Faith Chapel

The Suffering Messiah

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: William Shea


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000378

00:30 My name is William Shea, I'm a retired seminary professor,
00:33 welcome to Faith Chapel.
00:36 Our topic today is the suffering servant of Psalm 22.
00:41 Lets pray as we begin.
00:43 Our loving heavenly Father we ask You to give us a deeper
00:47 understanding of the sufferings of Christ as we study this
00:51 prophetic text about what He went through for us. Help us to
00:55 understand Your love for us through this text, we ask now
00:59 for the guidance of Your Holy Spirit in Jesus name. Amen.
01:06 Psalm 22 played an interesting part in the discussions between
01:10 Jews and Christians in the early part of the Christian era.
01:14 The Rabbi said Jesus of Nazareth could not have been the Messiah
01:21 of prophecy, or God's Messiah, because He died hanging on a
01:25 cross or hanging on a tree and if you look at certain texts
01:29 in Deuteronomy and Joshua you'll see that the person who dies
01:33 hanging on a cross or a tree is cursed and they said their
01:38 argument was God would never curse His own Son or His Messiah
01:43 The Christians who respond to this argument use this text that
01:48 we will study today Psalm 22 because it describes in
01:53 prophetic terms the sufferings of the Messiah when He was to
01:56 come to earth.
01:58 Now according to the title of the Psalm and I tend to take
02:00 these as generally historically accurate.
02:03 This text was written by David and you probably recall that
02:08 David lived about 1,000 years before Jesus so here He's
02:14 functioning in a particular way. We often thing of David as a
02:18 great military leader, great king, a great musician, a great
02:24 poet, but we seldom think of David as the prophet but in this
02:28 case he serves as a prophet. Now how do we know that?
02:33 Well, this first half of the Psalm we'll study in detail
02:37 talks about suffering.
02:39 And people who study the Psalms carefully study them to find out
02:44 what is known as a setting in life.
02:46 Out of what experience does this Psalm come and David never had
02:51 to go through sufferings like this and so we know that this is
02:56 a text about an experience above and beyond that of David.
03:00 Its a prophetic text which looked forward to the coming of
03:04 Messiah in rather uncomfortable terms.
03:08 Now there's different ways people can suffer.
03:11 You can suffer mentally, or you can suffer physically.
03:16 And mental anguish can be just as intense as physical pain of
03:21 broken bone, sometimes more so.
03:23 I illustrate this with the experience of a friend who
03:28 during the Christmas season was driving west from Michigan
03:32 to Nebraska to visit the family. The roads were icy and snowy and
03:37 he came to a bridge where he had to make a sharp left turn
03:41 unfortunately because of the icy road his car slid into the
03:45 abutment of the bridge on the right hand side.
03:48 And he had a number of broken bones and was in the hospital
03:51 recovering from that but the much sadder part of it was
03:56 his teenage son was sitting in the seat next to him and he
04:00 was killed when the car hit that abutment.
04:05 Now as you think of him laying in that hospital bed you can
04:09 think of one suffering pain from broken bones and that was true
04:13 but the mental anguish of knowing that he was driving when
04:17 his son was killed was far greater than any broken bone
04:20 that he had to suffer.
04:22 So as we look at this Psalm we see the Psalm divides in halve.
04:26 The first half is about suffering and the second half is
04:30 the results of what comes of that suffering and then when you
04:33 take the suffering section that in turn divides in half
04:37 and we have the mental anguish of the suffering servant and
04:42 then we have the physical experience as he hung on the
04:46 cross and experienced this prophetic text.
04:49 So now lets look at the first two verses as we start with this
04:53 Psalm. There are verses which you recognize.
05:15 You know this text very well but probably not from Psalm 22.
05:19 These are words which Jesus spoke from the cross and when He
05:24 spoke them from the cross He spoke them in the Aramaic
05:28 language which He was using at that time and the gospels quote
05:31 the Aramaic that He used for this statement.
05:34 'My God my God why hast thou forsaken me?'
05:38 So you can see the experience of abandonment that Jesus
05:42 went through as He hung on the cross.
05:45 What had brought him to this, notice that it also says that
05:48 He cries out day and night. If you remember the sufferings of
05:52 Jesus didn't just begin when He was hung on the cross when He
05:56 was crucified but they started the night before in the garden
06:00 of Gethsemane at night as they came to seize Him and He was
06:04 already sweating great drops of blood as He anguished over
06:07 the price that He had to pay for the ransom and redemption of
06:14 the human race, then we look next to verses 3 and 4.
