“Looking to Jesus – Who, for the Joy, Endured”

Sermon Outline avl HERE.

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises[a] of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
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!”

Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
    you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10 On you was I cast from my birth,
    and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Be not far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and there is none to help.

12 Many bulls encompass me;
    strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
    like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
    it is melted within my breast;
15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs encompass me;
    a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet[b]
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
    O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dog!
21     Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued[c] me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
    my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted[d] shall eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek him shall praise the Lord!
    May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the Lord,
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
    before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
    even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
    that he has done it.


Pastor Thom Rittichier
We’re going to be taking a look at, well, something that I’m going to picture for you. It’s a picture that’s frequently used. So I have a picture here. It’s a picture that shows the road ahead. And, actually, there’s two. There’s two pictures I have here. The first one, sits in my office. As a matter of fact, that’s a picture of my wall and the picture of the picture that sits on my wall. And it is a picture of a road ahead scene that I keep in the office, as a reminder to me, and as a picture for the folks who often come to see me in situations of counseling. When I prep, for counseling sessions, I will see this picture right across from me. And the road ahead is immediately visible, but it looks like it’s going downhill. And the weather is obviously uncertain in this picture, a lot of dark clouds that are overhead. There are some light spots ahead. But if you can see it, which is hard to see in this picture of a picture, the road turns and where it’s going, we don’t really know. And it’s kind of good for me to go over this as I interact with folks, because this is often the frame of reference that they have, as they’re looking at the road ahead.

Now, I have another picture this morning. And this picture is also about the road ahead. And it’s a picture of the road ahead from Psalm 22. And I’m going to ask you to turn there to Psalm number 22 this morning. Here’s the picture that I’m using for this. It’s a picture that’s often used to get the impression of when the bible talks like this. And it does talk like this frequently. The picture is the road ahead. And there is this initial stuff, right here in front of us, that we have. And then we see the road ahead has another peak that’s down the road a little bit. And down the road a little bit, some of the road disappears, but then there’s another peak and then finally another peak again after road disappears. Now the Psalm that we’ll look at today is a Psalm that David wrote. And David had his immediate experience that was part and parcel of this Psalm. But where he is really looking, as will become evident to us, is down the road in the prophetic future that God was unfolding to him. And the picture that we have there, well let me present it this way. Who do you know said this, Eli Eli lema sabachthani? Which means, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me. He said it in Aramaic because that was the language of the people. And the Bible gives us the Aramaic and it gives us the English there. This is a Psalm about Jesus and the prophetic future that David from his circumstance had part experience of but he sees down the road that this is the Messiah. By the way, who is it that said that, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? It was Jesus. It was Jesus on the cross. And we, from where we’re at now, see that road in the picture to the cross. But this Psalm doesn’t end there. This Psalm takes us through Jesus experience on the cross. And it takes us to another future point that it wants us to see, though we can’t see all the road to getting there. We do see this, a post resurrection Jesus. And another picture at verse 22, of Psalm 22. In the midst of the congregation of his brothers, he does this. And there is a joy that is present there.

This Psalm covers all of that. Now, it’s 31 verses long. Charles Spurgeon had a guy who wrote a book called The Cross of Christ. And he took Psalm 22 and preached a message on every one of the 31 of the verses, 31 message. I’m not going to do that. We’re going to look at this Psalm in two messages. This morning, we’re going to look at the first part of Psalm 22, verses 1 through 21. And then we’ll take a look, next week, at the second part of Psalm 22, verses 22 through 31. Now the reason I’m titling this message “Looking to Jesus Who for the Joy Endured” is because the Psalm is directing us to look to Jesus. In Hebrews we’re told that same thing. He says because there have been a lot of folks who were believers before us, he just listed them for us in Hebrews chapter 11, then Hebrews chapter 12, at verse two, he tells us about our life, to do this, Looking to Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, the joy this Psalm talks about, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, he went through what is described here, despising or thinking lightly of this shame. And he sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him, it goes on to say. So this morning, what we’re going to be doing is looking at the first part. And we’re going to be looking at the enduring that Christ went through, the enduring of the cross.

