Yesterday we pointed out that there are six stanzas within the first part of Psalm 22, and looked at the first two stanzas. Today we consider the next three, and will then describe the last one on Friday.

There is a turning point in this psalm at the end of verse 21. Charles Haddon Spurgeon tells of a book by a man named J. Stevenson, called Christ on the Cross. It was a study of this psalm and had a sermon for every verse, thirty-one in all. Because of the turning point at the end of verse 21, I will be content with only two studies, one on each of the psalm's two parts.

As Jesus was being led through the streets of Jerusalem to the place of his crucifixion, what was he thinking of? He seems to have been thinking of other people. When Jesus saw the women weeping after him he said, "Do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children,” and he prophesied the terrible days to come (Luke 23:28-31). When the soldiers drove the nails through his hands and feet to affix him to the rough wooden cross he prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

The Lord Jesus Christ is described as his people's shepherd in three ways. In John 10:11 and 14 he is "the good shepherd," who gives his life for his sheep. In Hebrews 13:20 he is "that great shepherd," who has risen from the dead and lives now to direct his people in every good work. In 1 Peter 5:4 he is "the Chief shepherd," who has ascended into heaven from whence he will one day return to reward the under shepherds of the church who have been faithful. It has been pointed out that Psalms 22, 23 and 24 are like that. Psalm 22 is the song of the dying shepherd, crying out to the Father. Psalm 23 is the song of the risen shepherd, guiding his sheep through life's dark wilderness. Psalm 24 is the song of the ascended shepherd who will reward those who have served faithfully.

The second stanza of Psalm 21 corresponds to the second stanza of Psalm 20, though there are some differences. In Psalm 20 the speaker is apparently an individual, and while this could be the case in Psalm 21, it is not made explicit. In Psalm 20 the speaker uses the present tense, anticipating the victory that has been prayed for and is expected to be given. In Psalm 21 the tense is future, anticipating the victories yet to come.8 In spite of these differences, the tone of the two sections is very much alike, however. Both express confidence in God to protect the king and people in coming days as he has done in the past. In Psalm 21 this confidence follows naturally on the reference to the covenant in verse 7.