Sorrow, Suffering and Satisfied Sanctification
For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim Thy name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Thy praise.” Hebrews 2:11-12 (NAS)
Having established that Jesus Christ is superior to the Old Testament prophets and to angels, the divinely directed writer of Hebrews moves to speak of the superior benefits derived by the saints through Jesus coming in the flesh for “a little while lower than the angels.” This takes us to our next Old Testament passage cited by the writer of Hebrews for our edification, Psalms 22:22. “I will tell of Thy name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise Thee.” (NAS)
Prefigured pangs, piercing, and praise
Psalm 22 is a Messianic psalm penned by David as he was moved by the Holy Spirit. The Psalm begins with the sorrowful paroxysm, “My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken Me?”, setting up the stage as one who’s been rejected by God and suffering under the reproach and revilings of men. Interspersed among the lamentations of David in the early verses is the underlying current of his confidence in the LORD’s ability to set apart and deliver those who trust in Him.
We know these words of verse one are what Jesus cried out on the cross (Matt. 27:46). The number of times verses in this psalm are cited or alluded to by gospel writers, proved their fulfillment in Jesus Christ, assuring us they were Messianic.
If you know your Biblical history, you know David went through the agony of feeling separated from the LORD in his trials and exile from Jerusalem at the hands of his son Absalom and his co-conspirators. He felt the piercing sting of rejection in the hurling of insults, wagging of heads, and sneering lips by his fellow countrymen as he fled Jerusalem. Yet we also know David’s hands and feet were never pierced (Ps. 22:16), nor is there evidence of anyone casting lots for David’s clothing according to the Biblical record. In fact, in many verses, the suffering described cannot be ascribed to anything in David’s life. Because of these passages, we can see why this Psalm would be understood to be talking of someone other than David. As mentioned earlier, New Testament writings confirm Psalm 22 to be Messianic.
There is one similarity between David and Jesus Christ. They knew His ability to deliver and they trusted in Him. David’s rejection at the hands of a regime wanting to displace him and claim his position, prefigured the conditions and the course Christ would take in the events leading up to His death on the cross. David’s inspired praise of the one whose life has been delivered “from the power of the dog” would prefigure the praise that the Redeemer would tell among the brethren of His having been delivered from the grave.
Consider Psalm 22 this way. Verses 1-10 represents the sense of doom in His sorrowful supplications, verses 11-21 is the cataloguing of the distress in His sufferings, verses 22-31 are the satisfaction and sanctification of the deliverance via the Deliverer.
Verse one we’ve already noted as part of Christ’s sorrow expressing His separation from the Father upon the cross. Verse 6 prefigured the reproach Christ experienced upon the cross and verses 7-8 the verbal attack He underwent as recorded in Matt. 27:39-44.
Verses 11-21 of Psalm 22 present the overall prefigured picture of Christ’s suffering, however, verses 16-18 are the clearest picture of Jesus’ crucifixion. “..dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me”. Three times Jesus’ enemies encompassed and surrounded Him. In the garden at His betrayal, in His trials in their false accusations, and at the cross as they hurled their abuse. “They pierced my hands and my feet” The clear prophecy of His crucifixion, and finally, having to watch the soldiers “divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Deliverance which Satisfies & Sanctifies
In spite of all His sorrow and suffering, Jesus was looking with confidence to His deliverance, where in His resurrection, ascension and offering of His blood, the satisfaction for sin was made and the sanctification of Him being set apart as Lord in the hearts of the saved (1 Pet. 3:15) would occur. Here, in glory, the seed of Jacob (spiritual Israel) would “glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him” This was made possible because God had not hidden His face from man, rather He came in the form of Jesus Christ in the flesh, the one willing to “pay my vows” in His death for the purpose of rejoining and reconciling man who had been rent from God by sin. The result? “The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied”, they “will praise the LORD”, “the earth will remember and turn to the LORD”, “all the families of the nations will worship before Thee” and “posterity will serve Him…a people who will be born” All because “He has performed it.” (Ps. 22:24-31)
As those delivered, whose sins have been satisfied and are now sanctified, shouldn’t we sing His praises? He has set us apart, He is in our midst, and He is not ashamed of us. He will sing the Father’s praise for the plan that brought about, as He says, “My brethren”. We are that posterity that now serves Him in the proclamation to the world of the gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ. These are the superior benefits of Him being made for a little while lower than angels! Praise Him!