Psalm 22:12-21 (ESV)
12 Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 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;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
The language of this Psalm is employed no less than five times in the New Testament to illustrate our Lord’s Passion.
Robert Holland of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary observes of the Psalm that it “is appropriate for the hope that accompanies Jesus’ Passion as well as the grief. It anticipates a vision of God who holds the believer even after death that will only be expressed centuries later.”
Jesus is not spared his cross nor we ours’.
Our Lord must endure death that his perfect humanity might be raised to heaven as the first fruits of the Gospel harvest. We may follow him all the way home because, fully sharing our humanity, one of our own kind has breached Heaven’s gate. Because Jesus is also fully God, the moral effect of his ascension may be applicable to us and his righteousness imputed to us who recognize in him the captain of our salvation (Heb 2:10), who brings believers today into Promised Rest (Heb 4:8f & Acts 20:32; 26:18).
Father, Thank You for the miracle of life—abundant life here, and eternal life with You in Heaven. Help me celebrate that life every day as I seek You and follow Your plan for my life. Today, I say with the Apostle Paul, “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?”
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
– Mary Southerland