Who’s your brother? (Psalm 22:22-31)

6th century icon of Christ, Mt. Sinai Monastery
This passage begins with a statement that features prominently in chapter 2 of the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews: “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.” The author’s point there is that our Heavenly Father made Jesus the perfect author of our salvation by allowing him to suffer. (Now there is an uplifting idea for meditation!):

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” (Heb 2:10-12)

One question you might ask right away: “Wait a minute! How are we supposed to know that Psalm 22 refers to Jesus? … A reasonable question. The most natural interpretation in reading the Psalm itself is that the brothers are the Psalmists family, friends, and local congregation. The answer one commentary gives is that the early church regarded Psalm 22 as Messianic, and therefore it was natural for the author to the Hebrews to understand Messiah to be the speaker in that Psalm.

Okay, but why did the early church regard this Psalm as Messianic? Were they just making this up as they went along?! No. The early church regarded this Psalm as Messianic at least in part because Jesus himself recited this Psalm’s opening words when he died. This led the early church to explore a number of other Messianic themes found throughout the Psalm. For more information see http://www.crossmarks.com/dissertation/abstract.htm.

Whose your brother? None other than Jesus, Messiah, Son of God. Who better to understand the real you than your own brother? Enjoy some time today with a most distinguished sibling who thinks the world of you.

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