The Suffering Messiah

Steve Viars December 25, 2016 Psalms 22:1-31

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 “On one level, the psalm refers to some event in the life of David, probably when he was being pursued by Saul. But there is no situation recorded in Scripture where David went through trials to the degree the Psalm describes. David is going beyond himself, applying things prophetically to Christ. Thus to do justice to the Psalm, we must leave David’s experience and focus on how it applies to David’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes a death by crucifixion hundreds of years before that mode of execution was known. The details of the Psalm were fulfilled by the Son of David, Jesus the Messiah, about 1,000 years after they were written.” Pastor Steven J. Cole

3 gifts God has given you at Christmastime

I. The Gift of Certainty

A. The background of this Psalm

1 Peter 1:10-12 - As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

“David was speaking poetically and hyperbolically of His own sufferings. In God’s Sovereignty, God intended David’s suffering and God’s deliverance of Him to be a prophetic pattern of the ultimate suffering servant in the lineage of David—Jesus Christ.” Pastor Brent Aucoin

B. The way this was fulfilled in the New Testament

Psalm 22:1 - My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

Matthew 27:46 - About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Psalm 22:7 - All who see me sneer at me; they separate with the lip, they wag the head…

Mark 15:29 - Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,

Psalm 22:8 - “Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

Matthew 27:43 - “He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

Psalm 22:18 - They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

John 19:24 - So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

C. The nature of the message you’re being invited/urged to believe

Luke 2:19 - But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Isaiah 1:18 - Come now, and let us reason together…

Isaiah 1:18 - Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.

2 Peter 1:16-21 - For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

1 John 5:13 - These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

II. The Gift of Substitution

2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

A. Forsaken by God

  • Psalm 22:1a - My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
  • Psalm 22:1b - Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
  • Psalm 22:2 - O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest.
  • Psalm 22:11 - Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
  • Psalm 22:19 - But You, O Lord, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.
  • Psalm 22:3 - Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
  • Habakkuk 1:13 - Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness…

Psalm 22:14 - I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.

Philippians 2:7-8 - …emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

B. Despised by people

  • Psalm 22:6 - But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people.
  • Psalm 22:7 - All who see me sneer at me; they separate with the lip, they wag the head…
  • Psalm 22:12 - Many bulls have surrounded me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
  • Psalm 22:13 - They open wide their mouth at me, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
  • Psalm 22:16 - For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.

2 Corinthians 9:15 - Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

III. The Gift of Celebration

A. Because God is willing to meet you at the point of your suffering

Psalm 22:22 - I will tell of Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

Psalm 22:24 - For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

Hebrews 2:17-18 - Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

B. Because God can turn your heart to praise

Psalm 22:25-26 - From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever!

C. Because God can use you to impact the nations

Psalm 22:27 - All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You.

D. Because God can use you to impact the coming generations

Psalm 22:30-31 - Posterity will serve Him; it will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

Outlined Manuscript

- Well, what did you get for Christmas?...

- I’m operating on the assumption that everyone here has already opened your gifts but if not, I promise I’ll preach quickly this am…

- but I hope you’ll be able to say that you received a gift that you found to be very meaningful…something you needed or wanted or really appreciated…

- I had someone stop in the office the other day and give this incredible gift…

- if you can’t see it very well, it’s a piece of artwork made out of burlap but fashioned to look like the face of Jesus with a crown of thorns…

- it is amazingly life-like…but what I especially appreciated, and the reason this person gave it to me…

- is because it was made by a recovering drug addict who is part of a jobs training group where the products they make fund their addictions programs…

- in fact, it was actually signed by the person who made it…

- you can just picture someone trying to come off drugs or alcohol and realizing that their hope is in the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ…

- and what an appropriate Christmas gift – reminding this artist, and me, and all who will see it of the abiding presence of our crucified and risen Savior who has promised his followers that He will never leave us or forsake us…

- this person gave me this gift because his family has had a series of significant losses over the past year or so…

- and the message was – thank you for your presence…for being there for me and my family…because your presence reminded me of the presence of my Savior…

- friends – that is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given for Christmas…and while it was free to us, it cost the giver an incredibly high price…

- with that in mind, let me invite you to open your Bible to Psalm 22 this morning…that’s on page 400 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you if you need that this am…

- all year long we’ve been talking about Loving Our World…and so this Christmas we’ve focused on The Messiah to the Nations

- what did the Old Testament predict about the coming of Christ and what impact was that intended to have not just on the nation of Israel, but on every tongue and every tribe?...

- Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm if there ever was one…even if you’ve never read these words before, you’ll recognize an amazing amount of it if you know the biblical story of Easter…

- One pastor summarized these words like this - On one level, the psalm refers to some event in the life of David, probably when he was being pursued by Saul. But there is no situation recorded in Scripture where David went through trials to the degree the psalm describes. David is going beyond himself, applying things prophetically to Christ. Thus to do justice to the psalm, we must leave David’s experience and focus on how it applies to David’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes a death by crucifixion hundreds of years before that mode of execution was known. The details of the psalm were fulfilled by the Son of David, Jesus the Messiah, about 1,000 years after they were written (Pastor Steven J. Cole). 

- please think about the marvelous gift we’ve been given and the breathtaking way it was foretold as I read…read Psalm 22:1-31

- we’re talking this morning about The Suffering Messiah…and with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 gifts God has given you at Christmastime.

I. The Gift of Certainty

- can I just ask you – is this passage amazing or what?

- and it’s important for us to consider…

A. The background of this Psalm.

- we always want to interpret the Word of God in its context…

- so we’re assuming, although we are not sure that the original writer is David and he is describing an extreme episode of suffering in his own heart and life…

- but as the quote I read a moment ago mentioned…the way this was ultimately fulfilled describes a kind of torture that was unknown at the time…that of crucifixion…

- so ultimately the only way we can understand or explain prophecies like these is believing in the power of the Holy Spirit of God of God…if this is not miraculous, how else could you possibly explain it?

- perhaps these words from the apostle Peter can help us…

- 1 Peter 1:10–12 - As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

- see, they weren’t serving themselves…so much of what the OT prophesied about Christmas would have made very little sense to them…

- a virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son…

- In Bethlehem, Ephrata…

- out of Egypt I have called my Son…

- they weren’t serving themselves, but you – even the angels were not made privy to all that we now understand this side of the cross and the completion of God’s Word…

- one of the things I love about having a multiple pastor staff is that we are able to discuss these passages together – and I like a point Pastor Aucoin made as we were talking about this -- David was speaking poetically and hyperbolically of his own sufferings. In God’s Sovereignty, God intended David’s suffering and God’s deliverance of Him to be a prophetic pattern of the ultimate suffering servant in the lineage of David—Jesus Christ – Pastor Brent Aucoin.

- that certainty comes alive when we consider…

B. The way this was fulfilled in the New Testament.

- and in deference for those who have not yet opened their presents…we won’t be exhaustive here…but even if you just barely know your Bible, much of this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?...

- Psalm 22:1 - My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

- Matthew 27:46 - About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

- please think about that – David unknowingly was pointing the core of the gospel message – the substitutionary death of Christ – why?...so you could receive the gift of certainty…

- Psalm 22:7 - All who see me sneer at me; they separate with the lip, they wag the head…

- Mark 15:29 - Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,

- don’t you love the specificity of Scripture – where God’s Word not only predicts the words that will be said…but the position of the heads of the people saying them…this is quite a gift we’ve been given…

- Psalm 22:8 - “Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

- Matthew 27:43 - “He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

- those words were spoken as mockery both in David’s day and Jesus’…and what is amazing here is that wicked, unbelieving people said those words in derision while Jesus was hanging on the cross without even knowing they were quoting an OT Psalm written 1000 years ago…

- Psalm 22:18 - They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

- John 19:24 - So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

- seriously – who would have predicted this detail?...and why?...

- God is offering you friend, the gift of certainty…

- if we’ve seen anything this year, it’s been the difficulty of making accurate predictions…

- whether you like the outcome or not – we’d all say – few people predicted that one…

- right – the handful of men and women who unwaveringly stated that Donald Trump would be our next president are now being viewed with prophet-like status for nailing it 12 months in advance…

- what about someone who would have predicted that in January, AD 1016?...

