Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you delivered them. … But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
Psalm 22:4, 6
While Psalm 69 speaks of the sufferings the Lord endured at the hands of men, when they treated Him as a criminal, Psalm 22 reminds us of the three hours of darkness that followed. They were the hours when Christ was abandoned by God, being in the judgment for our sins.
When the sun was darkened and the time for the judgment came, when God made “Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21), He received no response to His cry. He experienced what Jeremiah expressed in Lamentations in these words: “You have covered yourself with a cloud, that prayer should not pass through” (ch. 3, v. 44).
Can we understand why God hid Himself just when His Son was on the point of glorifying Him perfectly? It was on behalf of you and me! In those moments He was bearing our sins, and God’s wrath weighed down upon Him. Even today Psalm 22 constantly reminds us of His exceedingly deep trouble: “Be not far from me. … Hasten to help me. … My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (vv. 12, 20, 2).
This is an unfathomable mystery. As the holy and just Judge, God carried out this judgment on His Son. And although at the same time He was being glorified perfectly, He remained silent. Did He ever have a greater reason to open heaven and make known His delight in His Son? But it could not be. Again, it was on behalf of you and me. How our God is worthy of our worship!