The Testimony of the Psalmist
My wife and I love to sing Scripture songs. We sing Scripture songs when we walk together in the mornings. We sing Scripture songs as part of our worship together. We sing Scripture songs in the car.
It all started when our children were little. My wife was impressed to start composing Scripture songs to help our children memorize Scripture. That was twenty years ago. Now our children are grown, but through the years their lives have been blessed and our whole family has been profoundly blessed by singing more than 100 Scripture songs from God’s Word.
Now those Scripture songs are played in people’s homes and on Christian radio stations around the world! I’m so thankful today for a wonderful Christian wife who has helped us to hide God’s Word in our hearts!
Singing Scripture songs is not a new idea. Did you realize that there is a whole collection of Scripture songs in the Bible? It’s called the book of Psalms. It really should be called the books of Psalms, because there are 5 books of Psalms altogether, all bundled into one!
And did you know that there was more than one psalmist? Who was the most well known psalmist? David! That’s right. But there were many psalmists who made contributions to the 5 books of psalms: David’s son Solomon, Asaph, the sons of Korah, Moses. That’s right! Moses wrote one of the Scripture songs that is included in the Psalms. Each one of them was inspired by God to give a testimony in song.
When we think of those Scripture songs known as the Psalms, we probably think of songs of praise, songs of worship, songs of confession and songs of petition. Most people don’t realize that there are over 90 prophecies about the Messiah in the Psalms. Today we are going to examine some of those prophecies in the Psalms as we continue our series on the Emmaus Road.
If you have been with us for the rest of this Emmaus Road series, you’ll remember that Jesus gave an amazing Bible study to two of His disciples as they walked together on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. That walk of 7-8 miles would have taken at least 2 hours, maybe as much as 4 hours. Perhaps they occasionally stopped to reason together, and then continued on their walk. Dr. Luke tells us, in Luke 24:27 that as Jesus walked with His two disciples on the road to Emmaus that “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
In this Emmaus Road series, we’ve considered the testimony of Moses and we have found that all of those prophecies point to Jesus as the Messiah. We’ve also considered the testimony of the prophets about Messiah, and we have found that all of those prophecies point to Jesus as the Messiah. You might ask, “Why are we now examining the testimony of the Psalmists?”
Well, look with me at a comment that Jesus made later that evening. Luke 24:44-45 “He said to them,
'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.' Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
Today, in our study, I want to focus on just one of the 150 psalms which contains startling prophecies about the Messiah, and every prophetic detail of this psalm is fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Every detail of this Scripture song about Messiah points to Jesus as the Messiah.
The psalm that we will examine together is a psalm of David—Psalm 22. Please take your Bible and open it to Psalm 22. As we read this psalm, stop me if you see any portion of this prophecy that was fulfilled in the life of Jesus.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” You say, “Stop right there!” Jesus cried those words from the cross! Does anyone have a cross reference in the margin of Psalm 22? Where are those words recorded again in the New Testament, 1000 years later? Mark 15:34.
Let’s read on. Psalm 22:1b-8.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?You say, “Stop there!” Didn’t the enemies of Jesus mock Him and hurl insults at Him while He was hanging on the cross? Let’s look at Matthew 27:39-43.
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent.
"Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
"But I am a worm and not a man,
"Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’
"In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
That mockery, those insults were prophesied 1000 years earlier!
Let’s read on. Psalm 22:9-15.
"Yet you brought me out of the womb;
You say, “Wait! Stop there! I remember a cry of Jesus from the cross. It’s recorded in John 19:28. What did Jesus cry out? “I thirst.” And 1000 years earlier it had been prophesied by the Psalmist, “my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.”
Let’s read on. Psalm 22:16. “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.” You say, “That’s a prophecy about the crucifixion, right there!
There were two ways that a condemned criminal could be fastened to a Roman cross. Some were simply tied to the cross, and left there to die. Others were tied and nailed to the cross. How do we know that Jesus was nailed to the cross? How do you know that they pierced Jesus?
Do you remember the words of Thomas, recorded in John 20:25. Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” That prophecy of the Psalmist, recorded 1000 years earlier, was fulfilled! “They have pierced my hands and my feet.”
Let’s keep reading from Psalm 22:17-18. “I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”
You say, “Stop!” I’ve read about that being fulfilled when Jesus was being crucified on the cross. You’re right. Matthew, and Mark, and Luke, and John record the fulfillment of that prophecy of the Psalmist.