06:44 Now there were many times in the old testament experience when
06:47 the fathers of Israel cried to God for deliverance but there's
06:50 one time in particular and we think about the exodus from
06:54 Egypt. The people had been in Egypt for four centuries and
06:58 the last end was the worst, they were suffering the most and they
07:02 cried out to God for deliverance and God sent Moses as the
07:06 deliverer to bring them out of Egypt.
07:07 Its interesting to see that that happened at Passover time.
07:11 And the fulfillment of this prophecy of suffering in terms
07:16 of the experience of the Messiah also happened at Passover time.
07:20 And the lesson that the Messiah is bringing out is as He
07:23 reflects towards God is, look you delivered the fathers why
07:28 don't you deliver me as I'm going through this anguish and
07:32 I'm going through this suffering He calls out for deliverance.
07:38 Then there's a reflection internally again in the next
07:41 two or three verses.
08:13 You recall from the gospel accounts that the people as they
08:16 walked by scorn Jesus and it gives us the words which they
08:21 used and they said, if your the Son of God come down from the
08:25 cross, as they mocked him. He could have done that but if He
08:30 had done so, our salvation would be lost and so He agreed with
08:36 God in the garden of Gethsemane to drink the cup of suffering
08:40 that He was going through, so the gospels give the account
08:44 of how Jesus was scorned as He hung on the cross.
08:49 Our next section is verses 9-11.
09:16 In this passage we reflect back to what we call the first
09:18 Christmas and we have the Christmas story and the birth of
09:22 Jesus, the nativity, the narrative in the gospels
09:25 especially Matthew and Luke. And we see what a great
09:30 experience it was, the angels were there the wise men were
09:33 there, the shepherds were there and there was rejoicing among
09:37 angels and astonishment among the shepherds and the wise men
09:42 came to praise this new born king and so in that case
09:46 we see the special care that God exercised over His servant
09:52 at the time when He was born and so the lesson now is if you took
09:57 such good care of me at the time of my birth why is it that I
10:01 need to suffer now in this terrible way?
10:05 There's a little prayer at the end there at the last verse
10:09 Be thou not far from me for trouble is at hand and as we
10:14 come later through the Psalm we come to a longer prayer as we
10:19 read more. Now we move on to the physical sufferings.
10:39 In this case the picture of the enemies of Christ as they gather
10:43 around the cross it uses the metaphor of animals and animals
10:47 ferocious animals with an open mouth ready to devour but this
10:54 is just the preliminary stage looking foreword to what's going
10:57 to happen. These animals are ready to attack but they have
11:01 not yet attacked but when they do attack we now read of the
11:06 sufferings which follow in verses 14 and 15.
11:32 There's several physical aspects that are described here, we may
11:40 recall that Jesus said on the cross I thirst, one of the seven
11:43 sayings of Jesus on the cross, you recall they gave Him the
11:47 vinegar sponge which He rejected and probably this thirst was not
11:51 just because He hadn't had a drink for a while but probably
11:55 physiologically speaking he was in shock. He'd already lost
11:59 a fair amount of blood from the scourging and as His blood
12:04 vessels expanded the blood volume and blood pressure
12:08 dropped this brings on thirst, thirst is a symptom of shock.
12:14 And Jesus is expressing this as He feels these physical symptoms
12:18 but in addition here we have His heart being poured out like wax
12:22 We have the interesting experience or the interesting
12:26 description of the Roman soldier when they came out on late
12:32 Friday afternoon to find out if Jesus was dead and he thrust the
12:36 spear into His side and when he pulls the spear out both blood
12:42 and water come out. Its always puzzled me that many of the
12:46 classical artists have painted this scene painted the spear
12:51 cast into the right side of the chest rather then the left side.
12:53 Now there is a medical condition known as the pericardial fusion
12:58 There's a sack around the heart and this can fill up with fluid.
13:03 Usually what we would call serum and so if you drive a spear
13:08 into the left chest you'd drive it through the pericardial sack
13:11 were the serum is and into the cavity the heart and then as its
13:15 withdrawn these come out and they look like blood and water
13:19 which actually physiologically we'd say blood and serum.
13:23 And so we have the thirst of Jesus we have the blood and
13:28 serum that's going on within his chest cavity as He experiences
13:33 this agony on the cross.
13:38 Crucifixion was designed by the Romans to be a slow lingering
13:42 death intentionally because you see they wanted to teach the
13:47 public a lesson as a person hung on a cross for days and days
13:51 suffering through it all the lesson was, don't you rebel
13:55 against Rome or this will happen to you.