Now I want you to know that I did not write this Psalm. If you’re with me in Psalm 22, you can see what the headings says. It says to the choirmaster: according to the Doe of Dawn. That evidently is the tone that this poem was to be presented with, the melody or the tune that it was to go with. It’s a Psalm of David. David wrote this poem. I do want you to know, however, that according to 2 Timothy 4:2, it is my calling to preach the word, to proclaim this Psalm like it is. And it’s a difficult Psalm. It’s not hard to track. You can track what goes on here pretty easily. It’s a Psalm of lament. It’s a Psalm that is a compassionate, passion filled cry of grief and sorrow. That’s what the first part of this Psalm is. It’s a lament Psalm about the prophetic future of the Messiah, of Jesus. That’s how this was written. And it was written centuries and centuries and centuries before Jesus was on the planet. And yet is exceedingly accurate, not only of what he experienced internally, and what goes on here is a great deal of revealing of what Jesus went through on the cross. As a matter of fact, it’s difficult because of that, and it makes you think, Jesus thought that, he thought this, this went through his heart. This was what was occupying his mind. And not only does it go to the internal, it goes to the external of what was done to him, over which he was not controlling the actions directly of the other people. They did this to him. That’s what makes it a difficult Psalm. It is difficult to grasp him going through this. And in some of the places, we’re going to say, Jesus thought that. And he did. He did. This is beyond David, this is more than David had to say. 15 times in the New Testament, this Psalm is referenced directly, or alluded to, concerning Jesus Christ. Primarily around the cross but also after the cross, in his post resurrection interaction with his people. No, I did not write this Psalm. But it needs to be presented just like it is.

Tracking this Psalm is pretty easy. Verses 1 through 18 talks about when God is gone from you, when he is gone, God is gone. Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning, he doesn’t turn. But he forsook Jesus, and God is gone. I’m going to draw a parallel. Because sometimes God is gone from people’s lives today. Second, we’re going to take a look at when God becomes present again. And what that is and what that brings. Now, talking to a well seasoned believer, who served the Lord in chaplain ministry for many years about doing this Psalm, said to me, You have to go through Psalm 22, Jesus on the cross, to get to Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd. That’s true. This had to happen, for you and for me, to have a shepherd.

So we’re going to do this. When God is gone. It starts out here with where the mind goes, back and forth in this Psalm. There is the thinking, moving, of Jesus. The Psalm writer unfolds it. His mind keeps going, and he’s thinking this and experiencing that. And then he thinks this. And that’s how this keeps going, back and forth. And it’s easy to track. It’s just very difficult to conceive of it happening. So where the mind goes, when God is gone. It goes where it can only go when the eternal and the forever is gone. The only thing we can look at is the present. That’s what happens when God is gone. And this is how it happens for Jesus. Verse 1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It’s a question that he presents here. The thinking that is going on is why And he’s doing it with groaning, as a matter of fact, the New American Standard says the translation literally of that word is scream. You know, the movie Scream? Do you remember that? That’s what this is expressing. It’s expressing the scream of WHY? Why have you forsaken me, abandoned me? Gone! I’m alone! Why? Why are you so far from rescuing me, from the words of my scream? That’s the thinking and the experience. No answer. No rest. Verse 2, O my god, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. The dark, the light. Same. I can’t get an answer. Now I have a question for you. When God asks a question, does he not know the answer? When He called to Adam and Eve, Where are you? Did He not know? Did you eat the fruit? Did He not know that? He knew it. How about this with Job. Where were you, Job, when I laid the foundations of the earth? Did He not know where Job was? Of course He knew. How about this. Jesus takes out a coin and holds it up. And he asks, Whose image is on the coin? Did He not know? Obvious, isn’t it? Of course He knew. What’s He doing? He’s bringing an acknowledgement home to the heart. He’s bringing something that we need to be aware of, Jesus in this hour. Matthew 27:45-46 reads like this, “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.” The way that the Jews kept their time the sixth hour was 12 noon and the ninth hour was three o’clock in the afternoon. There was darkness over the land this entire time, from 12 pm to 3 pm, dark, night dark. “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?” This statement of question is for us to acknowledge what’s going on here in this darkness. He is absolutely God forsaken. God is gone! He is gone. The source of all life and every good gift is gone. And his experience, like for everyone when God is gone, there’s no answer. And there’s no rest.

