The Messiah’s thoughts and feelings are described in the present tense for the first half of Psalm 22: “They have compassed me”, “I am poured out”, “my bones are…”, “they pierced”, “they part”. All these are describing what Christ felt moment by moment, at the time.

Yet amazingly,Christ’s mind began to focus on the results of his sufferings. For in the second half of the Psalm his thoughts are recorded in the future tense: “I will…”, “the meek shall”, “they will praise’, “a seed shall serve him”, “they shall come”. Each verse reveals another element of the future that the Messiah saw and drew strength from. What a remarkable victory that God’s strength won over the weakness of the flesh.

“Shall eat and be satisfied”

Christ’s mind went first to his personal declaration of his Father’s name to his brethren, the Apostles, in the ecclesia (Psa 22:22). It would then, through them, spread to the Jew first (Psa 22:23-24) and then to the Gentiles (Psa 22:25-26). The “great congregation” would be made up of those of “every nation that fear Him” (Acts 10:35), and will still of course be completed in the kingdom when all, from every generation, will be brought together.

These are called in Psalm 22:26, “the meek” (Hebrew – depressed, humble, poor), who are beautifully described by Jesus in Matthew 5:3-12: the “poor in spirit… they that mourn… meek… pure… peacemakers… persecuted”. Ultimately, this is a description of Messiah himself! It is an expression of his actions and way of thinking (22:24). Here is the importance of us coming to appreciate the Messiah’s mind, not only on the cross, but for his entire life, because we must strive to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).

The meek are to “eat and be satisfied”. This is a contrast to the time when sin had brought cursing rather than blessing (cp Deut 28:39), where natural bread does not satisfy ( John 6:49). Now, through Christ, God had promised that “His servants would eat… and rejoice… and sing for joy of heart” (Isa 65:13-14).

The phrase, “they shall eat and be satisfied,” comes from Deuteronomy 14:29. Here Israel was to “eat before Yahweh thy God in the place He shall choose to place His name there” (14:23). They were to “rejoice” and to “not forsake” the Levite, stranger (the Gentiles), fatherless or widow, but to eat and be satisfied because God had brought them into the Land! In Deuteronomy 26:16 they were commanded to keep this with all their heart. In doing so their “heart would live forever” (Psa 22:26). This represents eternal life, which would come from the eating of the true bread, Christ’s “flesh that he would give for the life of the world” ( John 6:48-58).

It is truly moving to see Christ’s mindset regarding these things. It reveals not only his selfless motivation, but also his sense of satisfaction in seeing us benefit from his work (Isa 53:11).

“All the ends of the world shall remember”

The focus of Christ is on the immortal gathering of the kingdom age. They are styled, the “great congregation,” and are made up of Jew and Gentile saints resurrected to become “kings and priests” (Psa 22:27-31).

“All the ends of the world” refers to the “nations” given to Christ for an “inheritance and possession” (Psa 2:8). The command of Psalm 2 towards these nations is for them to “serve Yahweh with fear” (cp Psa 22:25). Scripture records extensively that all the ends of the earth will come to worship and praise him (Psa 72:8-11; 86:9; 98:3), being caused to “turn unto Yahweh” (Psa 22:27).

But what will cause them to turn? Psalm 22:27 records it is due to the fact that they “will remember”! It was Jesus himself that left us a memorial to remember what he has done for us: “This do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). It was “his body given for you” and “the cup of the new covenant in his blood” that we partake of in remembrance of him (1 Cor 11:24-25).

So too the mortal population in the kingdom will be reminded of the sufferings that Christ went through and why (Rev 1:7). The scriptures even speak of sacrifices being reinstituted in the kingdom for them (Isa 56:6-8; 60:1-7). It will be the role of the immortal saints to act as priests at this time; hence Ezekiel 40:38-39 and 45:13 and 46:15 record the details of their work. Even Christ himself is mentioned in the phrase, “the prince’s portion” (Ezek 45:17). This echoes his words to his brethren that he would drink the fruit of the vine anew with his people in his Father’s kingdom (Matt 26:29).

The inclusion of the mortal population in this scene is also outlined in verse 29, where they “will eat and worship”. The sacrifices which once pointed forward to Christ, now point back to him. Verse 29 shows all classes of people are included. The “fat ones” are representative of all the rich, mighty and noble. These are the “kings of the earth” who worship and bring Christ tribute (Psa 45:12; 72:10-11; Isa 60:3-5). Those “that go down to the dust of the earth” are representative of the poor, needy and depressed (Psa 113:7). All the mortal population will come to see that their salvation can only be in Christ.

