Psalm 22: A Brief Analysis

By Wayne Jackson

Psalm 22 has been a favorite of mine for many years, the reason being because of its wonderful messianic thrust. It contains so many powerful thoughts regarding the Savior, and His death on our behalf, that the Christian cannot but be stirred by it. The psalm logically divides into five segments. Consider these enriching treasures of truth.

Christ’s Rejection by God (1-5)

It may seem curious to say that Jesus was rejected by God, but, in a certain sense, that is very true. The song begins with the words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” — an echo from the cross, of course (Mt. 27:46). The Lord Jesus was “forsaken” by the Father in the sense that God allowed him to drink the full measure of suffering and death (without intervening — see Mt. 26:53) because of His great love for humanity (Jn. 3:16). Divine “justice” was thus satisfied (Isa. 53:11; Rom. 3:25-26), and mercy was extended to Adam’s sinful family (Eph. 2:4). What a magnificent plan!

Christ’s Rejection by Man (6-13)

At the hands of cruel men, the Son of God was treated as a “worm.” He was despised, ridiculed, and abused. Nevermind. Jesus’ trust was focused in His Father — a confidence instilled in him by his mother from the days she tenderly cradled Him on her breasts. What a tribute to the sweet maiden from Nazareth.

Christ’s Ordeal at Calvary (14-18)

The cruelty of the crucifixion is poignantly depicted — bones out of joint, parched tongue, pierced hands and feet. The physical pain and emotional turmoil are incalculable. And all the while hardened soldiers -unmoved by the drama - gambled for his garments. Such insensitivity finds a modern counterpart in many a man today.

Christ’s Prayer for Deliverance (19-21)

In the hour of darkness, hope could be found only in God. “Stay close to me, Lord … save me from the beasts that would devour me,” is his pleading sentiment. In times of dire need, to whom else can we turn? Happily, however, in this time of danger, the Lord exclaims: “You answered me!” Compare with this the thought expressed in Hebrews 5:7; in the trying ordeal of Gethsemane, He was “heard on account of his godly fear.”

Christ’s Thanksgiving for Victory (22-31)

The Savior breaks forth in an anthem of praise in the midst of God’s people. Jehovah is to be extolled. He did not abandon the son of Mary; rather, He “heard” the cries of His suffering child. There is the implication here of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead by the hand of God Almighty. No wonder, then, at the praise that issues from the Lord’s grateful lips.

Finally, what should be the effect of these amazing events? Grateful people from the “ends of the earth” are invited to “turn unto Jehovah,” to come and “worship” before Him — honoring Him who is ruler of the nations and whose plan will not be thwarted.

From generation to generation — let the saving message go forth.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.