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April 27, 1994

The Gain from His Pain

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My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? PSALM 22:1
Somewhere around the ninth hour of his crucifixion, Jesus hung on a wooden cross and cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). He was quoting the prophecy of his death that is found in Psalm 22, which begins with those very words: Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Translation: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).
Psalm 22 is nothing less than a description of an execution—Christ’s execution. There is no other written account to support the suggestion that King David at any time in his life faced an execution of this type. He was persecuted. He was threatened with stoning. But this scene is altogether different. We can walk through it almost line by line and mark the parallels to Christ’s death. How could we, as followers of Jesus, read lines such as “they have pierced my hands and my feet” (v. 16) or “they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (v. 18) and not get the connection?
Christ’s pain and suffering on the cross are more than evident.
But this is more than a psalm of one man’s pain. It’s a psalm of hope for all mankind. Despite the pain and the suffering, the prophecy goes on to outline the promise of Christ’s coming kingdom.
As followers of Jesus, this psalm reminds us of why we work and why we live— for the coming of Christ’s kingdom here on earth. We’ve learned of His pain and suffering in brutal detail, so our challenge is to honor that sacrifice in every detail of our lives while we await His return.

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