We see How Christ Saw His Current State on the Cross, His reliance on Our Father, and His Future. After Psalm 22 there are two more which show Christ's View of His State then and future. We are to learn to do the same.
Because for the last 3,000 years certain groups of Psalms were always read and studied and recited together as though they were a unified group. We’re familiar with that through groupings such as the Psalms of ascent that were sung as the people journeyed to Jerusalem and ascended to go up to the temple to worship. Certain sets of Psalms were grouped together as a unit. It would be something like a musical composition in three parts, or three movements, with individual Psalms being one of those parts.
Psalm 22, which we have just covered in detail, is part of a group of three Psalms that were considered to be three parts of one complete set. The other two Psalms in the set were Psalm 23 and Psalm 24—three Psalms that form what you might call three “movements” of a whole. Let’s briefly read through those other two Psalms to see what they add to the picture.
Psalm 23 is one we’ll recognize immediately. But read it as though you were reading it through Jesus Christ’s eyes as He goes through what we just read about in Psalm 22 and what does it describe? Picture this as though Jesus is reciting it to Himself as He is being crucified and it takes on a whole new meaning.
Read this as a continuation of Psalm 22.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
What is this describing when viewed from the perspective of Jesus the Messiah and what He was going through in Psalm 22? It’s describing Him walking through the valley of the shadow of death. He’s about to die, in other words. But what is His attitude? Does He fear what He is experiencing and facing? No. He says, “I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
He’s not afraid because He knows His Heavenly Father is with Him. Continuing,
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Again, is He worried or feeling cut off and abandoned by God? No. He knows that God is with Him, that God will bless Him with goodness and mercy, and that He will dwell in God’s house forever, He will not be left in the grave or the tomb. Do you see that, that this Psalm as the “second movement” describes Jesus Christ’s complete confidence and trust in the Father in His last hours? It’s incredible when you read it this way.
Is this the primary meaning of this particular Psalm? No, because it’s written to describe the relationship of any of us to God the Father and Jesus Christ as our shepherd. It’s primarily about Jesus Christ as our Chief Shepherd.
But at times there are different layers of meaning in the Scriptures that aren’t evident at first glance—as we’ve seen again and again in going through the Gospels. There are whole other levels of meaning that we don’t see on the surface, but we do see when we dig deeper. Bear with this for a few more minutes. Maybe this will help your understanding.
What about the third Psalm of this set of three that were viewed as three parts of one whole? What does it tell us about our Messiah and Savior? Let’s take a look.
24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Can you see that Jesus the Messiah would be the sinless, pure person who would stand in God’s holy place? If anyone would, wouldn’t it be Him, the only person who never sinned at all? Wouldn’t He be the one blessed by God above all others? Of course.
6 (NIV) Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah
And now this shifts gears in a remarkable way. If any of you are fans of Handel’s Messiah, you’ll recognize these words immediately:
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! What are these gates? And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! What are these doors? And the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory, and what gates and doors is He entering? Keep reading, and we find out.
8 Who is this King of glory? Now it tells us who the King of glory is: The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Who was the LORD of the Old Testament? The one who became Jesus Christ. So the King of glory is going in through gates and doors. Why is He called the King of glory? Because He is glorified! And what gates and doors is He now entering?
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. To where is this King of glory, the glorified Jesus Christ, coming through gates and doors? This is the resurrected Messiah no longer suffering crucifixion, no longer three days and three nights in the tomb, but resurrected to glorious spirit existence and returning to God the Father in His throne room in heaven.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah
This is the third of three movements. The first was the Messiah being crucified as a sacrifice for the sins of the world in Psalm 22. The second is Jesus the Messiah having complete faith and trust in His heavenly Father as He faces death in Psalm 23, but knowing He will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. And the third is our resurrected and glorified Savior and Messiah returning to heaven to be with His Father again here in Psalm 24—
What an incredible picture painted for us in these three Psalms!
It’s a truly wondrous and amazing picture for us of our Savior who gave His life for us, and now lives at the right hand of the Father in heaven as our glorified High Priest and Intercessor and coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As we approach the Passover, there’s an amazing amount of information here to think deeply on these things and the greatness of God’s plan and what our Savior went through that we might ultimately be a part of the family of God.
Now We May Arise and Go With Christ From Here