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Psalm 22 Sermon From July 2013 Prayer Service "David and the Crucified"

Psalm 22 Sermon From July 2013 Prayer Service "David and the Crucified"

Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Wednesday July3rd 2013: Season of Pentecost, Psalm 22.

          My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

                        Why are You so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

            O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer,

                        and by night, but I find no rest.

            Yet You are holy,

                        enthroned on the praises of Israel.

            In You our fathers trusted;

                        they trusted, and You delivered them.

            To You they cried and were rescued;

                        in You they trusted and were not put to shame.

            But I am a worm and not a man,

                        scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

            All who see me mock me;

                        they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

            “He trusts in the LORD; let Him deliver him;

                        let Him rescue him, for he delights in Him!”

            Yet You are He who took me from the womb;

                        You made me trust You at my mother's breasts.

            On You was I cast from my birth,

                        and from my mother's womb You have been my God.

            Be not far from me,

                        for trouble is near,

                        and there is none to help.

            Many bulls encompass me;

                        strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

            they open wide their mouths at me,

                        like a ravening and roaring lion.

            I am poured out like water,

                        and all my bones are out of joint;

            my heart is like wax;

                        it is melted within my breast;

            my strength is dried up like a potsherd,

                        and my tongue sticks to my jaws;

                        you lay me in the dust of death.

            For dogs encompass me;

                        a company of evildoers encircles me;

            they have pierced my hands and feet—

            I can count all my bones—

            they stare and gloat over me;

            they divide my garments among them,

                        and for my clothing they cast lots.

            But You, O LORD, do not be far off!

                        O You my help, come quickly to my aid!

            Deliver my soul from the sword,

                        my precious life from the power of the dog!

                        Save me from the mouth of the lion!

            You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

            I will tell of Your name to my brothers;

                        in the midst of the congregation I will praise You:

            You who fear the LORD, praise Him!

                        All you offspring of Jacob, glorify Him,

                        and stand in awe of Him, all you offspring of Israel!

            For He has not despised or abhorred

                        the affliction of the afflicted,

            and He has not hidden His face from him,

                        but has heard, when he cried to Him.

            From You comes my praise in the great congregation;

                        my vows I will perform before those who fear Him.

            The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;

                        those who seek Him shall praise the LORD!

                        May your hearts live forever!

            All the ends of the earth shall remember

                        and turn to the LORD,

            and all the families of the nations

                        shall worship before You.

            For kingship belongs to the LORD,

                        and He rules over the nations.

            All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;

                        before Him shall bow all who go down to the dust,

                        even the one who could not keep himself alive.

            Posterity shall serve Him;

                        it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;

            they shall come and proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn,

                        that He has done it.

(Psalm 22 ESV)

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.

Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. In Psalm 3 David calls out, “Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God!”[1] In Psalm 10 King David seeks out justice as he prays “Break the arm of the wicked ... call his wickedness to account.”[2] How does God save? How does God call wickedness to account? God provides immediate help in David’s day but this is not the full measure of the Salvation of the LORD! God has a unique answer to David’s prayers: The promised Messiah,[3]and at the cross this Messiah provides the everlasting victory; it is at the cross that the LORD breaks the arm of the enemy and completely saves King David.

Over and over David points to the crucifixion. In Psalm 16 David shares his personal prayer of trust in the face of death, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot.”[4] In this prayer David points forward to the prayer prayed by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as the cross looms near, Jesus prays “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”[5] “Because Christ humbled Himself and drank from the cup of suffering [at the cross], He is now exalted as Savior and Lord and now drinks the cup of eternal pleasure and joy,”[6] In Jesus, David has his salvation: in Jesus, you have your salvation.

King David often seeks salvation from the LORD and receives it, each time the salvation he receives points to this ultimate Salvation, a Salvation that is more than a temporary fix in a time of trouble, more than the momentary answer to prayer, but an eternal fix for all time and for the time beyond time, for eternity. Here in Psalm 22 we see by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the window King David was given into the future death and resurrection of the Messiah, the Saviour: Jesus. The window into that ultimate Salvation and all that was to follow it. In this Psalm David stands at the foot of the cross; a witnesses to the crucifixion: David stands in the upper room with the disciples; a witness to the resurrection appearances of Jesus: In this Psalm David stands with a view of History; a witness to the unfolding flower of the church, the bride of Christ Jesus. David is a witness to the completion of the saving work of God on the last day, on the day of resurrection, the joy of eternity with the LORD. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Psalm 22 is equal in quality with the inspiration that takes the Apostle John by the hand as John records the book of Revelation. It is the same kind of window into the inner workings of Salvation History and the life of the church.

Now David was truly mighty in battle and skilled at hand to hand combat,[7] yet he was powerless to save himself from his sin,[8] and even in the numerous physical contests he faced it was God who persevered him in body and soul in the face of death and destruction.[9] You might say that David knew which side his bread was buttered on, he knew his salvation came from the LORD only and from no one else. Do you know this? Do you trust it? Or do you seek to save yourself? Do you look to God to be saved as David so often did, or do you seek to save yourself from your troubles? Where do you seek out your salvation? Maybe you ascribe to the axiom “God helps those who help themselves” that little saying popularized by Benjamin Franklin and so often misquoted as coming from the Bible. Is this you? If at first you don’t succeed, then and only then pray to God for help! Is this you? Where would David be if this were true and where would you be if your salvation depended on your success? Not just success in some things but success in all things in everything. Psalm 22 shows whose work saves, whose obedience shines and counts for righteousness (It is not my obedience, for I am not perfectly obedient and it is not yours either), salvation shines forth from the cross from the one who trusted not in Himself but in His Father into whose hands He commended His spirit at the time of death.[10]  