“All the kindreds of the nations”

It is this aspect that Isaiah 45 also speaks of. Note how Isaiah 45 is another parallel scripture to Psalm 22:

“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD”“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth” (45:22)
“They shall bow before him”“Unto me every knee shall bow” (45:23)
“Come and declare His righteousness”“In Yahweh I have righteousness” (45:24)
“A seed shall serve him”“In Yahweh shall all the seed of Israel be justified” (45:25)

The phrase, “kindreds of the nations,” must surely be an echo from the promises to Abraham. Kindreds is the word,“families,” in Genesis 12:3 and in Christ “shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen 22:18; 28:14).

Christ’s mind would find comfort in seeing, in vision, the praise that all nations will give to God, coming to worship before Him in that kingdom (Psa 22:27-28). Although Christ was the greatest man who ever lived, his humble and contrite spirit was developed out of a deep appreciation for the greatness of his God over all (1 Cor 15:27-28). Indeed his God and our God will be declared as “the governor among the nations”, the “God of Abraham” and the “Most High God” in that time (Psa 47:7-8; Dan 7:14; Zech 14:9).

“A seed shall serve him”

As the Psalm now draws to a conclusion, we are brought to the climax of Christ’s thoughts on the cross. He was seeking a godly seed.

Here on the cross he saw “his seed”, the “travail of his soul” (Isa 53:10-11). This thought accords with the LXX of Psalm 22:30, which renders the verse, “my seed shall serve Him”. They would be born out of his sufferings (Psa 22:31) and hence they are “the children which God hath given me” (Heb 2:13). This is why Christ is called the “everlasting Father” (Isa 9:6), because he is the father of this future age. Isaiah 9:7 goes on to mirror Psalm 22:31 in declaring that “the zeal of Yahweh of hosts will perform this”.

Those who are born again in Christ become his seed ( John 3:3-7; Gal 3:26-29) and they, in turn, will develop future generations in God’s family. Every son in this family will be born out of an appreciation of the forgiveness and redemption achieved by God in Christ’s life, death and resurrection. This is shown in a paraphrase of Psalm 22:30-31:

‘My seed shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord unto the generation that will come. His righteousness shall be declared by a people born (again). For He has done it.’

The very events that Psalm 22 records, about the Lord’s experiences and all his struggle against sin, will be recounted and told to them. How fascinating to think that their hearts will be pricked when they read not only how Psalm 22 describes the Messiah’s mind and experiences but that it foretells even their own attitude, response and redemption!

“He hath done this”

Christ’s final thoughts are on his Father and what He would accomplish. All he had gone through would declare God to be right: His word, His judgements, His mercy, His holiness, His forgiveness, and His method of salvation are all right! And it is this in mindset that he sees God’s family in that future day.

Christ sees the attitude of those who serve God. They have come to appreciate the importance of the truths acknowledged and demonstrated in the suffering Messiah. They will see that their inheritance in Adam brings only the consequential mortality and suffering. Being born again, they come to acknowledge that God is right in all things, even though “through much tribulation they must enter the kingdom”.

Here is the wonderful exhortation for us today. We will go through many doubts and fears that form part of this human condition, but we can look to Christ and draw strength from his thoughts during his most challenging times. The Apostle Paul used Christ’s sufferings as a basis for inspiration and strength. Note the wonderful connections he draws with Psalm 22:

PSALM 222 TIMOTHY 4v16-18
“Why have you forsaken me?”“All men forsook me”
(Father forgive them for they know not what they do – Luke 23:34)“I pray God that it be not laid to their charge”
“Deliver me” (Psa 22:4,5,8,20)“Lord shall deliver me”
“Save me”“and will preserve me”
“the lion’s mouth” (Psa 22:21)“Mouth of the lions”
“Be not far from me” (Psa 22:8,19)“The Lord stood with me”
Kingdom (Psa 22:22-31)“Heavenly Kingdom”
“Declare... he hath done it”“To whom be glory forever”

Interestingly, Psalm 22:30-31 picks up two echoes from the Genesis creation. The word “serve” is first found in Genesis 2:5 (“till” meaning to “work or serve”) and the word “done” is the same as “made” or “make” in Genesis 2:1-3. Genesis 2:1 records that, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them”. Here God prophetically revealed that glorious day which would see the completion of His entire plan and purpose with man. He had made man in His image and likeness so that they would come to reflect His character and glory, and now, He had done it!

Christ’s 6th saying on the cross (“it is finished”) also echoes this feeling. Christ knew that all the Scriptures concerning his death had now been finished, and God had “done this”! God alone is and will be the one to whom all honour is due. How humble to recognise that “all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 5:18). Paul repeats for emphasis, “To wit, that God was in Christ” (v19). Truly Christ “emptied himself ” that the praise might be to God.

Christ’s 7th and final saying on the cross, (“Father into thy hands I commit my spirit”), is the pinnacle of Christ’s thinking not only during his sufferings on the cross, but over his entire life. May we be inspired, by the mind of our Messiah during his trials, to build the same trust and certainty to “commit our lives to God as unto a faithful creator”. For in so doing we can be confident that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”. Then we will join our Messiah and his seed in that day to declare, “He has done it”.