The Suffering Messiah Part 2 of 2
by John Lowe
What's more, verses 17-18 give a picture of the brutal beating at Pilate’s court and the casting of lots for His garments. The last desperate cry for help comes in verses 19-21. “But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.” Even though people have totally rejected Christ, God will not be far off.
The word darling is better translated “my only one.” The reference is to Jesus. When Jesus was baptized, God said, “This is my beloved Son…”
Verse 20 says, “Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.” Jesus is saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit…” (Luke 23:46).
Verse 21 makes one of the most remarkable statements, “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.” I recently uncovered some information about unicorns that was new to me, and I want to share it with you. I read this in a Bible commentary, written by my favorite Bible teacher. “For many years it was thought that the unicorn was a mythical animal, but recent investigation has revealed that it was an animal a size smaller than the elephant, very much like the rhinoceros, sometimes called a wild bull. Vicious and brutal, every one of them was a killer. And the thing that identified them was the fact that they had one horn. The verse said, “Thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns”—uni means one—one horn. To me, that is truly remarkable. Unicorns are mentioned nine times in the Old Testament.
So far we have seen a picture of Jesus forsaken by God, but now I want you to see Him—
Delivered by God
Notice the difference between the two halves of this Psalm. In the first half, the statements are short, like the gasps of a person in agony. But now they are longer, since the speaker is free and delivered from pain. All that is described in this part are the expressions of praise from God the Son to God the Father, and the praise of men for the Savior.
Verses 22-25 express praise to God from the Lord Jesus for His deliverance. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. The apparent passivity of God during the ordeal of the cross was only that, seeming passivity. He allowed Christ Jesus to bear the sins of mankind alone, but He never allowed Him to be alone.
Picture this with your mind’s eye. Now that the task of crucifixion and atonement is complete, the Lord Jesus bursts into a song of praise. He vows that He will declare the name of God to His brethren, who are those who believe.
The Savior is no longer on the cross, but is alive and in the midst of His people, leading them in praise for the mighty victory God has won. Along with Him, and the seed of Israel, we who are part of the great congregation of believers, praise the Lord.
day of the week is the memorial to His resurrection, and we follow His example by meeting with God’s people and praising the Lord on Sunday. Resurrection day is victory day!
The next thing to see is-The various classes and kinds of people sharing in the blessings referred to in verses 26-31. There is where it says, “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.”
The “meek,” who will eat and be satisfied, are those who will most conscientiously respond to the blessings that come as a result of what has happened in the psalm. It is the meek, and those who earnestly seek the Lord, who are commended.
Then, in verse 27, the scope of the psalm widens to include “all the families of the nations.” The invitation to come and drink of the water of life is made to “whosoever will.” This is the missionary influence of the psalm, which continues through verse 31.
The verse mentions you and me, when it says, “To a people that shall be born.” They shall declare His righteousness, not your righteousness or mine, for God says our righteousness is like filthy rags in His sight. How then, will they declare His righteousness? The psalm gives the answer; “That He hath done this.” Some translate it, “It is finished;” the last words He spoke from the cross.
And when He said it, it was only one word, “Tetelestai!” Finished! Your redemption is a complete package and He presents it to you all wrapped up with everything in it. He doesn’t want you to bring your do-it-yourself kit along. He doesn’t need that. When He died on the cross, He provided a righteousness that would satisfy a holy God. All He asks of you is that you receive this package, this gift from God, which is eternal life in Christ Jesus. If you reject it, God must treat you like He treated His Son when He cried, “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?”
I am not here to argue about what hell is like, but it will be hell for anyone who is forsaken by God. The good news for you and I is that Jesus Christ went through hell so that you will never have to utter that cry.
Though God turned away from Jesus momentarily while He was on the cross, the hiding of His face was only temporary. Jesus’ cry was heard, and He was comforted. Likewise, God’s ear is attuned to hear the cry of His people in their times of distress, and He never fails to respond. Psalm 22 reveals the heart of our Savior as He was made a sin offering on our behalf.
He completed the transaction in triumph. What He offers to us today is a finished redemption. We will never be worthy of it; we can’t earn it; we can’t buy it—we must receive it as a free gift. Over 2000 years ago the Lord Jesus Christ did all that was needed to save us. It is done.