The 22nd Psalm paints a horrific picture of Christ’s crucifixion. Each minute of His tortuous death paints a unique picture with lessons for believers to ponder. One such picture that is often overlooked is that of the scoffers who taunted Jesus from the foot of the cross, crying out for the release of a thief and the crucifixion of the Messiah.
David in his prophetic psalm labels them with animalistic designations. He calls them wild bulls, lions, and dogs. After reading those verses in the context of the cross, one is inclined to believe these qualities were more demonic than bestial. That the forces of Satan influenced those who carried out the trial and execution of Christ, there is no doubt.
“Many bulls have surrounded Me…”
The attack of a bull is quick, full of force, and vigorous. Its horns pierce deep into the torso. It upends its victim, and tosses him high into the air. It tramples the injured under foot with not an iota of regret. This was the attitude of many who surrounded the cross of Calvary; they wanted violence, blood, and they showed no regret.
“They gape at me with their mouths like a raging and roaring lion…”
Lions rarely hunt alone. They stalk their prey in a pride or family group, cutting them away from the herd, separating the weaker animals. When on the prowl, the lion’s mouth is open. This aids in tracking prey, for a special olfactory gland is located in the roof of a lion’s mouth. The herd mentality is very obvious in the account of the crucifixion. Mob mentality, egged on by mocking and jeering, lies and deceit, were influential upon the decision of Pontius Pilate.
For dogs have surrounded Me;
Wild dogs also hunt in packs, but, unlike the lion which can chase down its prey with short-lived bursts of speed, wild dogs have been known to chase their next meal for up to ten miles. They rarely give up. The Jewish authorities who determined to be rid of Jesus would not give up.
Every one of these descriptions represent the attitudes of the throngs of the people who called out for Jesus to be crucified. They also describe the enemy, Satan, who prowls like a lion, seeking whom he may devour.
The Good News is this: Jesus defeated Satan and death through His resurrection. He defeated the prowling lion, the angry bulls and the packs of dogs. And, because He did defeat them, we can be free from fear. Any attack on us is but temporary. The victory has already been won.
Fear Not the wild animals seeking to devour you, for Jesus has already defeated them.