This is beyond all others "The Psalm of the Cross." It may
have been actually repeated word by word by our Lord when hanging on the tree; it would be
too bold to say that it was so, but even a casual reader may see that it might have been.
It begins with, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" and ends, according
to some, in the original, with, "It is finished!" For plaintive expressions
uprising from unutterable depths of woe, we may say of this Psalm, "There is none
It is the photograph of our Lord’s saddest hours, the record of
His dying words, the lachrymatory of His last tears, the memorial of His expiring joys.
David and his afflictions may be here in a very modified sense, but, as the star is
concealed by the light of the sun, he who sees Jesus will probably neither see nor care to
Before us we have a description both of the darkness and glory of the
cross; the sufferings of Christ and the glory which shall follow. Oh, for grace to draw
near and see this great sight! We should read reverently, putting off our shoes from off
our feet, as Moses did at the burning bush, for if there be holy ground anywhere in
Scripture it is in this Psalm.
My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (1) I can understand why
traitorous Judas and timid Peter should be gone, but Thou, my God, my faithful Friend, how
canst Thou leave Me? This is the worst of all, yea, worse than all put together. Hell
itself has for its fiercest flame the separation of the soul from God.
O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night
season, and am not silent. (2) Our Lord continued to pray even though no comfortable
answer came, and in this He set us an example of obedience to His own words, "Men
ought always to pray, and not to faint." No daylight is too glaring, and no midnight
too dark to pray in; and no delay or apparent denial, however grievous, should tempt us to
forbear from importunate pleading.
But I am a worm and no man. (6) This verse is a miracle in
language. How could the Lord of glory be brought to such abasement as to be not only lower
than the angels but even lower than men? What a contrast between "I AM," and
"I am a worm!" yet such a double nature was found in the person of our Lord
Jesus when bleeding on the tree. He felt Himself to be comparable to a helpless,
powerless, down-trodden worm, passive while crushed and unnoticed and despised by those
who trod upon Him. He selects the weakest of creatures, which is all flesh, and becomes,
when trodden upon, writhing, quivering flesh, utterly devoid of any might except strength
All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn. (7) Men made faces at Him
before Whom angels veil their faces and adore. The basest signs of disgrace which disdain
could devise were maliciously cast at Him.
Many bulls have compassed Me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset Me
round. (12) The mighty ones in the crowd are here marked by the tearful eye of their
victim. The priests, elders, scribes, Pharisees, rulers and captains bellowed round the
cross like wild cattle, fed in the fat and solitary pastures of Bashan, and longed to gore
Him to death with their cruelties. Conceive of the Lord Jesus as a helpless, unarmed,
naked man, cast into the midst of a herd of infuriated wild bulls.
They look and stare upon Me. (17) Let us blush for human nature and
mourn in sympathy with our Redeemer’s shame. The first Adam made us all naked, and
therefore the second Adam became naked that He might clothe our naked souls.
You have answered Me. I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the
midst of the congregation I will praise You. (21,22) The transition is very marked;
from a horrible tempest all is changed into calm. The darkness of Calvary at length passed
away from the face of nature and from the soul of the Redeemer and, beholding the light of
His triumph and its future results, the Savior smiled.