind me of Elizabeth I: “All of my possessions for one more moment of time.”
Conversely, people who know they are destined to paradise by grace through faith in Jesus are as unafraid of that last breath as President Andrew Jackson who said just before traveling home, “Please don’t cry for me or yourselves, dear children, for we will all meet in heaven.”
Or as my grandfather Hayden assured not long before his journey back to Jesus when I said I would fly home to be with him in his last days, “That’s not necessary. When I die, you will come and preside at the service; and then I’ll see you later.”
Jesus, of course, is the perfect model of seeing through the cross of existential death to the crown of eternal life.
After betrayal and torture, he was nailed to a cross and hung out to die.
Traditionally based on Holy Scripture, we often refer to His seven last words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise…Woman, behold your son! Behold your mother!…I thirst…Father, I commit My spirit into Your hands…It is finished.”
Those six words speak of His unconditional love and forgiveness, eternal salvation, reunion, and triumph.
There is, however, one word that is so often so misinterpreted so grossly: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
It sounds like Jesus felt abandoned on the cross.
It sounds like the last yelps of infidelity and uncertainty and resignation to becoming nothing more than worm food after the last breath.
Pero, in fact, Jesus was reciting Psalm 22 that is one of the greatest witnesses to crossing over from suffering to triumph.
The psalm acknowledges existential pain as the preface to heavenly gain that Jesus described as paradise.
Psalm 22 is often referred to as a messianic prophecy because it forecasted the betrayal, torturing, suffering, and crucifixion of Jesus.
David predicted the suffering of Jesus: “Everyone who sees Me mocks Me…They sneer…Bulls surround Me…mauling and roaring…I am poured out like water…My bones are disjointed…My strength is dried up…They pierced My hands and feet…”
Psalm 22, however, ends in victory not defeat: “I will proclaim Your name…I will praise You…You hear our cries…You do not hide Your face from us…You satisfy…You take care of those who seek You…You rule…You are righteous and save…”
Just as David prayed this as a witness to the crossing over from suffering to salvation for all believers sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end, every Biblically literate person who heard Jesus utter these words from the cross knew He was acknowledging pain and rejoicing in the paradise that is the ultimate destination of the faithful.
That’s the end game.
Stick with Jesus in time and be saved for all time.
In short, Jesus saves.
I believe Jesus repeated Psalm 22 because it is so true to life and eternity.
He acknowledged that we will suffer.
There’s no way of getting around that.
That’s the bad news.
Pero nota bene!
We cross over from temporary pain to everlasting gain by grace through faith in Jesus.
That’s/He’s the gospel.
David guaranteed crossing over in Psalm 22 for the Messiah and anyone trusting Him in time and forever.
The agony of the first half of the psalm is but a temporary transition to the ecstasy of the second half.
Jesus enfleshed crossing over; and promised, in effect, “Anyone who stays with Me through the crosses of life will be with Me in the pure and perfect place of personal peace where there is no more pain or suffering or tears or anything less than My best forever!”
Let me be really personal.
Not too long ago, I looked deeply into the eyes of a woman who had many disappointments in life. She had only hours left in time. As she renewed her relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior, inviting Him again into her heart, she became so soft, warm, certain, confident, peaceful, and
It happens whenever we travel with Jesus through time to eternity.
We feel/are delivered from suffering to salvation.
Do you feel/have that assurance?
If so, praise God!
If not, go to the table of Holy Communion, invite Him into your heart as personal Lord and Savior for the first or second or third or…time and know as you experience the pleasures of John 3:16-17.
Look it up.
Look Him up.
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!