- that’s what we’re talking about here – for no other reason than God wanted you to have the gift of certainty…and that tells us something about…

C. The nature of the message you’re being invited/urged to believe.

- God wants you to think about this carefully…like that delightful detail after the shepherds visited the manger and reported what the angels had said…

- Luke 2:19 - But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

- friend, if you’ve never had a definite time in your life where you placed your faith and trust in Christ as Savior and Lord…this is what God wants you to do…to ponder these things in your heart…yes, you have to believe, but the evidence for doing so is overwhelming…

- several of these prophecies we’ve been studying have been from the book of Isaiah – well, how does that book begin?... Isaiah 1:18 - Come now, and let us reason together…

- Isn’t that amazing, that God loves you, and God loves us so much that He gives us time to make up our minds coupled with amazing and overwhelming and irrefutable evidence…

- by the way, how does Isaiah 1:18 end?...

- Isaiah 1:18 - Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.

- If you’re still wrestling with all of this even at the level of whether you believe in the truthfulness and accuracy of God’s Word – can I at least ask you to do this in the coming year…examine the evidence of what the Bible is…

- I would encourage you to study God Wrote a Book by James MacDonald: God Wrote a Book

- a moment ago I quoted from Peter and what he thought about OT prophecy – here’s something else he said…2 Peter 1:16–21 - For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

- see, we’ve received the gift of certainty…

- I’m a creature of habit for sure…so I’ve been in town this week…so everyone in our church knows what day this week I prepared this message…it’s always on Tuesday…

- well, I also like to read through the Bible each year in my personal Bible study so obviously we’re at the end of the OT and NT now and it was interesting that in the plan of God, one of the passages I was scheduled to read before coming over to the church-house was Revelation chapter 20 --  which describes the Great White Throne judgement where those who have rejected the gospel will be cast in the lake of fire…

- and I realize you might say – what, now we’re going to have hellfire and brimstone preaching on Christmas Day?...

- and the answer is – yes…Jesus was willing to endure what this passage described so that you would not have to…

- but if you reject the gift that is being offered to you – make no mistake, while there is a heaven to be gained, there is also a hell to be shunned…

- and the excuse of “well, God never made it clear or understandable or clear to me” is going to ring very hollow in light of a passage like Psalm 22…

- and here’s the kind of assurance that is available to you if you will make this decision…1 John 5:13 - These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

- praise God for the gift of certainty…

- We’ve also been given…

II. The Gift of Substitution

- as we said earlier, the core of the gospel is the substituionary death of Christ…the apostle Paul would later explain it like this…

- 2 Corinthians 5:21 - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

- the amazing thing is – God explained the details of how that would be accomplished 1000 years before it occurred…

A. Forsaken by God

  • Psalm 22:1a - My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
  • Psalm 22:1b - Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
  • Psalm 22:2 -               O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest.
  • Psalm 22:11 - Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
  • Psalm 22:19 - But You, O Lord, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

- it’s impossible for us to understand the horror of the Son of God being separated from His Father…

- but that’s what was necessary…and verse 3 explains why…

  • Psalm 22:3 – Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

- and what did that holiness require while His Son bore the weight and penalty of our sin…he “became sin for us…”

  • Habakkuk 1:13 - Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness…

- the Son had to be forsaken by the Father…

- of course there is everything else that accompanied His death…

- Psalm 22:14 - I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.

- and it’s fascinating when you consider that Jesus knew this kind of payment was going to be required 1000 years – and certainly much longer – that it actually occurred…

- it’s one thing to have to endure pain – it’s something else to have that knowledge well in advance…

- you may have noticed that I had some kind of growth under my eye recently…from a distance it kind of looked like a black eye where maybe we had a rough deacons meeting or something…

- well, actually, it turned out to be a clogged oil duct that kept getting bigger and bigger under my eye…so the doctor and her nurse eventually looked at it and gave me several treatment options including just draining it…

- and I’m not going to be one of those men who exaggerates his illnesses and medical problems…but this was kind of like…open heart surgery…

- but it was interesting that when I chose to have it drained, the nurse went out and gathered up the tools they were  going to use…and when she came back she said – you probably don’t want to look at this tray…in other words, it’s best if you don’t know…

- well friends...Jesus knew…He knew for generations and generations…and the Scripture is clear…Jesus did this Himself…

