“All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads…”
Lent is the season of penitential reflection and preparation in anticipation of the crucifixion and resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus. Psalm 22 expresses the profound loneliness of one separated from God, one for whom God is remote or absent and seemingly powerless. Its lament was vividly fulfilled at the crucifixion of Christ at Calvary.
This verse describes the suffering of one who is held in contempt for his belief in the Lord God by those who reject God and see Him as without power. They mocked him with their mouths hanging open in disgust and mockery. This is exactly what happened to Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels: “kneeling before Him, they mocked him, saying ‘Hail, King of the Jews!…and those who passed by derided him wagging their heads…so also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself’” (Matthew 27:29, 39-40). Jesus was the humiliated, suffering Christ “despised and rejected of men” (Is. 53:3). Why would He permit this? Why did He not defend Himself before Pilate and His accusers, but remain silent?
Jesus endured this to save us from the condemnation we have earned by our sins. His suffering and humiliation “describes His obedience at the time when God poured out His wrath upon the Son against the sins of the human race.” (Chemnitz) Jesus willingly suffered in order that He might become the perfect sacrifice. He did not defend Himself at His trial because He was obedient and willing to be crucified – for us. “The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all” and “He was wounded for our transgressions” (Is. 53:4). His silence when He was accused and mocked led to His condemnation, but also to our forgiveness. He endured humiliation, mocking and death that we might live with Him and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). By His wounds we have been healed.
Thanks be to God. Amen.