You ever have restless nights? Something going on, in your mind, and it keeps you going and going and going, like the Energizer Bunny. But unlike the Energizer Bunny, you want to be shutting down. But it keeps going. I’ve had that. I’ve had times of pushing God away. As a matter of fact, when I was a kid, through the influence of my mom primarily but also just being a kid, and hearing about God, I would be outside and thinking of creation and God and wondering, why are the birds afraid of me? Because God put the fear in them. Oh, okay. That’s what the Book of Genesis says. And then when I got older, I began to push away that idea, just like Romans chapter 1 talks about, Although they had the knowledge of God, they did not like to retain it. And they suppressed, they pushed away from their life, the knowledge of God, they pushed it away. God is gone, sometimes for people here, and it’s the same thing. Matter of fact, he’s taking this because that is the same thing that we have when God has gone. Because we push him away.

From that present experience, his mind moves to the past circumstances. Verse 3, “Yet you are Holy”. His thinking is this. And this is how this goes, over and over, the thinking that he’s going through and the experience that he’s having. The thinking that he’s going through, however, is this, Lord, God, you’re Holy, you’re a cut above, you are distinct, you are different, you are together. Unlike us down here on earth, you are enthroned, or you dwell, this is where your habitation is, in the praises of Israel. That’s where you live. What they lift up to you, Israel in their songs of praise and thanksgiving that you inhabit, because that’s where you live. That’s who you are there to them. And his thinking is to the past circumstances that he’s known when God wasn’t gone. And his experience, as he looks back at that, is verse 4, “In you our fathers trusted, they trusted, and you rescued them, you delivered them”. Verse 5, “To you they cried, and were rescued, in you they trusted and were not put to shame.” There was no embarrassment, you came through. And that’s where his mind goes, with this anticipation of a hope, because that’s who you have been. That’s who you are now. And even though He’s gone, he knows that registers from his past. He knows it.

From the past circumstances, now we move again to the present. Here’s the present perspective. However, notice this, this is Jesus. Verse 6, “But I am a worm and not a man”. Jesus, who said to these guys, I AM, before Abraham was, I AM. And they took up stones to stone him. And here he says, I’m a worm and not a man. Do you know how many worms are out there? When I go bike riding on a wet day, there are so many worms on the road going across. I think that they think, When the pavements wet, I can get across here. Because as soon as it dries, you know what’s going to happen to them? They’re going to dry up with it. And when I ride, when it’s wet like that, because my bike doesn’t have any fenders on it, I have wormy goop on my bike and on my back. They’ve been called the intestines of the earth. And they are a valuable thing. But it’s a worm and pretty well disregarded, unless you’re trying to go fishing. Jesus statement, I’m a worm. Why did he do that? It was because he was correct in his perception of the peoples treatment and interaction with him. This is his experience. Look, verse 6-8, “scorned by mankind, and despised by the people. 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, let the Lord rescue him, for he delights in him!” Now folks, I want you to know that that experience from people was quite literally gone through by Jesus. Let me go to Matthew chapter 27 again. I would like you to hear this. Matthew 27:38-43, “Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right hand, one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads, and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ So also the chief priests and the scribes and the elders mocked him, saying, ‘He saved others, he can’t save himself. He is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God, let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, I am the Son of God.” When he’s down, step on him. he’s a worm. “And the robbers who were crucified with Him, also reviled him in the same way”, Matthew 27:44. Literally actions from other people, and it was his experience. His mind going to the present circumstances.

