PSALM 22 (The Fourth Cup & Lamb of God)
Now at 3 o’clock Jesus cries out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Those words, out of my ignorance, most of my life I didn’t know what they meant. Someone once told me that was the human part of Jesus crying out, and they didn’t really have a good explanation for this. I was very confused. I wanted to share this with you because it help clear things up for me. I found this also referenced in the footnotes of my Bible. It’s a reference back to Psalm 22. This explains why Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” We need to understand that Jesus was pointing to a passage in Psalms. We call it Psalm 22. They didn’t have them numbered back then, but the Jews knew many of the Psalms. They were taught the Psalms. They knew this particular Psalm along with many many other ones. Do you know any Psalms from memory? When I was a child I was taught, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall now want.” Yeah I remember that one, but there’s a lot of Psalms that people learn. Back then they didn’t have paper and pencil so they could write them down and memorize them. They were orally taught. These Psalms were written hundreds and hundreds of years before Christ. One Psalm, Psalm 22, is written by David. And the name of this Psalm is, “The Prayer for an Innocent Person.” This Psalm begins, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 22:2) The word abandon and forsaken are derived from the same word and translated from the same origin. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” That’s the beginning of Psalm 22. I’m not going to read the entire Psalm; I want you to do this on your own. Make a special note right here to remember to go back, flip through your Bible, find Psalm 22, and read it, because Jesus is pointing to this Psalm. The Psalm begins with a cry of desolation, and you will see when you read this that it gives a very accurate description of the crucifixion. It says things like, “So wasted are my hands and feet that I can count all my bones.” (Psalm 22:17-18) “They divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.” (Psalm 22:19) “A pack of evildoers closes in on me.” (Psalm 22:17) It goes into a description of a crucifixion, and it ends with the word of the deliverance of the Messiah being carried to the ends of the world, to people not yet born and to generations to come. Now what is Jesus saying? He’s saying that this Psalm, this prophecy, has just been fulfilled. Jesus does not need to finish the entire Psalm. The Jews that were listening were taught many Psalms, and this was one that they would have been very familiar with. So when Jesus began the words of this Psalm, they immediately knew what He meant. I would like to borrow an example that Dr. Scott Hahn uses to hammer down this point. I cannot imagine explaining this in a clearer way. What if a group of anti-American terrorists came into this room right now, and they sat me in the corner, and they wanted me to denounce my American patriotism? And I would not denounce this patriotism so they would beat me and torture me. And they sat me up and they said ok, we’re going to get a live television camera. We’re going to hand you a microphone. We’re going to ask you to say your last words. If you do not say what we want you to say, you’re going die. And I look up holding the microphone, and the camera is on, and these terrorists say do you have any last words? And I say, “I pledge allegiance to the flag.” Do I need to finish the Pledge? No. Every American watching knows the Pledge, and they know the words of the Pledge. I don’t need to finish it. Well the Jews that were standing around the cross - they knew the Psalms. When Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” They said, <gasp> the prophecy has been fulfilled. They’ve been waiting for this. They knew it. They were waiting for it, and recognized it.
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