Imagine yourself being in the crowd watching Jesus being crucified and you hear Him say "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" (Matthew 27:46), which translates to "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me." What would be the first thing that would go through your mind when you heard Jesus say that?
Many of the people around Him would not think anything about it or they would not have understood what He said. But any Jew that was familiar with the Old Testament would immediately recognize Jesus' direct quote from the first line of Psalm 22.
The twenty-second Psalm is a well known Psalm to the first century Christians. Before every service in the temple, this Psalm was sung to gather the people into the "auditorium" and to quieten them. Psalm 22:1 says "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?" As soon as the Jews heard Jesus say "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me," Psalm 22 was immediately remembered. But why did Jesus quote Psalm 22:1? Why not something like John 3:16?
Jesus quoted the first line of Psalm 22 because it caused the people to remember this Psalm and made them realize that Jesus is who He says He is. Jesus was fulfilling a prophesy and He wanted the people to realize that. Psalm 22:7-8 says: "All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 'He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!'" In Matthew 27:41-43, Jesus is mocked by the chief priest, scribes, and elders by them shouting "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Jesus fulfilled that prophesy in Psalm 22:7-8.
There is also another prophesy that Jesus fulfilled is found in Psalm 22:18. "They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots" (Psalm 22:18 and Matthew 27:35b). Can you imagine having Psalm 22 in your mind and actually watching the soldiers casting lots for Jesus's clothing- exactly as the psalmist prophesied? I would be astonished if I were there. Jesus fulfilled the prophesies in Psalm 22 during His crucifixion. Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 to try to get people to understand that He is the true Messiah. Jesus proved that the Bible foretold the future accurately. Many prophesies in the Bible were fulfilled; it was prophesied the Jesus would be coming back (2 Peter 3:10-12), are you prepared for that day?
By: Jennifer Odom
My name is Jennifer Odom and I've been a Christian since October 2011. I'm a 19-year-old sophomore at Freed-Hardeman University. I like reading, crocheting, and Bible journaling. My favorite verse is Philippians 1:21. I write for Tomorrow's Church, Today and am the editor for Beyond the Foam. I hope to speak at several ladies days, become a music teacher, get involved with mission work, and bring as many people as I can with me to heaven. Stepping in Light is affiliated with the church of Christ.