The Cross and the Crown

Bible Book: Psalms  22
Subject: Cross; Christ, Suffering of; Christ, Glory of
Introduction

This passage serves as a commentary on 1 Peter 1:11, which speaks of the suffering of Christ and the glory that should follow.

1 Peter 1:11, “searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”

While our gospels record His more apparent sufferings, the Psalms record His more hidden sorrows. This amazing Psalm is divided into two distinct parts. It begins with the cross and ends with the crown. The first part consists of praying while it ends with praising. Here’s a text that was penned 1,000 years before it was fulfilled. No Christian can read this Psalm without being vividly confronted with the crucifixion, and with a grateful heart, the resurrection. If you really want to think about what transpired in the mind of our Savior as He bore our sins on the cross, meditate long and diligently upon this scripture portion.

Remember, Ps 22, 23, & 24 form a trilogy on Christ the Shepherd. In Ps 22, the Good Shepherd dies for the sheep. (John 10:1-18); in 23, the Great Shepherd lives for the sheep and cares for them. (Heb 13:20-21); and in 24, the Chief Shepherd returns in glory to reward His sheep for their service (1 Peter 5:4).

The Shepherd gives Himself for the sheep, to the sheep, and He’s coming back with and for the sheep.

This Psalm has been referred to as “The Deer of Dawn.” It translates, “help at daybreak.”

This Psalm also fits into the so-called “passion psalms,” which describe the suffering and persecution of an innocent victim in terms reminiscent of the Suffering Servant of the Lord in the second part of Isaiah.

This Psalm magnifies the truth that God will not forsake His own.

Warren Wiersbe says, “When you go through trials, your circumstances and feelings can deceive you into thinking God has forsaken you. But the Bible promises us that He will never forsake you. Next time you feel forsaken, remember that God is always true to His Word and will accomplish His purpose of conforming us to the image of His Son.”

“Many of the Psalms reflect a time of turmoil and conflict in which the writer is overwhelmed by adversity, injustice, and persecution; but perhaps none exceed this one in the desperation of feeling forsaken even by God. He speaks of crying out day and night and receiving no rest or respite. He reminds God that in the past His people trusted in Him, and He delivered them, but he continues to be a reproach, despised, and slandered. Yet his hope is based on the fact that God made him and he belongs to God. The holiness of God is never questioned, and the thread of hope to which he holds is the fact that God resides in the praises of His people.”

I. THE CROSS IS DESCRIBED. 1-21

v.1 The sufferer cries out to God in an agonized question:

“Why have you forsaken Me?” His greatest suffering is neither the physical pain, nor the mockery of His persecutors, which he will later describe, but His sense of God forsakenness. His question is asked in perplexity, not in despair or bitterness. He then continues in faith to appeal to God three times as “my God” even while He is forsaken and receives no reply.

v.3 “You are holy” – a proven fact that God cannot break a promise.

Three thoughts seem to aggravate His condition:

1. The Experiences of the Past. vv. 4-5

They were delivered, not disappointed

2. The Taunts of His Enemies. v. 6-8

“worm” – little value

The Psalmist Looks Back On His Own Experience

With God. vv.9-11

(He will surely not abandon him now)

Jesus was not only abandoned by the Lord, He was despised by the people. vv. 12-21

“bulls” – encircled their prey and then moved in for the kill

“dogs” – were ravaging, savage, wild dogs looking for victims

“lion” “wild oxen”- people were acting like animals

It is remarkable David should describe crucifixion because it was not a Jewish means of capital punishment, and it’s unlikely that he ever saw it occur.

Acts 2:30-31, “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.”

David saw what would happen to Messiah centuries later. In vv 19-21 David looked up to the Lord and prayed one more time for the strength he needed. v.20 “My precious life” – darling; my only one, as an only child

Transition in v.21 - “You have answered Me”

This is the turning point in the Psalm. This part of the Psalm describes the Messiah as deserted, reproached, emptied, humbled, pierced, and put to open shame

1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” The cross was an awful thing, and yet from it came redemption.

AT THE CROSS

Alas, and did my Saviour bleed

And did my Sovereign die?

Would He devote that sacred head

For sinners such as I?

Was it for crimes that I have done

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity, grace unknown,

And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,

And shut his glories in,

When Christ the mighty Maker died

For man the creature’s sin.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay

The debt of love I owe:

Here, Lord, I give myself away,

‘Tis all that I can do.

At the cross, at the cross

Where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away

It was there by faith

I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

II. THE CROWN IS DECLARED. 22-31

A. THE PROMISE. 22

Hebrews 2:12, "I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You." God exalted Him and gave Him a name above every name.

B. THE PRAISE. 23-27

26-27 reminds us that this good news will reach the ends of the earth

C. THE POWER. 28
D. THE PROCLAMATION. 29-31

All ranks will turn to Him

Clear reference to the Psalmist’s posterity