The Agora
Tragedy And Triumph (Psa 22)

Previous Index

"A Seed Shall Serve Him" (vv 26-31)

Verses 26-29: THE GREAT FEAST

Verse 26: "The meek shall eat and be satisfied; they shall praise the Lord that seek Him; your heart shall live forever": Jesus thirsted as he hung upon the cross (John 19:28) but found no relief in the offered drink. His sustenance, as always, was not in actual meat and drink, but in doing the Father's will (John 4:32,34). This will was perfectly and conclusively done in His Son's sacrifice:

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:51).
The Edenic curse, in part, pertained to food: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread" (Gen 3:19). The first Adam and his progeny were destined by sin to labor arduously for the food that perisheth; though they would eat of it, they could not be fully and lastingly satisfied. Jesus Christ, the "last Adam", labored in the sweat of his brow in the garden (Luke 22:44). Upon the cross his sweat was again mingled with his blood. The "bread" born of those labors was the "hidden manna" (Rev 2:17) of eternal life, reserved now in heaven (Col 3:3) for his faithful followers.

The glorious time is coming when he will return to share this "meal" with the meek. Those who have sought their Lord in word and followed him indeed, will partake of his bounty in perpetual praise of God's glory. The two miraculous feedings of the multitudes in Galilee will be re-enacted on a stupendous scale at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb upon Mount Zion (Isa 24:23; 25:6):

"...A feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow..."
Previously all "fat things" were God's portion only (Lev 3:3-5,14-16), just as He alone hath underived immortality. But now the "fat things" -- and immortality itself -- are freely shared with the chosen ones of mankind! "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces" (Isa 25:8). Surely it was the immortal pleasure of the saints which Jesus held in prospect that prompted him to say on the occasion of the Last Supper:

"I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Mat 26:29).
The poor of this world, rich in faith, will at that time be satisfied with the "bread" of immortal strength and the "wine" of eternal joy (Psa 132:15; 104:15), foreshadowed in the weekly memorial emblems. Those who have hungered and thirsted after righteousness shall finally be filled (Mat 5:6).

They will sing the song of fellowship that only the redeemed can truly appreciate; all things will be forever new: With every fiber of their glorified spirit bodies they may taste and see and feel and experience the goodness of the Lord (Psa 34:8).

Verses 27,28: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and He is the governor among the nations": Here is the joy set before Christ, by which he was strengthened and encouraged to bear the agonies of the cross. In these two verses the results are given first and the cause last: All peoples shall worship the only true God because He is the king and governor of all peoples through His only-begotten Son.

"O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come" (Psa 65:2). "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, 'Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever' " (Rev 5:13). In that future day, the contemplation of which filled the mind and heart of Christ, superstitious and ignorant men will no longer feel or grope after an "Unknown God", but will cast their pathetic idols to the moles and bats, and fall upon their knees in earnest supplication and reverence toward the One Lord of heaven and earth (Acts 17:23,24,27; Isa 2:20).

"And there was given him (one like the Son of Man) dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Dan 7:14; Rev 11:15). The One Who is and has always been the Supreme Ruler of all creation will, through His representative, finally assume visible and recognizable control over His domain. Through a veil of pain and tears Jesus saw the shimmering beauty of the new creation, of which he was to be the firstborn creature. When we, his followers, try to imagine our participation in the glorious restitution of all things, what prayers, what words can express the desires of our hearts? "Even so, come, Lord Jesus. And remember me, Lord, when thou comest into thy kingdom."

Verse 29: "All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship": This class is called "the proud" in the RSV: the great and mighty of this world, most frequently spoken of in an unfavorable sense. Nothing can testify so eloquently to the universality of God's worship in the kingdom age than this phrase. Even those who in this age are generally furthest removed from Christ and his gospel will be found among the throngs of worshipers who go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord of hosts and to keep the feast of tabernacles. Even kings will be among their number (Psa 72:10,12,15).

"Before Him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and he who cannot keep himself alive" (RSV): These are phrases which encompass all mankind, for no man can ransom himself from the grave; no man can pay to God the price of his own life (Psa 49:7). Only God can redeem man by Christ, His strong arm of salvation (80:15). Man's salvation in every age has been conditional on the acknowledgement of his own weakness and the sole strength of God. The work of justification is the Father's alone; it is not by works, lest any man should boast, even though belief and obedience are necessary to bring man within the scope of the Father's grace.

Verses 30,31: MESSIAH'S SEED

Like its great counterpart (Isaiah 53), this psalm ends with a vision of Christ's "seed" -- those who will be born out of his sufferings, those who will be justified by a contemplation and imitation of the "travail of his soul" (Isa 53:10).

Verse 30: "A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation": The "seed" is a Biblical theme traceable as far back as the garden of Eden. The "seed of the woman" (Gen 3:15) is both singular and plural, as is the seed of Abraham (Gen 12:1-3; 13:15; Gal 3:16,27-29). As in all things, the natural is a pattern of the spiritual: A single seed placed in the ground can by God's oversight produce a multitude of fruit, a numerous "seed". So it was, and will be, with Jesus:

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24, RSV).
In his death Christ was the sower going forth into the field, weeping as he bore the precious seed to its resting place. But he believed the promise that the single "seed", left to die in the ground, would doubtless come again, being transformed into a harvest of rejoicing ones (Psa 126:6). This spiritual posterity would be a "generation" in God's sight, "a chosen generation" (1Pe 2:9), the "children" whom God would give His Son (Isa 8:18; John 17:6).

Verse 31: "They shall come, and declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born": The "rebirth" to eternal life of Christ's spiritual seed will be the final and climactic declaration of God's righteousness in Christ (Rom 3:25,26). When death is swallowed up in victory, it will be as though a new nation were born in one day from the "womb" of the earth (1Co 15:54; Isa 66:8).

The suffering servant of Yahweh was cut off from the land of the living, apparently with no offspring whatsoever. The eunuch on the road to Gaza was puzzled: "Who shall declare his generation?" (Isa 53:8; Acts 8:33,34). He had none; and yet he was to have a great seed! The "eunuch" Jesus was to become the "father" of hundreds of thousands! of millions! As his life-blood watered the soil of Golgotha they passed before his eyes: the company of the redeemed... an awesome spectacle of familiar friends, of children not yet born, and of old men long dead -- all his "seed"!

"I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, 'Salvation unto our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb' " (Rev 7:9,10).
* * *

What began with a sob ends with a song. With a towering vision of the future glory Christ was sustained in those final moments... And now the time had come. He gathered his strength to utter the last words. One final moment... that the pain, the humiliation, the grief would be indelibly printed upon his mind. And then..."It is finished!" It was the cry of a servant whose work is done, a sufferer whose trials are over, a conqueror whose victory is won.

"It is finished." He closed his eyes as the heavens thundered and the earth quaked. Perfect love had proven itself stronger than death. The beloved Son of God passed through the veil. But with God there could be no ultimate evil: even the death of His only-begotten Son would contribute to His righteous purpose. Tragedy would give way to triumph. Out of death would come life, endless and lovely and glorious.
Previous Index