Summary of Contents
Psalm 22:1-31
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?…

The exclamation from the Cross — "My God," etc., led us to consider the Lord Jesus as our Surety, standing at His Father's judgment seat, and, conscious of innocence, inquiring what new charge was laid against Him to cause this new and most severe affliction, the hiding of His Father's countenance. We concluded that one reason why our Lord so earnestly cried to His Father was that He might ascribe to Him the glory of His deliverance, being unwilling to appropriate it to Himself by any exertion of His own power. And we found that the whole verse comprised three inquiries, to which we conceived these to be appropriate answers — First, Why hast Thou forsaken Me? Because Thou art bearing the sins of the world. Second, Why art Thou so far from helping Me? That the victory may be altogether Thine own. And third, Why art Thou so far from the words of My roaring? That Thou mayest learn all the required obedience by the things which Thou art suffering. We perceived that our Lord, in continuing His supplications, complained to His Father, but would not complain against Him; and that He fully acquitted Him of unkindness or injustice, by subjoining this filial and beautiful acknowledgment, "But Thou continuest holy." In the fulness of His sorrow our Lord next contrasted His own experience with that of the Father's, whose prayers were heard, and whose expectations were not confounded. He denominated Himself a worm, allied by His human nature to the meanest part of the creation — a crimson-coloured worm, covered with the imputed guilt of men, and He regarded Himself as "no man"; neither what man is by sin, nor what man was intended to be by his Creator. Our Lord's life in the flesh, we saw, might be illustrated by the heathen doctrine of metempsychosis; for He brought the recollections of the world of glory into this state of being; and therefore human life must have appeared, to His eyes, infinitely more mean, wretched, and loathsome than we can possibly conceive. We were next led to contemplate the enumerated mental sufferings of our much-tried Lord — the reproaches with which He was assailed, the mockery by which He was insulted, and the taunts which wounded His spirit to the quick. In the 9th and 10th verses we considered that pathetic and touching appeal which our dying Redeemer made to the heart of His Father, arguing from the helplessness of His infancy to the helplessness of His manhood; and casting the latter upon that paternal care which had provided for the former. We perceived how earnestly our Lord followed up this appeal with renewed entreaty for His Father's presence, expressing this great and only desire of His heart in these words, "Be not far from Me." The corporeal sufferings of the Man of Sorrows were next brought to our notice. The assault and encompassing of His enemies on every side was the first particularised; where also we considered the assaults of Satanic hosts upon the spirit of our Lord. Consequent on this assault succeeded universal faintness over His frame, complete languor and an extreme exhaustion, with intense and burning thirst. The piercing of our Lord's sacred body, in His hands and feet, was then considered, and the lingering death by crucifixion was described. Extended on the Cross, the emaciated state of the Saviour's worn-out frame was exposed to view, and all His bones might be told. In this condition He was subjected to the insulting gaze of the multitude. The soldiers also seized every article of His clothing; they parted His garments among them, and cast lots upon His vesture. Urged by these various and sore afflictions, and desiring with intense anxiety to enjoy again before He died the light and peace of His Father's presence, our blessed Saviour, in the next three verses, prayed with the most vehement importunity for a speedy and immediate answer. And whilst He was yet praying His Father granted His petition. Light dawned upon His soul. Darkness was dispelled from the face of nature, and from the heart of the Redeemer. And, as though issuing from a kind of spiritual death, and enjoying a spiritual resurrection, our Divine Surety exclaimed, "Thou hast heard Me." Importunity prevailed with God. The whole tone of feeling and sentiment in the Psalm becomes changed from this verse. Gratitude and thanksgiving occupy all the remaining portion. The Saviour, as it were, from the Cross, invited the members of His Church to join His eucharistic song He prospectively beheld the conversion of the world and the establishment of His own glorious kingdom. And the Psalm represents the Saviour as solacing His dying spirit, in the midst of His enemies, with the assurance of a holy and numerous seed, who should be counted to Him for a posterity. He heard, as it were, from His Cross, the song of the redeemed.

(John Stevenson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David.} My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

WEB: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?

From Darkness to Light; Or, the Song of the Early Dawn
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