Psalm 22 is the work of David, who was able to compose this song based on conditions he perceived in his own life. But through the work of the Holy Spirit, these words also testify - about a millennium in advance - to the trials that would be experienced by his descendant, Jesus.
In fact, this is the last bit of scripture that Jesus would cite in His earthly life. One of his seven last sayings from the cross was, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" It is more than a coincidence that His utterance was a direct quotation of the first line of Psalm 22. Jesus spent His dying breaths to specifically draw our attention to the contents of this psalm.
Why? Consider all the echoes of the passion of the Christ in these few verses. Here's a rundown of the clearest:
- In verses 6-8, the psalmist speaks of being mocked and ridiculed by a crowd of people. Jesus, too, endured scorn and abuse from the witnesses to His public execution by crucifixion. He was mocked and laughed at.
- The descriptions of the physical torment suffered by David in verses 14-15 also apply to the torture of the cross experienced by Christ. His body was wracked with pain and pulled apart, and He spent another of His precious last breaths to proclaim, "I thirst."
- In verse 12 and verse 16, the psalmist describes being surrounded or encircled by his enemies, portending exactly the scene to be later found at Golgotha.
- In verse 16, David says his hands and feet have been pierced (NIV). An odd choice of words for one who - as far as we know - never experienced such physical trauma. Christ, however, did.
- In verse 18, the crowd is described as dividing up his clothing, even casting lots for it. Again, we find here a direct connection to what happened on Good Friday among the Roman soldiers at the foot of the cross.
What are we to make of all these coincidences? I believe that they are more than mere coincidences. They are God's chosen way to imbue us with confidence and conviction in His Word. If we discover that the Bible accurately foretold the experiences of Christ, we will find it trustworthy in its further messages to us about God's will and direction for our lives as well as the prophecies that remain unfulfilled - for now!