13:58 Its surprising that we haven't found more skeletons of persons
14:03 who were crucified but finally in 1968 a skeleton of a
14:10 crucified man was indeed found in Israel.
14:13 There were a number of crucifixion events for instance
14:17 under the son of Herod named Archelaus whose mentioned in
14:21 Matthew when Jesus went down to Egypt as a child and there was
14:27 a revolt against him and the Romans came in to put it down
14:30 and they ringed the city of Jerusalem with crucified people.
14:33 And the revolt of the slaves in Roman in 63 B.C. they
14:41 crucified the slaves up and down the Apian Way so that as people
14:45 traversed this highway they would see these retches
14:48 hanging there and see what happened to people who
14:51 transgressed against Rome or rebelled against Rome.
14:54 Well this skeleton of this man which was found in a tomb
14:58 on the north side of Jerusalem. We know he was crucified because
15:02 one of the spikes is still there its corroded but it was pierced
15:08 into his heel bone sideways. Sometimes we see pictures of
15:12 Jesus crucified with the spike in the dorsum of His foot
15:16 but in this case and probably more commonly the spike was put
15:20 through the heel bone and so the two heel bones were pinned
15:24 against the side of the cross. Now at one time of my life
15:29 I worked for the Santa Fe railroad hospital in Los Angeles
15:33 and we used to have men from the railroad that would come in
15:36 with that injury. A broken heel bone. They would jump
15:39 down off a railroad car onto the track and crack that bone
15:43 and that was considered to be a very serious injury and they
15:48 usually signed off work for about a year.
15:50 And so here's Jesus with a spike driven through His heel bone
15:54 and you can think of the pain He received as each pounding of
16:00 that spike to pin Him to that cross.
16:02 Now the other spikes are missing but there's a scratch on the
16:10 head of one of his wrist bones and so from this they have
16:15 speculated that probably the nails for the crucifixion of
16:20 the arms were put through the wrist joint rather than through
16:23 the dorsum of the hand and so this is the experience that
16:28 Jesus had to go through as He suffered hanging on the cross.
16:32 Verses 16-18 give us a continuation of this.
16:59 You'll notice the reference to the piercing of the hands and
17:02 feet as we've just described as it is known from this skeleton
17:09 from this crucified man, in addition it says they cast lots
17:15 for my garments and we have that experience described in all four
17:19 of the gospels as the Roman soldiers gambled for the
17:22 garments of Jesus while He was languishing and dying on the
17:26 cross another interesting little archeological illustration of
17:30 this, in the barracks in the pavement of the barracks of the
17:35 Roman soldiers there's a place where they scratched a game
17:38 on the floor, they used to play this game so they were
17:51 accustomed illustrating their use of games and gambling
17:55 and so forth. The Roman barracks were located at the north end
17:56 of the temple area because they wanted to look down on the
18:02 temple area in case any riot would occur there and in fact
18:08 in the case of Paul when the riot took place towards the end
18:11 of the book of Acts, they came streaming down the steps into
18:14 the temple area to grab him and take him back up into the
18:16 barracks, that building today is a Muslim school but across the
18:20 street is a church with is run by these sisters of Zion
18:26 and in that church is the pavement in the gospel of John
18:29 and its called Gabbatha. The pavement on which Pilot met the
18:34 Rabbis and its there that this game is scratched as the
18:37 Roman soldiers wiled away their time and at the cross on their
18:41 duty they wiled away their time as He was languishing by
18:46 gambling over His garments.
18:48 Verses 19-21 tell us a final reflection in prayer.
19:17 If I may translate that last word a little more accurately
19:19 it really is the word for wild ox and the word for the wild
19:23 ox or the picture of a wild ox is very appropriate for
19:27 crucifixion because you can think of the horns of the wild
19:29 ox and the person who is crucified on them so here's
19:33 another picture. Now the first picture of the physical
19:36 suffering you remember the wild animals are ready to attack
19:40 now at the end of this section which describes the physical
19:43 sufferings of what Christ went through on the cross. Now we
19:48 we have the wild animals have attacked and this is the way
19:53 in which they have attacked so we have a reflection back and
19:57 forth from the use of this metaphor of these wild animals
20:00 for the picture of those who were persecuting Christ
20:03 physically at the time of the crucifixion then His feelings
20:07 physically of what He's going through then a reflection back
20:12 and finally comes this final prayer that we just read.
