Just for the sake of argument, let us make Psalms 22 and 23 all about and only about Jesus and see where that leads. That means that Psalms 22 and 23 is King David writing about a future event (the Cross of Christ) as if it was present tense and every verse in those two chapters reflect the action of and on the Cross and the thoughts and/or prayers of Jesus.
Because the tense can be past, present or future, I will adjust the tense so that it fits the Cross.
Psalms 22:1 – Obviously, the Cross.
Verse 2: Jesus as 100% human struggled sometimes with his faith (for example in the Garden when he asked God to find another way for the salvation mankind). Struggling with our faith is not a sin, but a normal process of spiritual growth/maturity. “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature with God and man.” (Luke 2:52).
Verse 3-5: Jesus reminds himself in times of his struggle with faith, that God is faithful and can be trusted. Don’t we all do that to help our faith?
Verse 6-8: Obviously, the Cross.
Verse 9-10: Jesus, on the Cross, reminds himself of God’s trustworthiness.
Verse 11: A prayer of Jesus on the Cross.
Verse 12-18: Obviously, the Cross.
Verse 19-21: Jesus praying on the Cross.
Verse 22-23: Jesus thinking about his past, present and future ministry of testifying about his Father for and to others.
Verse 24: Although Jesus was forsaken by God on the Cross, still God ministered to him during the Cross some of the time. Jesus was ultimately forsaken by God when Jesus was on the Cross, but not forsaken all the time he was on the Cross. Thank God! By forsaken, I mean God’s presence left him; God turned his back on Jesus both figuratively and literally.
Verse 25: Jesus reflects that in heaven he will continue to praise his Father and that he (Jesus), as a human being, owes eternal thanks to God. Jesus, even as the Son of God owes eternal thanks to the Father who allows him the earned name above every name.
Verse 25-29: A reference to the Millennial Kingdom ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus on the Cross reminds himself of the great future God has for him after his 33-years of earthly life is over. We do that too when we face hard times because doing so helps us remain faithful to the end. Verse 29 is a reference to Revelation 20:7.
Verse 30: A reference to the Church Age (now). “…for a generation” means “from generation to generation” or “for each specific generation.”
Verse 31: They (the saved of the Church Age) to each generation has the testimony that Jesus did it! What did Jesus do? He purchased our salvation on the Christ. That is The Gospel!
Now, read Psalms 23 as if it is the thoughts of victory running through the mind of Christ 2,000 plus years ago as he hung there for you! You can never read Psalms 23 the same, can you? Some of may be, indirectly, about you and me by association with Jesus, but it is directly the thoughts of the Lord Jesus on the Cross.
Commentary on some of Psalms 23:
Verse 2. Changing the tense, which is allowed from the context, Jesus is reflecting on the past and future comfort of God in his life to help him face the current horror.
Verse 4: The rod and staff speak of the protection and guidance of God. The rod used to nudge the sheep in the right direction and the staff (crooked part) used to help free the sheep from being stuck in brush and other uncomfortable or dangerous areas.
Verse 5: Even while on the Cross Jesus had some ministry from God. The “table” represents the provision of God for body and/or soul. The anointing is probably a past and/or future tense reference to the comfort and calling of God or it may be a reflection of the presence of God for some of the time Jesus was on the Cross.
Verse 6: A reflection on the past and future (goodness and mercy) and a looking forward to his resurrection.
What was Jesus thinking when on the Cross? Now you know, at least in part. We are told what Jesus was thinking in Psalms 22 and 23. This is an example of the analytical the power of knowing the Bible in context!
Rev. Joda Collins
I make no claim that anyone else agrees with me.