The Song of the Cross

Bible Book: Psalms  22
Subject: Cross
Introduction

The message today is entitled, "The Song of the Cross." The text is found in Psalm 22. This Psalm was written by David hundreds of years before Christ, but it describes in eerie detail the horrible events that Jesus suffered at the Cross. This Psalm is nothing short of a miracle. Written to be sung in the worship within the Tabernacle during David’s day, and later sung in the Temple, this Psalm foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah and His death at Calvary. In fact, no less than 33 prophecies of our Lord are contained in this one Psalm. This passage stands as one more convincing proof of the veracity and trustworthiness of God’s Word.

Some may ask, "Did David realize that he was writing prophecy?" We do not know for sure, but it is safe to say that he had no idea the extent to which he was writing about the Messiah when he penned this words. Nevertheless, the painful agony of Jesus is portrayed here, and the glorious victory of Christ is also seen in this passage.

It is important for us to never forsake the preaching the Cross of Christ. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." All of us need the forgiveness which God offers to us through the blood of Jesus. Some years ago it is reported that Billy Graham wrote to the mayor of particular city where Graham was going to lead a crusade. In the letter, Graham asked the mayor to list some of the people who needed Christ. Graham was surprised when the major mailed him back to him a copy of the entire city telephone directory! Yes, everyone who will come to God must come by way of the Cross (John 14:6).

I. The Sad Notes In The Song Of The Cross - Psalm 22:1-21

We begin with the mournful, plaintive tones of this song. Certainly these are some of the saddest words ever written. It begins with the words which Jesus quoted from the cross, words which serve as a bookmark telling us that this Psalm is all about Jesus. We come to this portion of the passage feeling a little like Moses at the burning bush, as if we should remove our shoes for we are on holy ground!

A. The Refusal at the Cross 22:1-6a

This song begins by revealing that God’s Son experienced divine refusal at the cross. The Father refused the Son some very specific requests. How strange and odd this is. The Father never refused the Son anything He asked for up until this time. Yet, now the Son is refused. In what ways?

1. He would not come Near Him 22:1

Jesus stated that the Father was far from Him. The Father and Son had been One! Now Christ is all alone. Why? Because, He who knew no sin had become sin for us. The Father turned His back on His One and Only Son. The Father abandoned the Son. The Son was separated from the Father.

2. He would not Hear Him 22:2

Furthermore, the Father would not hear the Son. Up until this point, the Father and Son spoke daily with each other. Now, the Father will not answer the cry of His Son.

3. He would not Clear Him 22:3-6

In the past, the people, the very sinful people, had cried to the Lord and He had heard them and forgiven them. Now, as Jesus is dying on the cross, the Father lays on Him the iniquity of us all. Our sins are upon Him and the Father will not hear a cry for mercy. Jesus is abandoned to die in sin, to writhe under the agonizing reality of the world’s entire weight of guilt.

Think about this, dear Christian. God is near you, God will hear you, and God has cleared you, but He would not do that for His own Son. In fact, the very reason He will come near you, and hear you and clear you, is because Jesus took our punishment on that cross. The songwriter was correct when he penned,

"Man of sorrows, what a name,

For the Son of God who came,

Ruined sinners to reclaim,

Hallelujah, what a Savior!"

B. The Ridicule at the Cross 22:6b-8

But there is still more to this sad portion of Psalm 22, The Song of the Cross.

1. Scorned 22:6b

They scorned Him. What does this mean? They laughed at Him. The soldiers who crucified Him played a game at His expense. They blindfolded Him and slapped Him, asking, "Who stuck you?" Jesus was silent. And they laughed Him to scorn! They put a crown of thorns on His head and cried, "Hail, King of the Jews," and as the blood trickled down His face, they laughed Him to scorn.

2. Despised 22:6b

The religious leaders and people despised Him. They hated Him. They were disgusted by Him. He came in love and mercy, but the Bible reports that He came unto His own and His own received him not.

He was so despised that they spat on him and their spittle ran down his precious face. He was so despised that they stripped him of his clothing and he was left naked on the cross.

3. Mocked 22:7-8

They cried out with insults of very kind toward Him as He hung on that cross. They said, "Hey, Jesus, you saved others, why don’t you save yourself?" Surely they must have cried out all kinds of insults. Perhaps they shouted, "Hey, Carpenter boy, you got nails in your hands, where is your hammer?" Oh, the sadness of it. Oh, the horror of it. Relentlessly, and mercilessly, they mocked Him as He died.

C. The Rejection at the Cross 22:9-22

1. Vicious Rejection (Bashan) 9-13a

His rejection was more than mere words. The bulls of Bashan mentioned in this passage refers to bulls that were raised in plush vegetation and were extremely strong and vicious. Jesus was surrounded by vicious, hateful people who were fed on the world and led by the devil.

2. Vile Rejection (lion) 13b-15

The word lion speaks of the devil. He is the roaring lion who goes about seeking whom he may devour. His wicked hands were behind this entire event. He wanted to get rid of Jesus from the beginning. He tried to destroy Him right after He was born. He prompted Herod to send soldiers to kill all the male babies 2 years of age and under in Bethlehem. He tried to kill Him in the Wilderness during the Temptation of our Lord. He prompted people to try to kill Jesus on more than one occasion. Finally, he was getting what he wanted. But, he would not want what he got when he got what he wanted. The devil did not realize that the death of Jesus at the Cross would be the final undoing of his evil empire. But, Oh, how vile and wicked was his scheme and attack on Christ.

