Jesus’ Prayer From Calvary

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Turn with me in your Bibles to Psalm 22.

The disciples watched everything Jesus did. Watching Him pray:

Luke 11:1 … as {Jesus} was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

One of His disciples came to Jesus one day and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples”. That was when Jesus taught them what we call the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer we know best in is Matthew 6:9-13, but the Lord’s Prayer is also recorded in:

Luke 11:2-4 And {Jesus} said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

This, I’m sure, is a different “Lord’s Prayer” than the one most of you have memorized; but Luke’s account has all the same elements as does Matthew 6:9-13.

The Lord taught His disciples
How to pray by His example

The Apostles recorded the thirty eight times Jesus prayed in the Gospels. As an Orthodox Jew, Jesus prayed at least three times a day as the Jews normally did. “Evening and morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud: and God shall hear my voice!” (Psalm 55:17). Jesus prayed all night before He chose the first twelve Apostles (Luke 6:12-16). Jesus prayed various times as He met great challenge and darkness. Jesus prayed in Gethsemane all night prior to his capture, trials, and crucifixion.

Jesus also prayed while He was being crucified, one of the most terrible and shameful forms of death. Jesus prayed as He hung on Calvary:

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34)

Jesus Quoted Psalm 22:1 in His Prayer From Calvary

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

Jesus prayer is the introduction to what is known as the Psalm of the Cross. the Psalm begins with the prayer our Lord Jesus on the Cross. Jesus cried out:

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?

Why did the Father look away from the Son? Why would Father – who always called Jesus “Beloved Son” – forsake Jesus? Because the penalty of our sin was laid fully on Jesus. The Scripture says in

Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

God is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13). The Father laid upon Jesus our iniquity and our transgressions. Jesus Christ came into this world to die on the Cross of Calvary. Jesus came knowing that He was the Lamb of God that takes away sin.

As the Messiah (and David) pray, there is the sense that God the Father is not listening.

Psalm 22:1 … why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring?

Though these words are not recorded as a prayer that Jesus said from Calvary, I believe
Jesus could have prayed this.

Dr. Bob Utley (retired professor of hermeneutics), in his Bible Commentary, notes:

“ The psalmist is calling on God in direct address with intensity and passion. They know each other! Just a note about Jesus quoting the first part of this psalm from the cross, by that He meant (or an inspired gospel writer) for future readers to read the whole psalm. Quoting the first line was a way to denote a context on a Scripture scroll. ”

Jesus always walked hand in hand with both Father and Spirit. Yet now it seems as if God is so far away, that He might not hear my prayers. Jesus is the Son of Man Who came to this earth living a perfect and sinless life. His mission is to give His life for our sins. In taking sin on Himself, Jesus is cutting Himself off from both Father and Spirit.

Psalm 22 is not only a prayer of David, but it is a prophecy fulfilled when Jesus died for our sins. He did so by losing contact with our Father because of our sin. This prayer continues:

Psalm 22:2-3 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Though God was seemingly far away, the Psalmist presents a person who continued to both seek as well as to praise the Lord.

Though suffering, Jesus does not attack God in His suffering. He calls God “holy”, and the One Who “inhabit{s} the praises of Israel”. He prays God’s past faithfulness.

Psalm 22:4-6 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

The fathers of Israel trusted the Lord, and He delivered them. But God’s only Begotten Son could not be deliver.

On Calvary, Jesus was treated like He was nothing. “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). I believe in His honesty He would have shared with the Father – as David did – the suffering he was going through.

None was more reviled in His life than Jesus was. As He was on the Cross,

Psalm 22:7-8 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

Again, this is prophetic, as it was fulfilled . Suffering, none offer any comfort. They mock Him, and scorn Him.

Matthew 27:39-43 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Jesus received nothing but mockery and pain. Though when He was reviled, reviled not in return; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.

David prayed,

Psalm 22:9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. 11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

All (even the Presence of the Father) turned against Jesus while He was on the Cross. . Surrounded by enemies Jesus continues to pray. The Prophet speaks. He prays, acknowledging the terrible pain that gripped Him. His “bones are out of joint” because of the crucifixion. His heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. Jesus is physically exhausted. Blood loss has caused loss of strength and dehydration. “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws”.

Psalm 22:17-19 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

Again, this could be Jesus’ prayer. Stretched out on the Cross, you would be able to count the ribs of the condemned. The Bible says in:

John 19:23-24 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Jesus is hanging on Calvary, all of His dignity gone! And yet, He continues to pray, to find His strength in His Father.

Psalm 22:20-23 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. 21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. 22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

Though afflicted, this Seeker sought deliverance from His suffering, while continuing to honor the Father. He vowed, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee”. God would be glorified and praised. If you take Psalm 22:1-22 as a prayer, you see a pattern of how we could pray, though afflicted.

Rather than hiding yourself from God, be honest and forthcoming. Bring your questions to the Father. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” (vs 1). It is ok to share your pain to the Father. It is ok to ask questions. Yet, we are never to condemn God for whatever might come. At no point in this prayer does the sufferer “punch down” on God. As the Psalmist went through hard times in His ministry, He called on God for strength. He called on God to be Present.

In the first 22 verses we see what could be a prayer from the Cross. But as we turn to verse 23 and following, this is no longer a prayer. The remaining verses DO NOT SPEAK TO GOD, BUT SPEAK TO THE PUBLIC. You might call these verses an anointed Word:

Psalm 22:23-24 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

We are encouraged to praise God, giving Him glory even in the midst of the trial. If the trial has come to you, it has come at the behest of the Creator. Because we “fear the Lord,we praise him”, because He is good. Our God has never his Himself from the afflicted, but hears our prayers.

Psalm 22:25-27 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

The prayer still praises God, because our God is good! (Psalm 73:1). The Scripture says, Matthew 5:45, “God maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”. Our God is in control! “For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations”(Psalm 22:28). The Jesus Who was reviled, mocked, and tormented relies fully on the Father.

When Jesus is Lord of this earth, “all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before {Him}”. That Day is coming – and I’m looking forward to it. This Psalm ends with the promise of the future:

Psalm 22:29-31 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

May your future be firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. Let us worship Him, for He is worthy. As J Vernon McGee once said in Thru The Bible,

“in Psalm 22 we see the cross, in Psalm 23 the crook (the Shepherd’s crook), and in Psalm 24 the crown (the King’s crown). In Psalm 22 Christ is the Savior; in Psalm 23 He is the Satisfier; in Psalm 24 He is the Sovereign. In Psalm 22 He is the foundation; in Psalm 23 He is the manifestation; in Psalm 24 He is the expectation. In Psalm 22 He dies; in Psalm 23 He is living; in Psalm 24 He is coming. Psalm 22 speaks of the past; Psalm 23 speaks of the present; and Psalm 24 speaks of the future. In Psalm 22 He gives His life for the sheep; in Psalm 23 He gives His love to the sheep; in Psalm 24 He gives us light when He shall appear. What a wonderful picture we have of Christ in these three psalms!”

Let us learn to pray like Jesus prayed. And now, to our prayer service. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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