From Suffering to Victory

From the cross, as He was suffering with excruciating physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pain, Jesus cried out to the Father: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” I try to imagine myself at the foot of the cross, hearing Jesus cry out these words. Jesus’ prayer was a quote from Psalm 22, verse number 1.

The first section of Psalm 22 describes images of a criminal being executed on a cross, and in these first twenty-one verses we hear how his friends desert him, his enemies mock him, and his accusers surround him like wild animals. Vivid images describe disjointed bones, pierced hands and pierced feet. The suffering is real. What is amazing is that crucifixion had not even been invented yet.

The author of Psalm 22, King David, may have had times he felt abandoned by his friends and by the Lord, but compared to what Jesus experienced on the cross, David’s suffering was mild. The same is true for us today. When your enemy, the devil, whispers in your ear that you are alone and that God has turned His back on you, remember that Jesus has been there. He knows how you feel, and He will get you through that time of suffering.

The second section of Psalm 22 makes a turn toward victory! In verses twenty-two through thirty-one, we hear about a great assembly of believers, a glorious kingdom of God, and generations to come who will hear of the great work of the Lord. In these verses, God is described as our Savior, our Deliverer, our Strength and our Rescuer. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus became all of these and more!

Our hearts respond to God’s salvation with gratitude, with praise, and with a witness to others of God’s victory over the sin in our lives. I love the last two verses of Psalm 22:

Psalm 22:30-31
30  Their descendants will serve Him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. 31  They will come and tell a people yet to be born about His righteousness— what He has done.

We have an obligation to tell the next generation all about what God has done. We tell them what He has done as recorded in the Bible, about what He has done in our lives, and what He has done in the lives of others.

One of the hidden gems of Psalm 22 is this: the last phrase, “What He has done,” can also be translated, “It is done.” This may not seem significant until you consider that a synonym for the word done is the word finished. The last phrase of Psalm 22 says, “It is finished.” These are the last words Jesus said on the cross.

Victory!

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