- Philippians 2:7–8 - …emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

- He knew what was going to be required – and every one of those interactions we read about in the gospels should be read through that lens…

- for example…all the crazy things Peter said – yet Jesus responded patiently even knowing the death that was going to be required to pay for such sinful speech…

- and the beauty was and is – because Jesus was willing to be forsaken of the Father – if you’ve trusted Christ you will never have to endure that…

- please think about all the times this year when the presence of God has been your closest treasure and your great hope…

- where you’ve reminded yourself – God has promised never to leave me or forsake me…

- I’m secure in the Father’s hand and no one can take me out…

- I’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise until the day of redemption…

- nothing can separate me from the love of Christ…

- sometimes the pain was so great perhaps all you could do was cry out Abba, Father…

- papa, daddy…

- and that’s what got your through…

- that kind of uninterrupted intimacy with the Father was secured by a payment prophesied 1000 years in advance…

B. Despised by people.

  • Psalm 22:6 - But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people.
  • Psalm 22:7 - All who see me sneer at me; they separate with the lip, they wag the head…
  • Psalm 22:12 - Many bulls have surrounded me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
  • Psalm 22:13 - They open wide their mouth at me, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
  • Psalm 22:16 - For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.

- that’s just a sampling of what Christ was willing to do on our behalf…and that is exactly the way it happened in the gospel accounts…

- but what does that in turn mean for us?...what are the two most precious things about this day for you?...

- the fellowship you have with your God…and the fellowship you will have with your family and friends…

- that’s exactly what Christ was willing to give up…so that we could have it in abundance…

- as Paul said…2 Corinthians 9:15 - Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

- so what are we able to do as a result of this?...to follow in the footsteps of the Psalmist whose words change dramatically in verse 22…we have the gift of certainty, and the gift of substitution and then ultimately we have…

III. The Gift of Celebration

A. Because God is willing to meet you at the point of your suffering.

- Because Jesus was willing to quote and more importantly endure Psalm 22:1, you and I will never have to.

- Psalm 22:22 - I will tell of Your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

- Psalm 22:24 - For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

- time doesn’t allow us to look at the way this passage is quoted in Hebrews chapter 2…but you might to look at that after all the festivities die down…

- because it explains how amazing it is that after the resurrection…now Jesus calls us His brothers and His sisters…and here’s why…

- Hebrews 2:17–18 - Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

- and I know there will be many here today who can point back to a time this year of severe suffering, or severe temptation…

- and testify to this…Jesus came to your aide…in ways big and small…in ways that are almost hard to put into words…

- let’s celebrate that today – a God who is willing to meet us at the point of our suffering…that’s quite a Christmas gift…

B. Because God can turn your heart to praise.

- Psalm 22:25–26 - From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever!

- don’t you love that phrase – the afflicted will eat and be satisfied?...

- this explains a lot of what we are trying to do in our community…

- accept the gift – embrace the gift – and share the gift…

- and I want to thank you for the many ways you seek to do that as a church family…

- we are forever receiving notes and messages from people in our community…I should probably do a better job of sharing them with you…

- [read the e-mail from the woman thanking us for making space available for Pete’s Pals and the Red Cross disaster shelter]

- my family and I have the privilege of knowing some of the dear people in our town who have special needs and by God’s grace…a number of them have placed their faith and trust in Christ…

- how does this message impact them – this same Jesus is now preparing a place for them…where the phrase “special needs” doesn’t exist…

- thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to them…

- [if time, also develop the number of people from the community corrections program who have come to Christ – cf, the afflicted will eat and be satisfied]

- how does this impact our annual theme?...

C. Because God can use you to impact the nations.

- Psalm 22:27 - All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You.

- [if time, describe the beautiful apartment building on Schuyler Ave we were just given]

- [develop what has been happening in the DR – and Olga’s commitment to minister the Word of God -- point is – the Lord wants these gifts to be made available to orphans in the DR]

D. Because God can use you to impact the coming generations.

- something else to celebrate is when we see young children embrace Christ…

- Psalm 22:30–31 - Posterity will serve Him; it will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

- thank those who have served in Christmas ministries this year…

- cf. the joy of seeing children come through the LN…

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video