Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Through the Bible • Sermon • Submitted
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They always say that time goes faster as you age and I’m definitely feeling that this year. I can remember back to being a kid and time seemed to go so slow. Everything took forever and it felt like it would take an entire lifetime to be an adult. Now I’m an adult and my mind still thinks I’m a kid, but my body is telling me a different story.
Can you believe that we are about one and a half months away from concluding the year 2022? I’m at a point in life where time often feels like it’s going fast, and sometimes it feels like it’s going slow. I’m already starting to look at the past year and see how my children have grown and I’m happy for that but I’m also saddened because with each new stage of their lives, they leave behind something that was absolutely precious to me. Of course with the next stages of a child’s life come new things to enjoy as a parent, but whatever happened to my oldest being able to fall asleep in my arms? Now she’s the kind of kid who needs to sleep in her bed, and there’s no chance of falling asleep anywhere else. And my youngest suddenly has a mouthful of teeth? This is wild. Occasionally I’ll imagine a glimpse of the future and see them go often to college, or moving out into adulthood and I fear that time, but I’m excited to see how their life progresses. I imagine to myself this has been the experience of most parents. They see their little ones all grown up, getting ready to start families of their own and the cycle of parent-child continues.
But then I hear the real fun is being a grandparent, because then you can stuff them with sweets and spoil them and at the end of the day return them to mom and dad without having to manage the fall out of a spoiled child.
Reflecting on this year prompts me to think about what’s left in our year. We have what an incredible celebration ahead of us. The birth of Christ is something that was long anticipated. Each covenant of the Lord revealed more and more who this person would be and the people of God have been waiting since the time of Adam and Eve for the presence and birth of the king who would deliver them from the hand of the enemy and free them of their guilt. Of course, I love Christmas time and I plan to continue giving gifts to my loved ones, but I lament the commericalization of the holiday. I know it isn’t the actual day of Christ’s birth, but it’s the day that we commemorate it. It should be special and not used by corporations to convince or trick you into buying a product that will eventually rust, break or go out of style.
This season leading up to the time that we remember the coming of the messiah is I hope to reclaim the holiday. Hear what I’m saying. I’m saying it’s fine to give and exchange gifts, drink hot cocoa, sleep in, and do all the fun cultural things. But as believers I hope that we are able to separate all of that from the actual meaning of what we celebrate. I hope that we would give up the cultural significance of gifts ans such and choose to celebrate the holy aspect of this day of celebrating if we were ever forced to.
From now until Christmas we are going to study the coming of the savior and tie in all that we have learned throughout the time I’ve been with you. We’ll look at very clear prophecies and promises of the coming Messiah so that by Christmas we have truly remembered the reason for the season.
To start off, we are going to look at a Messianic psalm. Messianic psalms are psalms that foretell the action, person, circumstances or outcome of the messiah. As we look at Psalm 22, I’m going to cherry pick verses that foretell and reflect Christ, and also show you their New Testament counterpart which shows that Jesus fulfills what the Psalm shows of the Messiah.
Before we read these selected verses, I’m going to give you another proposition. David lived approximately 1,000 years before Jesus was born. And yet, each of these descriptions we see are prophecies for what the Messiah would do, what would happen to Him and how He would be. These are prophecies that have actually come true and we are going to see that they have. These would be incredibly hard to fake. Think about how public Jesus’ life was. He had a public execution delivered by pagans who did not hold value in the Word of God. And the account of Jesus’ life, birth and death was so popular, public and spread around that if any of the prophetic details were incorrect or inaccurate, then people would have called it out. It’s important to remember that never happened. It’s also important to note that Christianity was illegal shortly after the death of Christ. The people promoting, showing, and documenting the life of Christ would have been under remarkable scrutiny if they ever lied or misrepresented the facts surrounding Jesus’ life, ministry and death.
Let’s pray together before we read Psalm 22 and its New Testament counterparts.
To start, let’s look at Psalm 22:1.
Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?”
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The references in this particular Psalm have more to do with the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The question asked by the Psalmist, “why have your forsaken me?” is a question that only a righteous, sinless, guiltless person could ask. To wonder why they are forsaken indicates innocence of the person being forsaken. People who are guilty may ask why, but oftentimes they know their own guilt. The guiltless asks why and there is no suitable answer. It’s the question of a righteous sufferer. As David asks this question, he only was abandoned or left by God in a partial way.
