Sunday Messages

Psalms 22:1-23 by Pastor Dan Walker
Learn lessons from Psalm 22's description of Jesus' death that will help you face the trials in your life. Discover how to trust God always, to believe in God's plan and to pray for God's help. As you follow Jesus in the New Year, He will give you hope and courage to follow His plan.
Duration:26 mins 34 secs

Today, we continue our series Jesus the Messiah. In this New Year, I believe that it is important to focus our lives and our thoughts on Jesus as never before.

Today’s message is entitled “Dying Savior.” In this message, we’re going to look at the prophetic psalm, Psalm 22, which prophesies about the death of the Messiah in remarkable detail. Jesus’ crucifixion was undoubtedly the greatest trial that any human being has ever faced. Many men had been crucified before Jesus and many after. Yet none of these men had carried the weight of the sin of the entire world, From Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden into the future when Jesus returns. Yet, Jesus faced His death with a resolve and hope in God to bring Him through.

Today, we’re going to learn from Jesus how we can face trials in our own lives. We’re going to learn how we can gain the victory as Jesus did. Let’s take some time to look at what the Bible has to say about trials before look at Jesus.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

In other translation, the Greek word for temptation is translated as trial or test. Of course, a temptation is a trial and implicit in every trial is a temptation. This verse tells us that whenever you face a trial or temptation, it will not be beyond your ability to endure or to escape. 

Why can God make that promise? Because you will never face a trial or temptation in your life that God has not allowed to happen. God, as it were, screens your temptations and trials, so that they are not too difficult or powerful for you to face. Whatever trial or temptation that you face in life, you can have the victory over or within through the power of the Holy Spirit. That promise can give us hope, no matter what difficulty we are facing in life.

James 1:2-3 (ESV)  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

The word translated trials here is the same Greek word that was translated temptation in the previous verse we just looked at. God’s Word now tells us what our response should be when we meet trials. Our natural response is to complain, worry, get depressed or some other negative reaction. God’s Word does not just suggest how we are to respond, it commands us to count every trial as all joy.

How can we rejoice in the midst of a trial? We can rejoice because we know that God has permitted the trial for a reason. And the reason is so that our faith in God may become stronger. Now let’s think about one particular kind of trial that I believe is going to become much more common in the near future in America. That kind of trial is persecution. Persecution is when you suffer some type of abuse due to being a believer.

Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

When we are insulted, persecuted or lied about, Jesus said that we are blessed. We are blessed when we suffer on account of our faith in Jesus. If we are blessed, then we should rejoice and be glad. Why? Because we have a great reward in heaven for following Jesus and remaining true to Him.

With that background about facing trials, today, we’re going to learn how Jesus responded to the greatest trial in human history. As we meditate on Jesus’ trial, it will help our love and commitment to Him to grow. And it will prepare us for the trials that we will face in 2021. Remember, God allows trials in our lives not to hurt us but to strengthen us.

Trust God always

Psalm 22:1 (ESV) My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

This psalm was written by David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. David’s words are prophetically, the words of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In the opening verse, He calls out to God questioning why He has been forsaken.

Mark 15:34 (ESV)  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus uses the exact language of the psalm as He hung dying on the cross. The weight of the sin of the world was upon Jesus. God the Father could no longer look upon His Son and turned His face from Him. The relationship that the two of them had had since eternity was broken. Broken because of the sin on Jesus. Not His own sin but the sin of the world, the sin of you and me. One can senses the agony in the cry of Jesus. Agony not over the pain of crucifixion, but of the separation from His Father. Jesus knew this would be the biggest trial of His death, but He willingly chose to trust God, even in this darkest hour.

Psalm 22:7-8 (ESV)  All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;  “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

The psalm goes on to speak of those who mocked the Messiah on the cross. They shook their heads at Him. They insulted Him concerning His relationship with His Father, who was not coming to deliver Him.

