With verse 11 of Psalm 22 the psalmist returns to the Messiah’s emotional suffering:
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near;
For there is none to help.
This is a prophecy concerning the solitude the Messiah would experience in His passion. He would suffer emotionally from His desertion by all His disciples.
The fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in Matthew 26: 47,49-50,56b:
47 While He [Jesus] was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs…
49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.
50 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.
56… Then all the disciples left Him and fled.
More Spiritual Suffering
At verse 12 of Psalm 22 the focus shifts back to the Messiah’s spiritual suffering:
12 Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13 They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
I believe this is a prophecy that the Messiah in His passion would be surrounded by demonic hordes gloating over his approaching death. In the New Testament, Peter describes Satan as “a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Although there is no recorded fulfillment of this prophecy in the New Testament, I have no doubt that it happened. The people who were witnesses of the crucifixion could not see the demons with their physical eyes. But Jesus, with His spiritual eyes could undoubtedly see them as they danced around the Cross and gloated over their “victory” in orchestrating the murder of God’s Son.
The Physical Suffering Intensifies
At verse 14 the psalmist begins to describe the Messiah’s physical suffering in gory detail:
14 I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me in the dust of death.
His bones are out of joint. He is suffering from extreme thirst. His heart is stressed to the point of bursting. Death hovers about Him.
Here’s how the Gospel of Mark describes the suffering of Jesus (Mark 15:15-17,19):
15 …after having Jesus scourged, he [Pilate] delivered Him to be crucified.
16 And the soldiers took Him away…
17 They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him…
19 They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him…
John in his gospel adds that Jesus suffered extreme thirst while he was hanging on the cross, and when He cried out, “I am thirsty,” the soldiers taunted Him by putting a sponge to His mouth that was full of sour wine (John 19:28-29).
In the next part of “The Passion in Psalm 22” series, we’ll look at the Crucifixion described in Psalm 22:16-21.