As we move past the physical torture of the crucifixion, we now hear the heartfelt cry of our Savior, pleading with the Father for deliverance from His torment.
Please read Psalm 22:19-21.
While Jesus hung on the cross, He spoke but a little. In the agony of dehydration, with His tongue sticking to the roof of His mouth, it was difficult for our Savior to speak any words out loud. But, God hears our prayers—even those we don’t speak out loud. This Psalm gives us a glimpse into the utterances of His heart.
In His heart, Jesus was pleading with the Father to once again experience His presence. “Do not be far off” is a humble cry to once again be near to His Heavenly Father. God has abandoned His Son, who has took on the sins of the world. God is now pouring out His wrath from a distance, and His Son longs for the intimacy that they once shared.
If God won’t grant this request, then perhaps He’ll grant another: “come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword.” The ‘sword’ here probably represents the complete destruction that He was about to face. The Eternal One, who existed before He created the heavens, Jesus Christ, in whom all things have their life and breath, was about to taste the sting of death. His humanity begged for deliverance. His life was precious to Him, and it was being thrown to the dog.
Notice, He doesn’t say “dogs,” but “dog,” singular. All His enemies who like “dogs encompass me,” as He hangs on the cross, were united as one. Now they are no longer a pack of ravenous dogs, but one great dog who is ready to destroy the Son.
Jesus begs for deliverance. “Come quickly,” “deliver” me, “save me.” He cries to God with all of His heart!
This is the Son of God! He has the greatest relationship with the Father ever! No one could ever hope to be as close to God as Jesus was! And He is crying from the depths of His heart to be saved from this trial. He has been crying out since the Garden of Gethsemane the night before, where He poured sweat as He travailed in prayer. He is desperately pleading with God for deliverance.
But none will come. Jesus will die. His death is the reason that we live, so we are grateful. But His death is a tragic end to what appears to be unanswered prayer.
Yet, that is not how our Lord describes His death. In this psalm, He declares “you have rescued me.” How could this be? How could God have saved Him when we know that He died!
Because death is not the end. Jesus Christ died; that is true. But He did not stay dead! God allowed the Son to taste death’s sting on our behalf, but death no longer has any sting because the Father has raised His Son from the dead! Through the resurrection of Christ, God has saved him—and God has saved us!
We must never presume to tell God how to save us. We must simply follow the example of our Lord, and praise Him for saving us. In His time, and in His manner, He will help. He will deliver. He will save. It just might not be in the way we expect.
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