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God’s Word for You

Psalm 22:25-28 Praise the Lord

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, April 8, 2023

25 From you comes my praise in the great assembly;
  I will fulfill my vows before those who fear you.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
  Those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
  May he live in your hearts forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD;
  and all the families of the nations will bow down before you.
28 For dominion belongs to the LORD,
  and he rules over the nations.

Jesus took up this Psalm in his most terrible moment of suffering. He understood the one suffering in this Psalm to be himself. In fact, the mystery of the incarnation of Christ is the only solution to many of the questions mankind has about the inspired text of the Psalms and the other Scriptures. Who else but Christ could possibly be the “my Lord” of Psalm 110 apart from David’s descendant who was also the Son of God?

Here we see worship in the terms that were understood by David’s generation and all generations up to the coming of Jesus. Worship included vows, thank offerings, and eating portions of those offerings. Once the blood was sprinkled and the Lord’s fat portions were laid on the altar, the worshiper shared in a meal of the rest of the sacrifice with the officiating priest and his family. Confession and absolution, praise, prayer, food, fellowship, and music were all parts of their worship life.

For us, worship retains all of these elements, but the sacrifice has changed. We still worship with confession and absolution, praise, prayer, fellowship, and music, but the food and sacrifice are different. The sacrifices no longer come again and again. David or any other Old Testament believer would sacrifice many times, but Christ “sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself” (Hebrews 7:27). His body offered on the cross covers over the guilt of all sins of all mankind forever. For “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He has redeemed us because, like the closer relative in Ruth, “I cannot redeem it” (Ruth 4:6). Christ “provided redemption for his people” (Psalm 111:9).

In verse 26, David blesses us: “May he live in your hearts forever!” This is the risen Christ, the victor over death and the grave. His resurrection is an historical fact, although many modern skeptics have tried to denounce it.

Could his body have been stolen? “It is highly unlikely that eleven terrified men who were still hiding behind locked doors on Easter evening would have even attempted to steal Jesus’ body from the heavily guarded tomb. It is even more unlikely that they could have succeeded.”

Might he have only swooned or fainted and not been dead when he was buried? John witnessed the piercing of his side and recorded it: “But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken’” (John 19:33-36).

Could the resurrection story be a pious fraud, a way of continuing his teaching? If he had not risen, such a fraud could easily have been disproved. Certainly, there would have been few if any converts from Judaism, and especially not from the priests of Israel. Yet very soon “a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7), and the number of converts from among the Jews continued to grow for many years in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria (Acts 9:31), growing daily in numbers in Syria and Asia Minor (to the north, Acts 16:5).

Finally, there remains the question of why so many Christians would be willing to be tortured and even to die rather than renounce their faith in Christ. Beginning with Stephen (Acts 7:57-60) and continuing to this day, persecution and murder have been a threat to many Christians around the world as missionaries and ordinary believers attempt to share the gospel of Jesus Christ so that “the ends of the earth shall… turn to the LORD.” The empty tomb of Christ is our great joy. His crucifixion was the complete payment for our sins. His resurrection means that the sacrifice was accepted by the Father and applied to every single one of us. By his wounds, we are healed. May he live in your heart forevermore!

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

 

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