20:19 The final appeal you may recall the earlier prayer was just a
20:23 brief prayer now here's the longer prayer and so we have
20:26 several questions that come out of this, first of all of this
20:30 intense suffering what was the result? What happened?
20:34 Well the very first thing that happened is it says back earlier
20:38 you may recall the passage it says thou doest lay me in the
20:43 dust of death. That is to say the person who went through
20:47 these sufferings went all the way through these sufferings
20:50 to die. Now the second question is did it accomplish anything?
20:57 What's the result? What happened?
20:59 And that's what we get to in the
21:02 second section of the Psalm. You see when I've heard sermons
21:05 on Psalm 22 this is where the sermon stopped verse 21.
21:09 But there's another section of the Psalm and the story of the
21:14 sufferings of Christ is incomplete without that
21:17 prophetic picture. The prophetic picture we have looked at in the
21:21 first half of the Psalm happened back then on the cross but the
21:25 prophetic picture in the future is what we find in the last
21:29 part of the Psalm and so what happens is we see this suffering
21:33 servant reappear but now he appears glorified and he's
21:39 glorified and praised and honored by different groups of
21:44 people as they cluster around him and we might pause a
21:49 setting for this. If you think about Jesus leading the host of
21:55 the redeemed up to the gates of the New Jerusalem ready to swing
22:00 those gates open wide for them. Think about the final gathering
22:04 as their about to go into the city and what a day of rejoicing
22:08 that will be. We read about that or we read about a setting that
22:13 looks like that particular event in the next verses then the last
22:18 half of the Psalm and we'll start now with verses 22-23.
22:41 Now we have a very distinct identification seed of Israel
22:46 the seed of Jacob, so these are Jews.
22:48 The nuclear congregation if you want to put it that way,
22:52 of this group that were gathered around the suffering servant
22:55 now raised and glorified are Jews and when you think of the
23:00 whole plan of redemption as it was carried out through the old
23:04 testament, we think of the saints of all the ages, and we
23:09 think of the list of the saints that we find in Hebrews 11
23:13 the patriarchs of faith all the way down that line.
23:16 We see them as the nuclear congregation but there's more
23:20 people that are added to them and that we read in the next
23:23 verse, 24.
23:41 Now the question that the first part of the Psalm poses is
23:44 Did God ever hear Him? Did God ever answer that prayer? Was He
23:50 totally abandoned? And the answer is no He was not
23:52 abandoned. God really was there with him as Jesus went through
23:57 the suffering on the cross. God was there beside Him and God
24:01 heard His prayer and God answered His prayer.
24:04 Now we have a new group that comes to view.
24:30 again we now have the nuclear Group of Jews has been expanded
24:35 to take in the Gentiles and the Gentiles spread the gospel to
24:39 other parts of the world telling of what the Son of man
24:43 accomplished in His death on the cross and then there's
24:47 another group and we read about them.
25:13 You see its clear that we have the Gentiles taken in now
25:16 because we have the ends of the earth, the islands of the sea
25:20 recently on this network we had a report by a missionary
25:27 on the Solomon Islands of the marvelous things God is doing
25:30 among the Solomon Islanders if you measure the distance from
25:34 Israel I suppose its at least 8 or 10 thousand miles what the
25:38 suffering servant accomplished on the cross in the year A.D. 31
25:43 has its affects even today in the Solomon Islands 10,000
25:47 miles away.
25:50 So we have the results, the nuclear congregation, the Jews
25:54 gathered around Jesus in this great congregation, then the
25:58 Gentiles are gathered in, and then the expansion of the
26:01 Gentiles goes even farther. But we have two more groups that are
26:05 described now.
26:26 We're talking about another group here. We're talking about
26:29 the group who die. A group who have died but have come back
26:34 to worship and glorify and honor and suffering servant.
26:39 In order for this group to come out of the grave they need to
26:42 have a resurrection and so there's an implicit idea of a
26:48 resurrection that those who have died will also come out of the
26:51 grave to honor the suffering servant.
26:54 And then there's one final group.
27:25 We want to place a little emphasis on that final statement
27:26 but now we look first at this group a generation that will yet
27:30 be born. So you see we have three geographical groups
27:35 we start with a nuclear group of Jews that lived in Israel
27:38 we go beyond that to the Gentiles brought in, we go
27:41 to the ends of the earth, with all the gathering in and then
27:45 we finally come to this final statement as they stand before
27:49 the Lamb and they say it is finished he has done it
27:55 also words from the cross.


Revised 2014-12-17