When Jesus asked “why have you forsaken me?” He was both guiltless and He knew the answer. He was being offered as a sacrifice without sinful blemish for the guilt of the world. The thieves on the cross did not have to ask “why?” because they knew their crime which brought them to be crucified. Though David was abandoned partially, Jesus knew total and utter abandonment. God left Him to die on the cross. Jesus bore the dreadful curse that sin deserves, though He knew no sin.
It wouldn’t be until later that the disciples of Jesus understood at the moment of Jesus’ words of abandonment that He was infact bearing the guilt of the World, and only He alone could do such a thing. This is even more agonizing when you understand the Jesus’ relationship to the Father was perfect in love, because Jesus never sinned.
Psalm 22:7-8, “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Luke 23:35 “And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”
To be ridiculed for the sake of God shows trust in God. The more that people mock and ridicule believers and we do not waver, it shows the greater trust we have in the Lord. The Lord often let’s Christians go through this. Not only in the USA are Christians mocked as people who believe in myths, but all over the world there are even greater forms of suffering at the hands of others. The faithful who trust in the Lord will not be shaken. We will not have our positions change because others are louder, scary, or condemning. We will remain steadfast and trust in the Lord.
People even mocked the Messiah, the one who was dying for the sins of the world, as he was actually dying for their sins. Being ridiculed because of our love for the Lord and our love for others is something we can expect. We are not better than Christ, and if they did it to Him then we can expect it to happen to us.
Man I pray for this for our church. I want our church to be mocked by the faithfless because of how faithful we are. It will happen one way or another. It may even be that we are mocked by the people in our midst because we don’t bend to the cultural pressures or adhere to the cultural narratives.
Let’s remember back to the cultural narratives that others held toward Jesus. He was a liar. He was misleading people. He wanted to overthrow the government. He made false claims to be able to forgive sins. He was strange because he allowed women, the sick, and the disabled in His presence.
Let’s take a look at the cultural narrative describing biblical Christians right now. We are dumb for not adhering to their fallacious scientific explanations. We brainwash people to believe the gospel. We don’t care about the health of pregnant women. We offer false hope. We want control over the lives of others.
This and much worse are the descriptions I have heard about Christians from the faithless. But we at our church will trust the Lord to deliver us, and He will. At our church we will be faithful the Scriptural teachings of God and we will not bend.
Psalm 22:16, “For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet”
John 20:27 “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
In ancient literature, and even in modern insults, evil doers are defined as dogs and are subject of dislike. This literally happened to Jesus. He was pierced in his hands and feet as the psalm predicts would happen of the righteous person.
The amazing part of this exchange between Jesus and Thomas, which was first portrayed in Psalm 22, is that it takes place after Jesus rose from the dead. The Bible shows in the Old Testament an occurrence that wouldn’t take place until after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Thomas is like anyone of us who would doubt when they heard that a dead person came back to life. Jesus’ action to the doubter is the presence of the overwhelming evidence of the fact that he was resurrected. Earlier in John 20, Thomas said he would not be convinced unless he saw for himself exactly what the others saw, the resurrected Christ with the holes in his hands, feet and side. Though this is absolutely remarkable, that Jesus bodily appeared to the disciples, the real marvelous work of Christ is the peace that He brought through His suffering, death and resurrection. So when in the present day we feel left out because we don’t see the bodily version of Christ, what we do see is and experience is the even more amazing work of Jesus restoring our relationship with God. It isn’t recorded in the book of John that Thomas actually touched the wounds of Christ. A few verses later Jesus gives a blessing to all the believers who come after and believe without having seen the wounds or given the opportunity to physically touch Christ.
Psalm 22:18, “they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Matthew 27:35-36 “And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there.”
The literally fulfilled scene in Psalm 22:18 is a sad picture of the exposed and deserted sufferer. The author expects his death at the hands of the enemies and that they would divide up his belongings as spoil after they take his life.
Not only did this happen to Jesus, but he predicted that it would in Matthew 20:19. One important fact here is to understand that Jesus was stripped of his clothes and left naked. It’s by Christ’s nakedness that we are clothed by righteousness and given an abundance of spiritual wealth. When David used this expression in Psalm 22:18, it was just an expression, it was a metaphor. But with the crucified Christ it happened literally and it showed the cruelty of his enemies. We ought not to think about the scandal of a naked Jesus, but we should understand that Jesus suffered not only physical pain and death, but underwent the torment of humiliation and shame in his death process, bearing those things which would have been ours to bear if He did not die for our sins.
Let’s pray and give thanks to our Lord, and expression humble gratitude for the lengths to which he has gone for us.