Matthew 27:41-42 (ESV)  So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,  “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.

We see in the New Testament record, the fulfillment of this prophesy by the leaders of Israel. The mocked Jesus for His seeming weakness in not preventing His crucifixion. They demanded a sign for Him to prove that He was God or they would not believe. But Jesus continued to trust God.

Luke 23:46 (ESV)  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

Although death by crucifixion normally took days, Jesus died after only six hours. Even though the sin had separated Him from His Father, He committed His Spirit into the Father’s hands. In other words, Jesus chose the moment He was to die and breathed his last. He trusted God always.

As we contemplate what Jesus went through for us, we should offer back to Him all that we have and are. He gave up everything for us, so we ought also to give Him everything. Let’s think about how Jesus faced His greatest trial and trusted God always. There will be times in our lives when our sin may separate us from God. How can we trust in God in those times? We must trust Him to forgive our sins as we repent and get back close to Him.

At other times, God may allow difficult trials into our lives. Trials may take many forms. Trials may be to our health, our relationships or our finances. Trials may come in the form of persecution for our faith. What are we to do? Trust God always. My father passed away six years ago. I remember the last words he spoke were “I trust the Lord.” 

One day, we will all face the final trial of death, unless Jesus returns. May we have the same unshakeable faith to trust the Lord always in this life. As we do, we will ultimately see our Savior in heaven. Not only must we trust God always, we must …

Believe in God’s plan

Psalm 22:14 (ESV)  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;

These prophetic words of the psalmist speak of the physical agonies of the crucifixion. Having your arms stretched out and nailed to the cross and hanging there puts your bones out of joint. It becomes more and more difficult to breathe and increasingly painful. Jesus went through excruciating physical pain for you and me.

Psalm 22:16-18 (ESV)  For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—  I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;  they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

Incredible details of the crucifixion are given in this verse. Jesus was surrounded by the unbelieving leaders of the Jews and the Roman soldiers, a company of evildoers. His hands and feet were pierced by the nails. At the time of the writing of the Psalm, Roman crucifixion was unknown. Normally, the Roman soldiers would break the leg bones of the victim to hasten death. However, in the case of Jesus, He died within six hours and so no bones were broken. What is this casting lots for His clothing all about?

John 19:23-24 (ESV)  When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts … they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.”

We see that the Roman soldiers assigned to crucify Jesus cast lots to see who got Jesus clothing. Verse 15 of Psalm 22 speaks of the great thirst of the dying Messiah.

John 19:28 (ESV)  After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”

What do all of these detailed prophesies of the crucifixion tell us about the Messiah? They tell us that God had a plan for the dying Savior. A plan the Bible shows was from the creation of the world. Many of the details of the plan are included in Psalm 22, as well as other prophetic Scriptures in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit, knowing God’s plan, inspired the writing of these prophesies.

Jesus perfectly followed God’s plan for His life and mission. He believed in God’s plan and carefully listened to the His Father each step of the way. Even though Satan and evil men were involved in persecuting and killing Jesus, they were simply instruments in carrying out the plan. We also must believe in God’s plan.

Just as God had a detailed plan for Jesus’ life, so He has a detailed plan for your life. Unlike Jesus, we do not always perfectly follow God’s plan. As long as we’re alive, there is always another step in the plan. We just have to get back on track with God and seek Him for the next step. God is committed to helping you fulfill His plan for your life.

How can you learn what God’s plan for your life is? The first step is to daily read and study God’s Word. The Bible will give you the general outlines of God’s plan for you. The next step is to pray about God’s plan for your life on a daily basis. God has a plan for every day of your life. The Holy Spirit will speak to you directly and show you things from God’s Word. The Holy Spirit can also speak into your life through other people. God may give you a prophetic word through someone else. Or you may receive godly counsel from another believer or leader. Finally, God can also show you His plan through circumstances. Sometimes God will close doors to direct you and at other times, He will open doors of opportunity.

