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Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

by Sarah Edwards

Today's Reading

Psalm 22

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Those chilling words rang out across the hill of Golgotha as Jesus suffered, hanging on the cross (Matthew 27:46). Hundreds of years earlier, those same words rang out across King David's room (Psalm 22:1). David was at the end of himself. When he wrote Psalm 22, he felt abandoned (Ps. 22:2), despised (Ps. 22:6), and mocked (Ps. 22:7). 

Yet the pattern of his psalm was not one that brought complaints to God, but one of complete vulnerability and faith that the Lord would surely intervene and save David from his circumstances. David's cries for help turn into shouts of praise that worship the Father in humble adoration. At the end of himself, David has proclaimed the overwhelming salvation of the Lord, no matter what the outcome.

The significance of this psalm is in the prophetic lines David writes, which Jesus fulfills at the time of His Crucifixion, found in Matthew 27:32-56.

Comparing Psalm 22 to Matthew 27 with the Timeline of the Crucifixion

  1. Psalm 22:16 & Matthew 27:35 - "they pierce my hands and feet," "they had crucified him."
  2. Psalm 22:18 & Matthew 27:35 - "they divided his garments among them by casting lots."
  3. Psalm 22:7 & Matthew 27:39 - "those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads."
  4. Psalm 22:8 & Matthew 27:43 - "He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him."
  5. Psalm 22:1 & Matthew 27:46 - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

They had pierced His hands and feet. Our savior was up there on that cross, struggling to breathe as darkness covered the land. All the while, he was barely acknowledged as they wagged their heads at Him. They even dared to cast lots for his clothes. As if that wasn't enough, they mocked him by saying, "Let God deliver him." Jesus was utterly abandoned and alone. He was born to set His people free at the cost of His precious, perfect life. He had taken the sin of the world on His shoulders, and He had to be cut off from the Father to complete His purpose of bringing us lasting salvation. His heart-wrenching sacrifice and separation from the Father brought us eternal life and a forever home with Him. Could he have known that when he was lying in the manger in swaddling clothes?

"But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!" (Ps. 22:19) You can almost hear David pleading, "Come, thou long-expected Jesus!" I can only imagine the weight of longing for the Messiah to come. Now, He is coming back to take us home to Him someday soon. How marvelous! No longer is our sin something we must atone for; Jesus came down to us to be our complete atonement forever. What a Savior. He knew we would fail to climb to Heaven on our efforts, so He sacrificed Himself and gave us His spotless righteousness to ensure we could dwell with God, to glorify and enjoy Him forever.

As Christmas approaches, let us not take for granted the sacrifice that came from the Baby born in the stable. If Jesus did not humble Himself to come to us, we would eternally be fighting for something that we could never achieve through our broken, sinful spirits: salvation. Without His perfect sacrifice, our eternity would be starkly hopeless. But we do have hope, and we can sing "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" with joy in our hearts as we await the return of our Savior this Advent season.

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