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Hebrews 2:10-13 – NT

02.08.2011

Matt 27:35-46

Matthew’s account of Jesus’ death almost explicitly points to Psalm 22.  The ESV highlights four specific elements of Matt’s narrative that appear to consciously echo David’s lament:

Psalm 22:18 | They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
Matt 27:35 | And when they had crucified Him, they divided His garments among them by casting lots.

1) Like David, Jesus was despised and disrespected by His tormentors.  The recording of these small, seemingly insignificant details add strength to Matthew’s prophetic reading of David.  It’s such a random thing to have happen that the concurrence between David’s lament and Christ’s Crucifixion demands explanation.

Psalm 22:7 | All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads.
Matt 27:39 | All those who passed by derided Him, wagging their heads.

2) David was the anointed of God, champion of the battle with Goliath, and he was brought low by Saul, being forced to run hither and yon, hiding in caves like an animal.  Jesus, the Son of God, eternal champion of the battle with sin and death, is brought low and made a mockery by Jew and Gentile alike.

Psalm 22:8 | ‘He trusts in the Lord; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, because He delights in him!’
Matt 27:43 | ‘He trusts in God; let God deliver Him now, if He desires Him.  For He said, “I am the Son of God.”‘

3) Much of the opposition to David and to Jesus was born out of envy and resentment.  Saul resented that David appeared to have been favored by God over him; his persecution of David is even more fierce because of David’s audacity in claiming to be a man after God’s own heart.*  Similarly, the Jews chafed at what they saw as the blasphemy and megalomania of Jesus for calling Himself the Son of God.

Psalm 22:1 | My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?  Why are You so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
Matt 27:46 | And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?

4) In this pairing, you can argue that Jesus, fully versed in the scriptures, is consciously drawing a connection to Psalm 22.  Partly, it is an in-the-moment cry of anguish from Him who is receiving the full penalty and condemnation for sin.  However, it’s also possible to see this as Jesus drawing the attention of those in attendance (which includes Matt?) to the fulfillment of the prophetic elements of Psalm 22, hinting strongly at His role as promised Davidic heir and king and messiah.

To this set of four pairings from the ESV, I would humbly add one more, but you’ll have to go back in Matt to the previous chapter.

Psalm 22:22 | I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.
Matt 26:30 | And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Amidst David’s anguish, he finds the power to praise God, looking forward to when he will be able to sing with the people of God’s glory and faithfulness, which was displayed in the course of the current trial.  Similarly, as Jesus approaches what He knows will be His darkest hour, He sings a hymn of praise to God (many of which at the time were Psalms, perhaps Psalm 22?) with His brothers and friends, glorifying God for what’s about to come, both in process and in ultimate result.

————

* That may be anachronistic, but I don’t think so since Samuel told Saul in 1 Sam 13:14 that he would be replaced by a man after God’s own heart.  Regardless, though, of whether David has made such a claim by the time of the persecution which prompted Psalm 22, the point of Saul’s resentment still stands.

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