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Psalm 22:25-31 1
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it.

clip_image116Background 2

We do not know when David wrote Psalm 22. He was very ill, or he was hurt badly. He writes about his suffering. But he also writes about the sufferings of other people. Here is an example. People often torture other people. Torture means hurt very much. Near Judah was a place called Tyre. In Tyre this is how they tortured people: they fixed them to wood with nails. The nails went through their hands and feet. A nail is a piece of sharp iron, a few inches long. Psalm 22:16 talks about this.

So Psalm 22 is more than a psalm about the sufferings of David. His own agony made him think about the agony of other people. Christians believe he wrote about the agony of one very special person. We call that person the Messiah, or Christ. Many Christians read (or sing) Psalm 22 on Good Friday. They believe that it is not only about the suffering of David. It is about the suffering of Jesus. Though he was God, Jesus was also a servant. We call him the suffering servant. From Psalm 22:22 to the end the psalm becomes happy. This is because God raised Jesus from the dead. Because Jesus died for us, we believe that God will raise us from the dead too.

Biblical Truths 3

The Savior now speaks as risen from the dead. The first words of the complaint were used by Christ himself upon the cross; the first words of the triumph are expressly applied to him, Hebrews 2:12. All our praises must refer to the work of redemption. The suffering of the Redeemer was graciously accepted as a full satisfaction for sin. Though it was offered for sinful men, the Father did not despise or abhor it for our sakes. This ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. All humble, gracious souls should have a full satisfaction and happiness in him. Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness in Christ, shall not labor for that which satisfies not. Those that are much in praying, will be much in thanksgiving. Those that turn to God, will make conscience of worshipping before him. Let every tongue confess that he is Lord. High and low, rich and poor, bond and free, meet in Christ. Seeing we cannot keep alive our own souls, it is our wisdom, by obedient faith, to commit our souls to Christ, who is able to save and keep them alive for ever. A seed shall serve him. God will have a church in the world to the end of time. They shall be accounted to him for a generation; he will be the same to them that he was to those who went before them.

His righteousness, and not any of their own, they shall declare to be the foundation of all their hopes, and the fountain of all their joys. Redemption by Christ is the Lord’s own doing. Here we see the free love and compassion of God the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, for us wretched sinners, as the source of all grace and consolation; the example we are to follow, the treatment as Christians we are to expect, and the conduct under it we are to adopt. Every lesson may here be learned that can profit the humbled soul. Let those who go about to establish their own righteousness inquire, why the beloved Son of God should thus suffer, if their own doings could atone for sin? Let the ungodly professor consider whether the Savior thus honored the Divine law, to purchase him the privilege of despising it. Let the careless take warning to flee from the wrath to come, and the trembling rest their hopes upon this merciful Redeemer. Let the tempted and distressed believer cheerfully expect a happy end of every trial.

Items for Discussion

  • Before we look at David’s prophecy, please share how in your life your prayers change when you find yourself suffering some infliction?
  • How is hope intertwined with prayer?
  • Can you pray without hope?
  • What type of imagery is the most comforting when you pray?
  • What is David’s imagery in his prayer?

 

1 John 4:7-10
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Background 4

It is widely accepted that the author of the letter (or more like sermon), is the same as the author of the fourth gospel. In fact some scholars believe that this book was written to go with the gospel either as an introduction or an epilogue. The book has many similarities to the gospel. I John may have been written from Ephesus about 110 A.D. around the same time as the gospel was written. It is mentioned by Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna in a letter to the church and Philippi around 117 A.D.

The purpose of the book, a sermon (since it contains no Opening or Closing as letters usually do), was to address certain heresies (like Docetism) and strengthen Christians in spirit. Using a mixture of rationalism and mysticism, John emphasizes key words and phrases which spiral in on key concepts such as light versus darkness, truth versus lies, etc.
Significant sections:

  • Preface – The author’s theme – the Word Of Life: 1:1-4
  • the nature of Christianity: 1:5-2:17
  • The Crisis of Christianity – antichrist, the Devil, persecution, and contradiction of Spirits 2:18-4:6
  • The Victory of Christianity 4:7-5:17

Biblical Truths 5

[7-12] Love as we share in it testifies to the nature of God and to his presence in our lives. One who loves shows that one is a child of God and knows God, for God’s very being is love; one without love is without God. The revelation of the nature of God’s love is found in the free gift of his Son to us, so that we may share life with God and be delivered from our sins. The love we have for one another must be of the same sort: authentic, merciful; this unique Christian love is our proof that we know God and can “see” the invisible God.

Items for Discussion

  • Look at the first verse, verse 7 and share how you see love “testifying” to the very nature of God?
  • Can God exist without the evidence of love?
  • How would this verse explain religious activities that seem to be based on hate?
  • Why is a life of love a more effective testimony than one based on theory or theological perfection?

Discussion Challenge

  • What is the role of a local church in demonstrating the very nature of God to the community? Be specific here.
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