Never doubt that God has a plan for you. There will be times in trials when things may seem hopeless. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. No situation is hopeless, as long as you continue to believe that God has a plan and He is going to show it to you. Believe in God’s plan and you will always have hope.

Pray for deliverance

Psalm 22:19 (ESV)  But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

In this verse, we see the psalmist prophetically praying for God’s help, for deliverance. As we talked about in the previous point, we need prayer to discern God’s plan. And we need prayer for God’s help to carry out that plan. We can’t do it in our own strength. In Jesus’ case, His cries for help did not rescue Him from the cross, for that was part of God’s plan. What they did was bring Him through death into resurrection, which we’ll talk more about next Sunday.

Psalm 22:22-23 (ESV)  I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:  You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

When God answers prayer and His plan is fulfilled, what should be our response? We are to praise God for it, it will cause us to stand in awe of God. Let’s now turn to the book of Hebrews chapter 2 to see what it tells us about the death of Jesus on the cross and the plan of God.

Hebrews 2:10 (ESV)  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

The suffering and death that Jesus went through was for the purpose of making Him the perfect Savior. Jesus, as both human and divine, suffered as a human the agony of death, so that He might deliver us from sin .

Hebrews 2:14 (ESV)  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

The plan of God for Jesus, was that as a man of flesh and blood, He might destroy the devil, who had the power of death. The devil’s plan was to destroy Jesus, but God’s plan was to destroy the devil. And God’s plan won in the end, when Jesus rose from the dead. Now the devil is still around, but He has no power over the believer and His eternal fate is now sealed. Since Jesus sent through all the same things in life as we, He knows what you’re going through.

Hebrews 2:18 (ESV)  For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Here we again see the dual meaning of the word tempted, which could also be translated here as tried. Jesus went through both temptations and trials for us. He is able to help you when you’re going through a difficult time. He is able and willing to help you to resist temptation and carry out God’s plan. You see, every temptation is sent from Satan to get you off track from God’s plan. Jesus was tempted to avoid the cross, but He resisted that temptation and embraced God’s plan.

How did Jesus stay on track with God’s plan, even though it was painful? You’ll remember that He prayed for deliverance in the garden of Gethsemane. God gave Him the strength to continue on the course of His plan. We also must learn to pray for deliverance from trials and temptations.

Some people think that God’s plan for their lives must be easy. However, Jesus taught us both through His life and His teaching it that God’s plan is the more difficult road. Jesus taught the road away from God was wide and easy. But the road of following Jesus was difficult and narrow. How can we follow this difficult and narrow path of God’s plan? Only by learning to continually pray for deliverance.

What do we need deliverance from? We need deliverance from the attacks of Satan. Whether they come through circumstances, other people or our own thoughts. Never think that Jesus doesn’t know what you’re going through. That is a lie from the enemy. Jesus knows exactly what you’re going through, because He went through the same things. And Jesus knows exactly what you need to keep on track with God’s plan.

Whatever you’re going through today, and we’re all going through some difficulty. Pray and ask God for the wisdom and strength to keep on following Him. And when you pray that prayer in faith, God will answer your prayer.

Today, we’ve looked at the amazing prophesies about the Messiah in Psalm 22. And we’ve seen how they were fulfilled in the life of Jesus. We’ve been reminded again of the suffering that Jesus went through in dying for us. As Jesus took up His cross, so we must take up our cross and follow Him. He gave everything for us and we must give Him all of us in return.

The path of following Jesus is never easy, but we must trust God always. We can have hope as we believe in God’s plan for our lives. He always has a next step for us. We mustn’t forget that we can’t follow God’s plan in our own strength. We must pray for deliverance and help, believing that He will answer. And as we follow in our Savior’s footsteps, we will stay close to Him in this life.

And we will one day see Him in heaven where He will say “Well done, God and faithful servant.” That is something worth living and dying for.