Saturday, January 25, 2020

Psalm 22:22: Jesus' Singing and the Place of Singing in Redemption

A thousand years before the Lord Jesus Christ died, David prophesied it in Psalm 22.  It's an amazing prophecy.  It expounds numerous great and graphic details of the future crucifixion of the suffering Messiah, not yet invented by the Persians or incorporated by the Romans.  Psalm 22 itself is a song, lament, the servant Son crying out to His heavenly Father, David's revealing the portrayal of this future event.  The prayer portion ends in verse 21:
Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
The Lord Jesus' surrounding enemies are characterized by carnivorous animals:  bulls, lions, dogs.  Unicorns aren't necessarily a single species of animal, but one -- a factual, real one -- with a single horn.  The one horn very often comes out as one and then separates into two or more, still though a unicorn.  The figure is a spear, a piercing, which characterized so many of the wounds of Jesus.  Later in a saving confession, the nation Israel mourns while looking upon Him whom they had pierced (Zechariah 12:10).

The salvation of Jesus, His own redemption, in answer to the prayer comes by the same means as all of us:  resurrection.  Even when Abraham would offer Isaac, his willingness proceeded from the "accounting that God was able to raise him up" (Hebrews 11:19).  Jesus would not be tossed with other criminals into the city dump in the Valley of Hinnom, but buried in the tomb of a rich man, as prophesied by Isaiah 53:9.  Three days later, He would rise again.

In Psalm 22, still in the prediction of hanging on the cross, one thousand years in the future, the Savior asserts (verse 22):
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
The prayer is answered.  God had heard, He would deliver Jesus after all the suffering He went through. He knew again the presence of God even on the cross. He would be saved from the lion's mouth and from the horns of the unicorn.  After His resurrection, He would declare the Father's name unto His brethren and praise the Father in the midst of the congregation.  Acts 13:30 says, "God raised him from the dead."

Psalm 22:22 is quoted in Hebrews 2:9-12 (the quote in verse 12) in the context of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross:
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
The author of Hebrews remembers Psalm 22:22 as he writes about the purpose of the death of Christ.  Through His death and then resurrection, He brings many sons to glory.  He is a Son crying to His Father, who then is not ashamed to call "brethren" these sons He's saved. The sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one through His work.  This is the victory the Father gives Him.

Then "in the midst of the congregation will [Jesus] praise [His Father]" (verse 22b).  David foretold and the Son foreknew that Jesus would sing in the church.  "Will I praise" in Psalm 22:22 by divine interpretation is "will I sing praise" in Hebrews 2:12, which is the Greek word humneso from which we get the word "hymn."  The same verb is used three other places, two of which also apply to Jesus singing (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26):
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
That occasion predated the cross, but it must have been a more regular occurrence, singing with the assembly of the saints, His church or congregation (ekklesia).  He had sung with the church and He in His post resurrection ministry would sing with them again.  This assumes that the church starts before Pentecost, unless this is fulfilled only spiritually through the Spirit of Christ in the future, which doesn't make any sense.  

Jesus' salvation by the Father through the resurrection from the dead provoked singing -- congregational singing.  This reminds me of Ephesians 5, where being filled with the Spirit brings among the first mentioned priorities, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord.  This is the new song of the redeemed.  Again and again, the Apostle Paul in his epistles when writing about salvation through Christ, breaks out into a doxology.

Jesus marked His victory over death with singing.  This was a first instinct.  This is what we would expect.  This is not contrived or choreographed.  This is real.  Of course, singing to the Father, which is what scripture also teaches, would be holy and acceptable unto God.  It would not be a fleshly, sensual, worldly worship.  It would characterize the Lord.  This ought also to mark every redeemed person, who loves the Lord.  He sings in the congregation. This is what Jesus anticipated in His victory on the cross.  His fellow sons will follow Him in this practice.  Do you?

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