The primary phrase shared between Jesus on the cross and Psalm 22 is “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Psa 22:1; cf. Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34). I could see how Jesus had the whole psalm in mind during the event of the cross, since much of it is specifically connected with events that surround the cross. Knowing this makes me think that Jesus probably identified himself with the psalmist, seeing and experiencing at the same time both the troubles of that day and the strength, trust-, and praiseworthiness of the Lord. The traditional interpretation that the Father abandoned the Son would not be as strong here, since the psalm speaks of the ultimate nearness of the Lord (Psa 22:10-11, 19-21, 24). Bauckham sees the quoted words of Psalm 22:1 as Jesus’ experience on the cross, but recognizes that the entire psalm lends context to understanding the quotation (Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel, 255).

As with Bauckham (see Jesus and the God of Israel [2008]), I see Psalm 22 as Christologically rich. In John 19:28, Jesus’ admittance to being thirsty seems to be connected to Psalm 22:15. Like the psalm, the account of the crucifixion event in John 19 also has reference to the mother of the speaker. Psalm 22:6-8, 16, 18 are referred to very specifically in the New Testament as fulfilled by the cross experience. The first set (mocking) is seen in Matthew 27:39-44, Mark 15:29-32, and Luke 23:35. Verse 18 is found fulfilled in Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, and John 19:23-24. Further, we see a very human Jesus—one “taken from the womb” and “on [his] mother’s breast” (Psa 22:9)—who has to trust in the Lord as all human beings do. Lastly, we see in the Psalm—as we see in Jesus—someone who points others to the Lord and encourages them in their worship of God: “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters . . . I will praise you” (22:22); “You who fear the Lord, praise him!” (22:23).