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Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., looks at Psalm 22 and shows how God’s love shines through even in the moment of man’s greatest wickedness.
For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. (Psalm 22:16–18)
Today’s big question: what is God’s solution for man’s wickedness?
The previous devotionals in this series have highlighted what some of the psalms have declared about the wickedness of man. Although Psalm 22 had immediate fulfillment in the life of David, it is considered a Messianic psalm and has sometimes been called the “fifth gospel” because it contains numerous allusions to the life of Christ.
On the Cross, Jesus quoted the first part of this psalm: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” The Jews who heard Him utter these words should have remembered this passage that vividly portrays certain circumstances around the Cross.
Our passage reveals that man’s wickedness would be on full display during the Lord’s Crucifixion. Jesus lived a sinless life, healed countless people of diseases and other ailments, and even raised people back to life. Jesus deserved praise for His infinite goodness, love, and mercy; instead, mankind mocked, beat, and crucified their Creator. The God who had given them life was condemned to die. Soldiers near the Cross divided His garments and gambled for His tunic (John 19:23–24).
In his wickedness, man crucified the only one who could save him from sin. No one can claim to be innocent of Christ’s death. We are all sinful, and Jesus died for the sins of the world (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2). Jesus told His disciples that both Jew and Gentile would be complicit in His Crucifixion.
Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again. (Matthew 20:18–19)
When man’s wickedness was at its worst, God’s love shone even brighter. While He was on the Cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). We cannot fathom the depth of love Christ has for us which was demonstrated “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Why would the Son of God be willing to die for sinful man? The answer is found in one of the most popular Bible verses.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Today’s big idea: God’s love is unfathomable.
What to pray: praise Him who gave His Son for wicked sinners who deserve condemnation.