Note-Place your cursor over the reference to see the passage.
The cross poises a question from God to every man,
and the answer far more often that not is a resounding,
So what if Christ died for me? Many men die for other men. War is an example. All men who have served in the Army or Marines have heard of men giving their lives for their comrades by diving on a grenade. However, no mere man could have died the death that Christ died. His death was unique, because He is unique.
The great preacher Spurgeon stated, "To God and God alone are Christ's griefs truly known." In this life we will never know the full extent of His suffering, but we can examine what is recorded regarding them in the Bible.
Christ was crucified approx. 33 AD. Psalm 22 was written about 982 BC, or over 1,000 years prior to His death. A majority of Christian scholars believe Christ's thoughts and words while He was on the cross are recorded in these passages.
Psalm 22:1 - These very words were recorded almost 2,000 years ago in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34, and that was over 1,000 years after David penned them in this Psalm. Whatever reference the words in the text might have to David, there can be no doubt but that they principally relate to the Lord Jesus, since in parts David speaks in terms which are wholly inapplicable to himself.
Psalm 22:2 - The Father did not answer Christ while He was on the cross.
Psalm 22:3 - Christ praised His Father in the very depths of His suffering.
Psalm 22:4-5 - In this passage Christ reflects back on the faithfulness of God in delivering the Israelites.
Psalm 22:6 - He compares Himself to a worm, which is a symbol of extreme weakness and helplessness--it is naturally despised and downtrodden upon. How deeply Christ was "despised of the people" appeared most evidently when they expressed their desire that, instead of Him, a murderer should be granted to them (Acts 3:14).
Psalm 22:7 - The people stood watching, but the rulers of the people mocked Him (Luke 23:35). They shot out their lips, and were wagging their heads, which was a form of contempt (Matt. 27:39; Mark 15:29).
Psalm 22:8 - His enemies were totally lacking in compassion and love, and they continued scornfully mocking Christ. They were quoting apparently from the Septuagint, but with an inaccuracy common at the time when books were scarce, and persons depended on their memory (Matt. 27:43).
Psalm 22:9 - See Job 10:8-11
Psalm 22:10 - "I was cast upon thee from the womb." In a sense this is true of all men, however of the Holy Child this was most true (Luke 2:40, 49, 52). He was cast on God in a very special way. "Thou art my God from my mother's belly." The child Jesus was brought near to God from His birth (Luke 1:35, 2:21, 22)). From His first consciousness as a human God was His God (Luke 2:40, 49).
Psalm 22:11 - "Trouble is near, and there is none to help." David always had close companions even during Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15:24,18) and (2 Sam. 18:4), but all of Christ's disciples had forsaken Him (Matt. 16:56).
Psalm 22:12 - Christ represents His adversaries as "strong bulls of Bashan." Bashan, the richest pasture land of Palestine, produced the largest and strongest animals (Ezekiel 39:18). Hence "the cattle of Bashan" became an expression for powerful oppressors (Amos 4:1).
Psalm 22:13 - They "gape on me with their mouths," eager to devour. The noise made by those who demanded our Lord's death was noted by the evangelist (Matt. 27:23, 24).
Psalm 22:14 - "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." Extreme dehydration and bones out of joint were experienced by those who were undergoing crucifixion. Heart failure was the proximate cause of death for the crucified.
Psalm 22:15 - Christ's strength was drying up at the same time as His bodily fluids were diminishing. Hence, His cry near the end of "I thirst" (John 19:28). "The dust of death" is a periphrasis for death itself (Psalm 104.29, Job 10:9, Eccles 3:20, 12:7).
Psalms 22:16 - He was encompassed by dogs (Roman soldiers Matt. 27:27-35). "They pierced my hands and feet." This certainly does not apply to David, since crucifixion was unknown at the time he penned this psalm.
Psalm 22:17 - "I can count all my bones." The crucifixion accentuated the intense pain, and it was felt in every bone. "They stare and gloat over me (Luke 23:35).
Psalm 22:18 - "They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." It has been well observed that "the act here described is not applicable either to David or any other person whose history is recorded in the Bible, save to Jesus. Matthew and John both record this event (Matthew 27:35, John 19:24).
Psalm 69:21 "They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink" See also, Matthew 27:34 ESV (Gall, Very bitter, poisonous herb which cannot be identified with certainty, although the hemlock, colocynth, and poppy have been suggested.)
The above verses clearly point to Jesus Christ and His suffering on the cross.
There was three hours of light and three hours of darkness while Christ was on the cross. Sinful men only glance at the cross briefly, discount the Lord's sufferings in payment for their sins, and then continue in their lifestyle. They completely overlook what transpired in the darkness:
He was cursed of God by the Law. Deut. 21:22-23 and Gal. 3:13.
a. "And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), Deut. 21:22-23
b. "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew, hanging him on a tree." Acts 5:30
c. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Gal. 3:13.
2. The wrath of God was vented on Christ. Isaiah 53:5 & Isaiah 53:10.
a. 'But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace." Isaiah 53:5
b. "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin," Isaiah 53:10 Who bruised Christ?
3. Unbelief of His own people Matt. 23:37-39 & Luke 19:41-44
a. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! " Matt. 23:37
b. And when he drew nigh, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If thou hadst known in this day, even thou, the things which belong unto peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, when thine enemies shall cast up a bank about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall dash thee to the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." Luke 19:41-44 Josephus records this happened in 70 AD.
c. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. John 1:11
d. But they cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him." Pilate saith unto them, "Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." John 19:15
4. The weight of the world’s sins were on Christ. Sin has weight. Isaiah 53:6
a. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
b. Many a soul who has come to the Lord has commented how they have felt like a great weight was taken off them. It was! It was transferred to Christ, while He was on the cross..
5. He was made sin for us. 2 Cor 5:21
a. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.". 2 Cor 5:21
b. How very horrible must sin look like to God?
6. Christ was forsaken by His Father for our sakes. Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46 & Mk 15:34
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matt 27:
7. Christ knew many would reject Him and be lost forever. John 1:9 & John 15:22
a. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:9
b. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. John 15:22
Let me ask, do you still say, "So what?" Seeing as Jesus Christ having suffered and done so much for us, do we serve Him as both Lord and Savior and give Him our best or our least?
Can we neglect so great a salvation?
by Gary Butner, Th.D.