Much of Psalm 22 is prophetic of the humiliation and suffering that the Messiah (Jesus) would have to (and actually did) endure. Its author, King David, described many of the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion in great detail about 1,000 years before they happened and about 700 years before crucifixion was even invented. Coincidentally, David was experiencing hard times at the time he wrote this; so most of Psalm 22 was a foreshadowing of what would happen to David’s own descendant, Jesus.
Following is a collection of Bible references and/or explanations relating to the abuse Jesus sustained and the crucifixion He underwent. In each case, the first reference is the prophecy from Psalm 22, and what follows is the actual fulfillment in the New Testament.
1) Prophecy: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1).
Fulfimment: “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, [or Eli, Eli,] lama sabachthani?’—which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matt. 27:46). (Incidentally, Eloi is “My God” in Aramaic. However, Eli, in Hebrew, not only means “My God” but also is short for “Eliyahu” (Elijah); so, since some thought Jesus was crying out for Elijah (27:47), He must have been speaking Hebrew, not Aramaic.)
2) Prophecy: “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads...” (Psalm 22:7).
Fulfimment: “They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ they said” (Matt. 27:29bc).
“Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads...” (Matt. 27:39).
3) Prophecy: “He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him” (Psalm 22:8).
Fulfimment: “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God’” (Matt. 27:43).
4) Prophecy: “Yet you brought me out of the womb...” (Psalm 22:9a).
Fulfimment: “...[Mary] gave birth to her firstborn, a son” (Luke 2:7a).
5) Prophecy: “From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God” (Psalm 22:10).
Fulfimment: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary], and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
6) Prophecy: “I am [or my life blood is] poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me” (Psalm 22:14).
Fulfimment: Jesus’ life blood was shed in several ways while He was alive: sweating drops of blood (Luke 22:44b), being beaten (22:63), being scourged (Mark 15:15b), wearing a crown of thorns (15:17b), and being nailed to a cross (15:25). Moreover, “...one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (John 19:34).
Being crucified and hanging on a cross for about six hours would have caused many of the bones in Jesus’ body (especially in his arms and shoulders) to be disjointed and dislocated—but not broken (Psalm 34:20; John 19:33,36).
Jesus was in complete submission with no spirit of retaliation in Him, similar to how the children of Israel felt when some of their soldiers were defeated by the men of the city, Ai: “At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water” (Josh. 7:5c).
7) Prophecy: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd [piece of broken pottery], and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:15).
Fulfimment: Water pours out of a broken vessel. Similarly, the strength in Jesus’ broken body (1 Cor. 11:24) was drained away by the flogging and hanging on the cross until He finally said, “It is finished” and gave up His Spirit (John 19:30). Then His dead body was laid in a tomb (19:42).
Due to such extreme hypovolemia (diminished blood supply) from being flogged and crucified, Jesus’ body and mouth would have experienced severe dehydration. Understandably, Jesus uttered, “I am thirsty” (John 19:28).
8) Prophecy: “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16).
Fulfimment: At that time, Gentiles (non-Jews), who generally did not accept the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were considered as “dogs” (Matt. 15:26,27). Prior to the flogging and the crucifixion, Jesus was turned over to the Roman Gentiles by evil Jewish authorities (Matt. 20:19a, 26:47-50; Acts 4:27).
The following statement was made by “doubting Thomas,” one of Jesus’ twelve disciples: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were,...I will not believe” (John 20:25b). At that time, “...Jesus came and stood among them.... Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. ... Stop doubting and believe’” (20:26b,27).
Crucifixion was the only kind of torture where nails were driven into the wrists (upper hands) and feet. In fact, the pain resulting from the crushing of the median nerves in the wrists and the plantar nerves in the feet is so indescribably bad that a word had to be invented to describe it: excruciating, which comes from the Latin ex crucio or “out of the cross.” Can you imagine? Jesus suffered this intense pain—and a great deal more—for us.
9) Prophecy: “I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me” (Psalm 22:17).
Fulfimment: Bones out of joint from crucifixion would press up into the skin from underneath. Also, the victim’s rib cage was in an expanded state due to being pulled upward by the arms. Their outlines could thereby be seen and the bones counted.
“The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ [Messiah] of God, the Chosen One.’” (Luke 23:35).
10) Prophecy: “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (Psalm 22:18).
Fulfimment: “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’ ... So this is what the soldiers did” (John 19:23,24).