Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Terrors of the Cross (Psalm 22)

"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?" (Psalm 22:1).

Psalm 22 foreshadows that cataclysmic moment in history when Christ cried out from the torment of the Cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” We find in this psalm detailed accounts of the future atoning work of Jesus Christ as He bore the punishment for the sins of His people. David describes how Christ was “scorned by men,” how a band of evil men encircled Him as He suffered the pangs of death, how He could count all His bones for none of them had been broken, and how His tormentors divided His garments and cast lots for His clothing.

How, when Christ was the only Son of the living God, could He become seized with so great a grief as to cry out these words penned by David hundreds of years before Christ was even born? Because Jesus was fully human, He was not exempted from the terrors of God’s wrath. His sorrow, His sufferings, His temptations, and His death were all real. No less real was that climactic moment when He stood before the tribunal of God as the representative head of His people to endure God’s wrath as payment for sin.

Nothing we endure in this life can compare to the torment Jesus faced on the Cross. It was the terror and dread of falling under the all-consuming fury of God that incited Jesus to pray for deliverance. Although subject to human passions and affections, Christ never once fell into sin, and even on the Cross He turned to His Father. “The greatness of His griefs, therefore, could not so weaken Him as to prevent Him, even in the midst of His excruciating sufferings, from submitting Himself to the will of God, with a composed and peaceful mind,” Calvin said. No matter what we may face in our struggles, it does not compare to Jesus’ trial.

Therefore, never lose faith in the face of sufferings, but continue to submit to the will of God and turn to Him in prayer. When we find ourselves thinking that God doesn’t care because He cannot understand our pain, remember Christ who had been abased by all men, scorned, mocked, tortured, and killed. He knows our pain, and in Him we can know the victory that overcomes even death, for as the Father delivered His Son from death, so He has promised to deliver all His people.

Read Hebrews 2:14–18. How does this passage affect your attitude toward your own experience of suffering? Do you deal with hardship as Jesus did by turning to God? When enduring pain and temptation, think of the example of Christ and praise God for the promise of His deliverance.