A Psalm of the Cross

Gordon VanWylen

READ : Psalm 22:1-21

In this psalm the author describes a tragic, painful experience that is remarkable in its similarity to the events associated with the crucifixion of Jesus. It opens with the anguished words that Jesus spoke from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It includes comments from those who mocked him (vv. 7-8), a description of Jesus’ suffering as he hung on the cross (vv. 14-15), the piercing of his hands and feet (v. 16) and the dividing of his garments (v. 18). It seems reasonable to view this as a messianic psalm, with Jesus as the one speaking.

What remarkable foresight David was given on the one we know as the Suffering Servant! It is for us who live after this event to know its full significance, both intellectually and through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds we have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

One aspect of the beauty and power of this psalm is the way in which it alternates moving statements on the suffering Christ is experiencing (vv. 1-2, 6-8, and 12- 18) with his cries to God as his only hope. God invites us to do the same when we experience crises in our lives.


Help us to fully understand what Christ endured, receive forgiveness and live lives marked by righteousness and grace. Amen.