No other Psalm is quoted as much in the new testament as Psalm 22,[11] for it is at the heart of God’s love for you,[12] and it begins with Jesus nailed to the cross calling out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”[13] David writes “I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see Me mock Me; they make mouths at Me; they wag their heads; He trusts in the LORD; let [the LORD] deliver Him; let [the LORD] rescue Him, for He delights in Him!” in Matthew’s Gospel we hear how, “those who passed by derided [Jesus], wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked [Jesus], saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”[14]     

Psalm 22 has the Saviour pinned to the cross His hands and feet pierced, His mockers circling Him like a pack of dogs, while He thinks back upon the incarnation, upon His birth and infancy at His mother Mary’s breast, thinking on how He had always trust His heavenly Father, “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted,”[15] Jesus tenderly prays, still perfectly trusting God the Father saying, “Be not far from Me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.”

Where I am not obedient, where you and I fold like a cheap suit, Jesus is perfectly obedient, always trusting God the Father: Jesus is “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”[16] Their hanging from the cursed tree, having been made a curse in your place[17] He doesn’t raise a finger against those who aim to kill Him, the Apostle John tells us in his Gospel that “when the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also His tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture [in Psalm 22 which says],

          “They divided my garments among them,

                   and for my clothing they cast lots.”[18]

King David tells of the Saviour’s prayer in that hour as Jesus prays to the Father saying, “O LORD, do not be far off! O You My help, come quickly to My aid! Deliver My soul from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog! Save Me from the mouth of the lion!”

This is where Psalm 22 shifts gears and moves into the resurrection. As Christians we know what happened after God the Father granted Nicodemus the Pharisee and Joseph of Arimathea the privilege of laying Jesus’ dead body “in the dust of death,” and rolled shut the stone over the tomb.[19] As Christians we know what happened, Psalm 22 moves past these details straight to what Jesus intends to accomplish after God the Father rescues Him from His trouble. The rescue of Jesus from His trouble comes not in the the form of a fiery chariot blazing down out of heaven with Elijah driving the steeds of flame as some expected or hoped to perhaps see![20] It happens instead away from the cross as Jesus Himself had predicted,[21] it happens for Jesus as it happened for Jonah but where Jonah was alive three days in the belly of the great fish,[22] Jesus was three days dead in the tomb, in the “heart of the earth,” and then on that first Easter Sunday morning God the Father raised Jesus from the dead[23] and answered His prayer for rescue and in that rescue you are saved, for Jesus’ resurrection is yours: Jesus’ “glorious body” is now your promised future body.[24]  

David was given this window into Salvation History by the power of the Holy Spirit and for this reason King David in Psalm 22 prayed and preached to the nations with these words.
Jesus promised to spread this Good News of Salvation accomplished at the cross and His resurrection and the promise of eternal life to the nations by the preaching of His Apostles and by the prayers and praise of the Church His bride. Jesus wished all the world to know that in Him the old Adam is dead and He, Jesus, the Christ now comes to claim them for His own: That the Father has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and He has not hidden His face from you, in Christ Jesus God the Father has heard your prayer, when you cried to Him. 

In His Resurrection, in His Ascension, in His Intersession at God the Father’s Right Hand Jesus intends that this answered prayer shall be told of to the coming generation; that they and all people shall come and proclaim the LORD’S righteousness to a people yet unborn, “that He has done it.”[25] “It is finished.”[26] “It is done!”[27]

The same one who was poured out like water at the cross, with His bones out of joint; Who’s heart was like wax melting within His chest; the crucified one whose strength was dried up like a busted up piece of pottery, whose tongue stuck to His jaws; stood before His disciples alive and glorious, invincible, eternal and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I Am with you always, to the end of the age.”[28]

David knew of no salvation apart from this One, His faith was in Christ Jesus the long expected Messiah, the Saviour, the God Who rises up and saves the forsaken and the afflicted both in body and in soul, the One who forgives. He has Saved David, He is your Salvation, He alone holds eternal death and life in His hands[29] and He loves you.[30] He loves you even in the depths of your trouble, even when you feel forsaken, even when your enemies have you cornered, when they hate you publicly. In these and in every hour of your life Jesus is where he promises to be, He is with you. He is your Salvation. Amen.        

Let us pray:

Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

[1] Psalm 3:7

[2] Psalm 10:15

[3] Genesis 3:15

[4] Psalm 16:5

[5] Matthew 26:39

[6] A Commentary on Psalms 1-72, Northwestern Publishing House 2004, John F. Burg, pg 227.

[7] 1 Samuel 18:7

[8] 2 Samuel 12

[9] 1 Samuel 17

[10] Luke 23:46 “Then [from the cross] Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit!” And having said this He breathed His last.”

[11] Burg, pg 273.

[12] John 3:16

[13] Matthew 27:47, Psalm 22:1

[14] Matthew 27:39-43

[15] Lutheran Service Book, Concordia Publishing House 2006, # 451.

[16] Philippians 2:8

[17] Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree””

[18] John 19:23-24

[19] Mark 15:42-46  “And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that He should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether He was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that [Jesus] was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking Him down, wrapped Him in the linen shroud and laid Him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”

[20] Matthew 27:46-50 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to Him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit.”

[21] Matthew 12:38-42 “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered [Jesus], saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.”

[22] Jonah 1:17

[23] Galatians 1:1

[24] Philippians 3:21

[25] Psalm 22:31

[26] John 19:30

[27] Revelation 21:6

[28] Matthew 28:18-20

[29] 1 Samuel 2:6

[30] 1 John 4:19