Then the past perspective moves to the present again. “Yet”, verses 9-10, “you are he who took me from the womb, you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” His thinking is, long, long I have known God’s presence, long He’s been here with me. Long I have known this interaction, long I have had His direction, His fellowship, His presence with me, it’s been long. And the experience now, verse 11, “Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help”. Now God is gone. God is gone. And there is no protection. There is no benefit. There is no security. He’s just gone. Some people, Romans 1, pushing God away like I did. And he’s gone. God gives them over. He gives them over to the desires of their own heart. They say, Go away, get away. And he gives them over. I was there. Kent State University, during the day, I would argue with other students that God did not exist. And during the night, when things came to my mind, I would pray to him. Was I confused? That’s where this goes, when God is gone. To a mind that doesn’t work, right. That’s what Romans one describes. It becomes a deprived mind. It’s lacking something. That’s where it goes when God is pushed out. And he’s gone. And he is gone from some people’s lives. He’s alienated to them. He’s an alien. He is an alien. They are alien to the life of God. It’s like he’s a complete foreigner, that talks another language, that lives in a different culture, a different world. That’s what it is when God is gone. And if he is gone, when they pass from this life, then hear what the Bible says. Those who do not know God, and do not obey the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, that He died on this cross, for God being gone from people’s lives. If they do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, then listen to 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, these will pay the penalty of ever lasting destruction, away from the presence of the Lord, He will be gone. And the power of his might, that is hell. When God is gone, it is hell, and there is no hope. And there is no escape. And it will never ever, ever change. Never! When God is pushed away, and he’s gone, he’s gone. I’ve said that with an intensity that’s in my heart, and it’s hopefully not to back you up. But to let you know that this is real, that God is gone. I was in that state. God was gone. And there was no help. I went to the University thinking I was going to find purpose and meaning in life. And I found a bunch of people running around with God gone too. That’s what I found. So I just decided I would choose my own. Like Viktor Frankl promotes in his book that’s world renowned, Man’s Search For Meaning. Viktor Frankl says, choose your own, just choose it. So that’s what I did. And God was still gone. And he’s gone from people’s lives today when they push away the truth, where the eyes go. That was the mind of Jesus.

That was the mind of Jesus that we just went through. Here is the eye of Jesus as he looks at his circumstances here. These are the circumstances, he looks first at the people around, and there is descriptive presentation here. This is descriptive, very descriptive. And then he looks at the physical affliction, giving the detail now of this. He details it, what he’s experiencing physically. And then, the perpetrator’s actions taken against him, what’s done here. First, people around. Verse 12, “Many bulls encompass me. Strong bulls of Bashan surround me.” Bashan was an area in the East Jordan that had very plush vegetation and the animals that were raised there, were well nourished, and they were vigorous and strong. And this is what he sees. Have you ever seen the movie Lion King? Have you ever seen the part where the hyenas start to go around and around? That’s the picture. It’s the picture of this pack of dogs that are going around him with an intent. These are strong dogs. They’re strong individuals. When he’s talking about a dog, he’s talking about individuals. Now we have a dog. And we take care of our dog. And I like our dog. Matter of fact, my granddaughter the other day said to me, Why do you like him? I said, It’s fun. Can I tell you this morning when I came out of my study to come here, our dog was laying right at my door. He’d been waiting there for me ever since I went in. He always likes to see me. I come home and he’s jumping up and down. And he runs around like crazy. Okay, I like our dog. But you know, there are some mangy critters around too. And when he’s talking about the dogs, he’s referencing those kinds of dogs that ran around in the dump yard there, the mangy critters, the ones that were base and contemptible. And when Jesus says this, he’s talking about these strong prowling dogs. Verse 13, “They open their mouths at me, like a ravenous and roaring lion.” This is his eyes. This is his perception, a ravenous lion is one that is ready to tear apart, to gobble it up and rip it. It’s roaring. It’s on the hunt.