Here is just one testimony, from Matthew. Matthew 27:35. “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” That prophecy was fulfilled with startling accuracy!
"But you, O LORD, be not far off;
"I will declare your name to my brothers;
I don’t think that the NIV is the best translation here. It misses the significance of the abrupt shift in verse 22. The NIV reads this way in Psalm 22:21. “Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.”
But the Hebrew can also be translated this way, as it is in the NKJV: “Save Me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me!” That’s why there is such an abrupt shift in Psalm 22:22. “You have answered Me!” Messiah has the assurance that His cries are heard, in the midst of His suffering! You have answered Me.
Messiah catches a glimpse of what was prophesied by the psalmist David in Psalm 16:9-11.
"Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
There it is! A clear prophesy about the resurrection! And when the women came to the tomb early on the morning of the first day of the week, two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!”
We could spend the remainder of our study time together considering many other prophecies in the psalms about Messiah, all of which are fulfilled in the life of Jesus. But I want to conclude this last study in our Emmaus Road series, by asking a very important question.
Why did Dr. Luke include this story of Jesus walking with His disciples on the Emmaus Road in his gospel record? What was Luke’s purpose, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Well, we know that Luke had a special message to share with the world. It’s stated most clearly in Luke 19:10. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Have you ever heard of the trilogy of “lost” parables? The lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost sons? Only one Gospel writer includes that trilogy of “lost” parables. Can you guess which gospel writer that is? You’re right. Can you guess why? Luke 19:10... “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
And then Luke records this story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. How were they doing before Jesus joined them on the road? They were....LOST. But I have good news for you today. The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost! And so Jesus, the Risen Lord, joins His two disciples on the Emmaus Road, and He opens the Scriptures to them. He opens their eyes, and He opens their understanding.
And what is the result? Luke 24:32 “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” Their hearts burned within them because they were absolutely convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, their Messiah.
There was a time and place on the road of my life when I was lost. Lost in my selfishness. Lost in my sinfulness. And I’m so thankful today that Jesus, my Messiah found me. I’m so thankful that Jesus, my Messiah, walks with me!
Is there anyone else here today who was lost at some place on your life’s journey, and you are thankful today that Jesus, your Messiah, found you! Let me see your hand raised in thanks toward heaven. Praise God!
Someone here today, who has listened to this series of messages, has been thoroughly convinced that Jesus is the Messiah, the fulfillment of all of the prophecies of Moses, all the Prophets, and the Psalmists. To you, I would say today, “Jesus is not just THE Messiah! He is YOUR Messiah. And Jesus, your Messiah wants to walk with you!
Isn’t that good news? No matter where you are on life’s journey. No matter how confused you are. Or how weak you feel. Jesus, your Messiah, wants to walk with you!
After Cleopas and his friend had received this amazing Bible study on the road to Emmaus, their understanding was opened and their eyes were opened. They recognized Jesus, and their hearts were filled with joy.
At that moment, Luke records in Luke 24:31 “their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.” But even though Jesus disappeared from their sight, He was still in their hearts. And what did these two disciples do? Sit around and celebrate? No! They hurried back to Jerusalem, another 7-8 miles, in the dark. Why? Because they just had to share the good news that Jesus, the Messiah, was risen from the dead!
Once we recognize that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world, we ought not to just sit around and celebrate. There are others around us who need to know that Jesus is their Messiah, and that Jesus, their Messiah wants to walk with them too! Remember Cleopas and his friend. They hurried back to their friends, their colleagues, and they gave their testimony that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
So who do you know that needs to hear the good news about Jesus? You can give them your testimony. You can tell them your story. You could also give them a set of this series, and pray that their hearts would also burn within them when they come to understand that Jesus, their Messiah, wants to walk with them.
We have some CDs here today that you can share with someone that you’ve been praying for. And if you’re watching this series on the Hope channel, or via our web church, and you would like a set of these CDs, you can write to us at the address on the screen.
But don’t wait until you get the CDs to share the good news with others! You can tell your story. You can give your testimony. You can tell them, “Jesus, your Messiah, wants to walk with you!”
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By Derek Morris, Pastor of the Forest Lake Church in Apopka, FL. Better Sermons © 2005-2009. Click here for usage guidelines.
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