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Psalm 69 – The Cross

This Psalm is quoted in Gospel narratives about the crucifixion and in Acts concerning Judas. It is a prayer of David but is easily placed on the lips of Jesus as well – except one verse makes people a bit uneasy in doing that.

To sink in the mire and to have the waters sweep over you is to be dying (1-2). To be crying out to God and to be unheard is what Jesus experienced at the cross (3). He too was surrounded by haters who accused him of crimes he did not commit (4). Then Jesus says, “O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you” (5). How could Jesus pray this when he had no sin? The answer is that on the cross he took our foolish actions and our wrongs upon himself. Jesus was our representative – he calls our sins his own. He imputes our righteousness on to himself. To hear the Lord Jesus say this gives us pause. It seems not right – but this is what he did for us on the cross and it is good to be faced with the impact of this.

The Psalm goes on to recount the sufferings of Jesus and his appeal to God to vindicate him. We read of him being forsaken by men (8), of his zeal for God’s house (9), his being mocked in public (12), his confidence that God will faithfully save him ultimately – in the resurrection (13-14), that God will ransom his soul from death (18), and the sour wine they offered him (21). If you want to know the emotional life of the Lord on the Cross then read this psalm.

Judas, along with other enemies, makes an appearance in verses 22-28. Jesus cries out for God to act in justice. You don’t want Jesus to pray these kinds of things for you – make spiritually blind (22), pour out burning anger on (24), cause to die (25), increase their judgment with no acquittal (27), blot out from the book of life and not be included in God’s people – miserable Judas indeed!

The remainder of the Psalm is Jesus’ praise for future deliverance. He knows that following his suffering God will set him on high (29), he will sing with joy of salvation (3), others will join with Jesus is joyful seeking after God (32), God will save his people and the new creation will be our inheritance (34-36).

So many things in this Psalm to learn – how Jesus can call himself a sinner, how he prayed in suffering, the hope he held at the Cross. We can also learn from this Psalm expressions that we can direct to God in prayer.