Friday, April 01, 2011

The Way of the Cross (21)

As you continue to read Psalm 22, you can't fail to be struck by the change that comes in verse 22. Up until then, the horrors of the crucifixion are spelled out in terrible detail. Here, the mood changes, so dramatically, that you could nearly be thinking it's an entirely different psalm with a different theme.

Actually, it fits together perfectly, because the crucifixion is not the end of the story. As Jesus was laid in the tomb, he was not finished. Of that we can be certain because of how Psalm 22 ends:

I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of his, all your offspring of Israel!...

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.
(Psalm 22:22-23, 27-28)

Gone are the agonies, present are the praises. Having passed through the cross, through death, the end of the Psalm is the glorious victory and celebration of the Messiah. The image is of the great congregation, all God's people, gathered together because of the work of the anointed one, who has delivered them through his sacrifice.

But more than just the people of Israel, people from all the ends of the earth, all the families of the nations shall worship before the LORD as a result of the work of the anointed one. It's no surprise then, that the song of heaven declares:

Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
for every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.
(Revelation 5:9-10)

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