In the recent Crystallization Study of the Psalms(1) I was very much impressed by the vivid portrait of Christ’s death in Psalm 22. In message 5 entitled, Christ in His Redeeming Death and Church-Producing Resurrection, the center and the main burden is the church-producing resurrection of Christ (Psa. 22:22), but in the beginning the brother encouraged us all to study, dig in, dive into, and get more deeper into the aspects of Christ’s death, His crucifixion on the cross.
No, we don’t need to have a “mental rememberance” or a mental appreciation – or worse, imagine what are the sufferings the Lord went through – but we need to know the crucified Christ in order to love Him and appreciate Him more. In Psalm 22 we see that while David was suffering, the Holy Spirit inspired him to write a prophecy about the suffering of Christ on the cross.
Saints, the reason our consecration to the Lord is not that thorough and absolute has to do with the lack of our view of the dying Savior. He has done so much for us – He has even died on the cross for us – so when we see the crucified Christ, the dying Savior, we will have a fresh consecration to the Lord.
No, we don’t need to “visualize His death” or “recreate His death” – and we definitely do NOT need to “watch the movies about the Lord’s death” to appreciate Him – we need to read the Bible, study the aspects of His death, the account of His death on the cross, with the help of the footnotes, cross references, study guides, life-study, and other spiritual materials.
When you see both the prophecy of His death and the account of Christ’s death, your heart will be drawn to Him and you will just follow Him!
Starting from the first slap on His face, from the first fist, from when the attendant of the high priest who hit the Lord – all the way until when Christ was on the cross and one of the other criminals crucified there with Him spoke something to shame Him – the whole experience is so touching, so moving!
The Lord was reproached, He was despised (scorned, looked down on by the ones around), He was derided (ridiculed, made fun of, had His words and actions denigrated), He was sneered at (in contempt, with contemptious laughter, with a scornful smile, people with a smirk on their face), He was mocked (scoffed at, taunted, teased, cheered mockingly at) – He experienced all these.
Actually, His suffering on the cross was threefold: He suffered physically, psychologically, and spiritually. He suffered physically by being nailed to the cross and hanging on the tree for six hours. Christ also suffered psychologically when everyone around Him abandoned Him, mocked Him, laughed at Him, and persecuted Him.
Above all, the Lord Jesus suffered spiritually on the cross when the Father left Him economically (My God, My God, Why have You abandoned Me? Psa. 22:1). Essentially, the Spirit was still in Christ as the essence of His being, but economically, for the fulfilling of God’s economy and His righteousness, the economical Spirit left the Lord Jesus on the cross.
It wasn’t that the Lord died physically and was abused psychologically – He was made SIN in the eyes of God – the unique sinner in the world, in the last three hours of His crucifixion.
In the first three hours on the cross, man judged and persecuted Him; in the last three hours, God put all the sins of the mankind upon Christ and Christ was the unique sinner, bearing all our sins, tresspasses, lawlessnesses, offenses, mistakes, wrongdoings, etc. He suffered on our behalf the righteous judgement of God – the Righteous One on behalf of the unrighteous – and He was judged by God on the cross.
We need to see what He went through when He was on the cross – when we see this, we will love Him more as the suffering Savior, the dying Savior – the crucified Christ.
Even more, there is a vivid portrait in Psalm 22 concerning what happened with Christ on the cross, things like:
- vv. 12-13, Many bulls surround me; The mighty bulls of Bashan encompass me. They open their mouth at me, Like a ravening and roaring lion – the people surrounded Him, and many were those who wanted to put Him to death.
- v. 14a, I am poured out like water – Christ poured out His life – His soul – unto death. In John 19 we see that a spear was thrust into His side and His life came out – the water-generating life. When He died, He was poured out like water – He poured out His physical and psychological life.
- v. 14b, all my bones are out of joint – here we see the gravity working while He hung on the cross
- v. 14c, my heart is like wax; it is melted within me – not only the outer limbs but His heart, His inner parts. When He died, His inward parts melted like wax…
- v. 15a, my strength is dtried up like a shard – He was full of pain, He had no strength.
- v. 15b, my tongue is stuck to my jaw – the Lord cried out, I Thirst! Because of the loss of fluids, loss of blood, He was totally dehydrated. In the Bible, the thirst is a taste of death.
- v. 15c, You have put me in the dust of death – God killed this Man, for our sake, in order to make Him an offering for sin!
- v. 16, For dogs surround me; a company of evildoers encloses me – the religious ones, the evil men, the priests, the evil-doures, all surrounded Him when He was on the cross.
- v. 16c, They pierce my hands and feet – Christ’s hands and feet were pierced and nailed to the cross.
- v. 17, I counted all my bones – none of His bones were broken, as prophesied!
- v. 17c, they look, they stare at Me – such a strange situation, all people were standing there looking!
- v. 18, They divided my garments to themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots – While He was dying on the cross, the Roman soldiers cast lots to see who gets His clothes.
What a vivid portrait of the Lord’s crucifixion! What a price He paid for us! How we love Him! He did this all for us – so that in His resurrection He may produce us as the many brothers of Christ and the many sons of God – to be God’s family, His expression on the earth!
Christ was looking forward to the joy set before Him! He endured the shame, bore the pain, and died on the cross for us. How much we need to dive into this, to see what the Lord has gone through for us.
When we have a painting portrayed in front of us with the price He paid, the suffering He went through, and the persecution He received every step of the way from everyone around Him, we will just LOVE HIM, appreciate Him, long to spend time with Him, and let Him grow in us more!
[sharing inspired from the fifth message from the Crystallization Study of the Psalms (1), from the brother’s speaking – become a fan on facebook to find out more updates]
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