Recently I was reading Psalm 22 again as Crosspoint and I have been journeying through The Story. I am always surprised by how much more we can glean from scripture simply by coming to it with an understanding of the culture during the time the scripture was written.
In the case of Psalm 22 the missing piece of information for many people is that Jesus quoted the first line of this Psalm as he hung on the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” As Jesus was dying he quoted the first line of Psalm 22. Why would he do that?
We have the Psalms and Proverbs numbered in our Bibles. Back when Jesus walked the earth the Psalms had not been numbered. To reference a Psalm you would say the first line. So, in this case Jesus said “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Simply knowing this changes what he said on the cross to be very powerful. not everyone witnessing his crucifixion would have caught onto what he was saying. But his followers should have, and so should any of the other Jewish people nearby. I don’t believe Jesus was only communicating that God the Father was turning his back on his Son. I don’t believe Jesus was only expressing feelings of being abandoned. Jesus was also declaring his very purpose in hanging on the cross by directing people to remember the words found in what we call Psalm 22. A pronouncement of what was happening before their eyes, and how it would change everything.
I encourage you to read Psalm 22 at the link below as you think of Jesus. It is truly powerful.