Notice, physical affliction, verse 14-15, “I am poured out like water”. This is the profuse perspiration that happens under the physical duress of crucifixion. He was there. He was on the cross. By the time it became noon it went dark, profuse perspiration, “all my bones are out of joint”. This is hanging suspended. “My heart” with its palpitations, its fluttering “is like wax, it is melted within my breast, my strength, my energy, is dried up like a piece of clay pot, my tongue sticks to my jaw, you lay me in the dust of death.”, physical affliction. I liked to share with you a quote that was written by C. I. Scofield, he did a good job with this. Some of you may be familiar with that. He said this and I quote him from the New Scofield Refernce Bible, Oxford University Press 1967. “Psalm 22 is a graphic picture of death by crucifixion. The bones of the hands, the arms, the shoulders and the pelvis out of joint, verse 14, profuse perspiration caused by intense suffering, verse 14, the actions of the heart are affected, strength, exhausted, extreme thirst, verse 15, the hands pierced, verse 16.”

Now the perpetrators actions, verse 16, “For dogs encompass me, a company of evildoers encircles me. They have pierced my hands and my feet.” This was done to him. He did not do this, this was done to him. And the term means to bore or to dig and render useless the hands and feet. Verse 17, “I can count all my bones”, the exposure of his body, “they stare and they gloat over me”. They just fixed their attention and watch. Verse 18, “They divide my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots.” Which is exactly what was done to him. The accompanying circumstances are precisely those fulfilled in the crucifixion of Christ. The desolate cry Eli, Eli, the periods of light and darkness, that contemptuous humiliated treatment, the casting of the lots, were all literally fulfilled. The perpetrators action. This is what was done to him. You know, there is a saying that goes like this, all is well that ends well. Can I tell you that’s not true. All is well becauce Christ went through hell. That is what’s true. This ends well because God was gone. It’s on Jesus and by his wounds, we are healed.

Before Jesus went to the cross and said to everyone who could hear that God was gone and put in motion that whole sequence of understanding what he was going through, before all that, I want you to know that Jesus was totally mindful of other people. He was before Pilate, and Pilate was questioning him. And Jesus responds to him saying, Did you say this of yourself or did somebody tell you? And he goes on and makes a response and Jesus says, I came to bear witness of the truth. And that’s when Pilate says the famous line, What is truth! Then storms out and renders his judgment. Jesus was mindful of him. When he, after Pilate’s judgment, was going through the streets of Golgotha and the women there were weeping and crying for him. His statement was, Don’t cry for me. Cry for you, and for your children. And he begins to give a prophetic note of this world when God is gone, what it’s going to be when he’s gone, because there’s a prophetic note which not only individuals, but the world has God gone. He says cry about that. When he was on the cross, even there, considering his mother and the disciples. He communicates, Forgive these crucifiers, they don’t know what they’re doing. To John he says, Behold your mother, and mother behold your son. He takes care of them, he’s mindful and conscious of ministry, before God is gone. And then when God is gone, all that stuff that we just looked at, until it comes here. God is present, for the sins of the world, his soul is crushed, and he dies. It is finished.

Then notice, You have answered me. Verse 21b, “You have rescued me”, like never before, God answered him. And God rescued him. The price was paid. He Himself bore our own sin. It was my sin, it was mine, it was mine personally. He bore our sin, it was yours, individually, that was put on him by God. If you trust Him, it is your sin. He is this payment for our sin and the sin of the world. He is this! And God answered him, God answer him. And we move into the joy that was set before him. Folks, all is well because he went through hell, quite literally. And for us, we have the picture of what Jesus went through for you and me, to call upon his name. This is what he went through so we can call upon his name, and be rescued. And God will answer just like he answered Jesus. God will answer and he will raise from the dead. He raised Jesus from the dead and everyone who comes to Christ is raised from the dead. There is new life, the old man is passed away, oh, it still kicks. But there is new life in Christ. And Jesus is what makes it possible. Folks, this is how God forgives and no other way. It’s through the blood of Jesus that we have this standing with Him. And it’s applicable to every problem we face today. That’s why folks, that is why I put that picture in the counseling office because there’s that light of hope in how God forgives.

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