3. Violent Rejection 14-21

Here we see the description of the violent acts against the Lord, Jesus Christ. His hands and feet were pierced. His bones were separated as He hung upon the cross. His body was beaten, he was denied water, and he was left to struggle for one breath of air. Just think of it. The Son of God who created the trees, was made to hang from one. The Son of God who had created the air we breath was made to gasp for every breath of air for His lungs while on the Cross. The Son of God who came to give life was giving up His life for us.

Our Lord endured the cross, despising its shame. We must never be ashamed of the Cross of Christ. Symbols are important in our day. The Nike swoosh is recognized the world over. The Master’s Golf Tournament symbol is renowned. But no symbol on earth is more abused than the cross. Rock stars wear it on stage. Prostitutes where it around their necks. Drug users where it sometimes as a tattoo. But the cross speaks of life and forgiveness to the true child of God. Our Lord endured it, we must uphold it!

II. The Glad Notes In The Song Of The Cross Psalm 22:22-31

How wonderful to keep reading in this Psalm till we come to verse 22 and following. For the sad notes of the song turn to glad notes in the song. Thank God that the story of the cross does not end at the cross. Though we will consider the resurrection of Jesus next week, we must see the sound of victory in this very Psalm. Everyday is victory day for those who have trusted in the One who overcame the grave and death. Note three things in the second section of this song.

A. The Promise of His Resurrection 22:22-25

He went to the Cross promising to His disciples that He would be raised from the dead. He is alive. And now He promises to all who believe upon Him and accept Him as Lord that they, too, will live forever. Death will have no victory over us. Glory to His name!

B. The Praise of the Redeemed 22:26

The redeemed praise Him. We lift Him up. That is why we meet together. The church is not a holier-than-thou club of do-gooders. Church is a blood bought family coming to the Father’s table and thanking Him for Jesus who died for us. Church is a place where once sin-sick souls, now healed by the power of the Great Physician, come to thank the One who saved and keeps them. Church is where people who need the Redeemer find Him! Where two or more of His disciples meet, He has promised to be present.

C. The Power of His Reign 22:27-31

The prophecy declared that His reign will reach to the ends of the earth. In fact, the prophecy has been fulfilled - his powerful influence has been felt on every continent. People will come into the Kingdom from every corner of the globe - from every kindred, tongue, language and people they have come to bow before Him! They bow down and worship the One who died on that cross and rose triumphantly from the dead!

Conclusion

Have you been to Calvary? Have you been made whole? What are you trusting to get you into heaven?

Many years ago the Yangtze River overflowed as never before. The rich people went to their homes, climbed the stairs to the upper levels and thought themselves safe. They were drowned by the hundreds. The poor people did not trust their paper and mud huts, so they fled to the mountains. They lived! You can trust your own works and die, or you can trust what Jesus did at Calvary and be saved. Run to the mountain called Calvary, bow at the feet of Jesus and be saved. And how many of us who are saved need to renew our total dependence upon Him and His alone?

In verse 6 of Psalm 22, Jesus called Himself a worm. This is a very significant part of this Psalm. The Bible speaks of the scarlet color created from a worm. The worm referred is one that fed on Oak trees and when crushed produced a beautiful red color used to die the clothes of priests and kings. God has made us a kingdom of priests according to Revelation, chapters 1 and 5. He has clothed us in robes of white, but they were purchased with His crimson blood at Calvary.

The people will say, "He has done it." That phrase comes from the Hebrew word, 'asah.' The word means 'to make or finish.' That is exactly what Jesus said at the cross: "It is finished." Indeed, it is finished. He paid the debt, He took the punishment for us, now He is alive to save all who will come to Him.

Come ye sinners, poor and needy,

Weak and wounded, sick and sore,

A certain man, named Dr. Evan's, was touring Italy. A friend told him that there was a blessing to be found if he would go to a certain place to see a painting of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Dr. Evan's asked, "What is it like?"

The friend said, "Never mind what it is like. I want you to see it. You need to see it, and promise me that you will." Dr. Evan's promised him that he would see the painting.

He went to the village where this painting was kept in a chapel. The caretaker said, "You have come to see the painting, haven't you?"

Dr. Evan's said, "Why, yes I have."

The caretaker led him to the painting. He was not prepared for what he saw. He was looking for a beautiful masterpiece of art. There was Jesus on the cross, but it seemed all out of proportion. It didn't make sense. It seemed somehow to be top heavy.

Dr. Evan's said, "I don't understand this painting?"

The caretaker replied, "Come closer." He did. Then the caretaker said, "Get lower." He did. Then the caretaker said, "Come closer. Get lower."

Finally Dr. Evan's found himself kneeling at the very foot of the cross. When he looked up he saw the perspective from which the painting had been made, and realized that it didn't make sense until you knelt at the cross.

That is what you need to do today. No, Jesus is no longer on the Cross, but you must come by way of the Cross in order to be saved.