Psalm 22 contains at least eleven prophecies concerning the Messiah. We aren’t going to look at all of them, but we are going to get into several. Let’s start today with Verses 7-8: “Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: ‘He relies on the Lord; let him rescue him; let the Lord deliver him, since he takes pleasure in him” (HCSB).
It’s not very hard to recognize this one, is it? In Luke 23:11 we read: “Then Herod, with his soldiers, treated Him with contempt, mocked Him, dressed Him in a brilliant robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.”
Of course, we know that that was only a tiny portion of the humiliation and suffering Christ endured in our place. Luke 23 continues the account: “The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine and said, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!’ An inscription was above Him: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’ Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!” (Verses 35-39).
When we compare Psalm 22 with Luke 23, we again see clear proof that nothing takes the Lord by surprise. He knew what He was going to suffer before He ever came to be born of a virgin. He knew how He would be humiliated, and yet what do we find Him doing in this very same passage? Forgiving. As the one thief hurled “insults at Him,” the other turned to Him for salvation: “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (Verse 42).
And what was Jesus’ reply? “ I assure you: today you will be with Me in paradise.”
“I assure you.” These are words translated in the KJV as “verily,” but we need to understand that the actual wording was a phrase only Jesus used about His promises. He wanted this forgiven criminal to know, and He wants us to know, that His words can be trusted. Literally, it’s “Amen, I say to you.”
Know the song “Blessed Assurance?” This is what it’s all about – the total trustworthiness of the words of the Savior. What has He promised you? Whatever it is, believe it as though it’s already come to pass, because your Messiah is able to do it!
And what about forgiveness? Look at Jesus’ situation as He talked to the thief on the cross. He was bruised, beaten, and totally naked. Unlike the modest and respectful paintings we see of the crucifixion, there was nothing to cover the Savior’s body – He was totally exposed and totally humiliated. And in agony.
Yet His thoughts were not on Himself. Insults hurling all around Him, pain shooting through every portion of His body, His focus was on others.
When we’re in pain, when we’re hurt or humiliated, where is our focus? If you’re like most of us, it’s not on others; and it certainly isn’t on Jesus. It’s on “poor, poor, pitiful ME.”
Hmmmm. Sure are a lot of lessons we can take from this passage. How about forgiveness? Could you stand a little improvement in that area? If you want to be like Jesus, if I want to be like Jesus, we’ve got to keep our minds off our own troubles and focus on ministering to others.