6 But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all!
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
8 “Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!”
Usually in the Bible, the Hebrew word for a worm is “rimmah”, which means a maggot – but the Hebrew word used here in Psalm 22 for worm, is TOLA’ATH, which means “Crimson worm” or “Scarlet worm”. Both scarlet and crimson are the colors of blood – deep red.
Generally speaking, when we think of a worm, we think of a helpless creature that lives in the dirt; we picture an earth worm, the kind we put on a fish hook. These little creatures are helpless; they have no defense mechanisms. People don’t respect them, value them or appreciate them. I’ve know folks that have pet snakes which is detestable to me but I’ve never heard of anyone who has a pet worm, have you. No one loves the lowly helpless dirty worm.
The Point is crystal clear: we treated Jesus with contempt–we treated the Son of God as if He was worthless. We scorned Him, mocked Him; we even sneered at Him and said, Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!”
In other words, we did not treat Him like a man, a human. We gave Him absolutely no respect. We treated Him like a worm.
But interestingly here in Psalm 22, the word Tola’ath is used and that refers to the Scarlet worm which is more like a grub. It bears the red, scarlet or crimson color…a deep red like blood.
“When the female of the scarlet worm is ready to give birth to her young, she attaches her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother dies, she secrets the crimson fluid that stains the tree and her offspring. For there entire life cycle, the worms will be scarlet or crimson. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. After three days, the scarlet worm loses it’s color and becomes as white as snow which brings Isaiah 1:18 to mind… “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”
What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding his precious blood that he might ‘bring many sons unto glory’ (Hbr 2:10)! He died for us, that we might live through him! Psa 22:6 describes such a worm and gives us this picture of Christ.
As Dale was singing the OLD RUGGED CROSS at Joyce COLS, the second verse struck me in a way that it never had…
Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, Has a wondrous attraction for me; For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above, To bear it to dark Calvary.
I finished up the Revised English Version last week with the gospel of Luke and so I read through passion narrative one more time and I was moved. Just thinking about the cross and what Jesus did for me, moves me, it stirs my inner being. The QUESTION I keep asking the LORD is why did you have suffer the indignities? If a man is sentenced to die, to be executed by the State, I get it but to mock him, ridicule him, beat him to a pulp, make a spectacle of his execution, all these things are cruel, unnecessary and inhuman.
The only answer I get and it may not be the right one is: The Father allowed this to show us how sinful and depraved we really are. There are two extremes that the CROSS illustrate: It is the greatest display of God’s redeeming love and the greatest example of our depravity. At the CROSS, we see God at His Best and man at his worse.
I was reading Psalm 130 yesterday and these two verses took lodging in my heart…
3… If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?
4… But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
Aren’t you glad that God forgives sin?
Have you ever ask HIM to forgive you of your sins?