Psalm 22, page two

An Explicit Theme in the Passion Narratives

Face of Christ, crucifiedPsalm 22 is a theme playing through the Passion Narratives. Though its origins lie within Israel, its theme of unmerited suffering afflicting good people is a universal experience. How appropriate, then, that the early church should turn to this powerful psalm with its chilling cry of abandonment and its panorama of human suffering, in order to reflect on the crucifixion and death of Jesus which brought sadness to the disciples.

The closing verses of the psalm, appropriately too, express great confidence in God who hears the cry of the good person who suffers. Calvary was not the end of the story of Jesus. "In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence." (Hebrews 5:7)

Besides the opening verse of Psalm 22 uttered by Jesus in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, the psalm is also cited explicitly in John's Gospel in a comment about the soldiers:

"When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, 'Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,' in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled [that says]: 'They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.' This is what the soldiers did." (John 19:23-24, citing Ps 22:19)

 

 

 

What do they say about Jesus? Variations on the theme of Psalm 22
New hope for Jewish-Christian dialog Compassion in art
Editor's Note

Sign of the Passion


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