Is Psalm 23 a Messianic Psalm?

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Question / Comment - Is Psalm 23 a Messianic Psalm?


From one member of the body of Christ to another...please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ron. I see you sign your post as I. Gordon, and from that I could not really determine your gender, so I don't know if the term brother or sister is appropriate.However, I have just finished your excellent post on Psalm 23. I know this was a Psalm written by King David, and there are two things I would like to ask you about.

The first is that I would like to ask your thoughts on something unique to this psalm. Because it follows Psalm 22 and we know that Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm, do you feel it may be possible that Psalm 23 is ALSO a Messianic Psalm? (Or perhaps even an extension on the thoughts of Psalm 22?) And if it is, do you think it may have been a great comfort (as hard as it may seem to believe that He could receive any comfort at such a time as that) to our Savior as he hung on the cross of Calvary? I am certain He meditated on it often while on earth, but I do not desire to take Scripture beyond where it leads us. Therefore I am interested in your thoughts on this.

Secondly, I would like to know if I might have permission to use your thoughts in a message one day when I again teach this Psalm. you have offered me some fresh insight on it, and I appreciate that sincerely.

May you have a great day in the Lord, and may He have a great day in you.

JPN Reply:

Hey Ron,

thanks for the email and greetings from New Zealand! My name is Iain so that would make me a brother : )

Thanks for the interesting thoughts in the email. It has actually made me want to complete 'the trilogy' because I've got studies on Psalm 22 and 23 but I have always felt that with 24 we have a nice little trilogy of Messianic Psalms - but I've never done that one. I haven't ever thought of Psalm 23 as being Messianic about Jesus' time on earth though... so that is an interesting new thought. I've always thought of Psalm 22 describing the suffering of the Messiah on earth and then His exaltation near the end. Then Psalm 23 gives us the Messiah in His present day role as our great shepherd, taking His sheep through the joys and hardships of this life's journey. Then we have Psalm 24 where he is the King! The King of Glory who comes back! This is the return of the Messiah. Hence why I now think I now need to finish the trilogy! So all three give us His earthly ministry and death, His exaltation, His present priestly Shepherd ministry, and His return as the King.

I'm sure you are right though that Jesus would have meditated on Psalm 23 as He went through all that He did... Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil... I'm sure this could easily describe His thoughts at the time. So you could be right... I just haven't ever thought of it like that before! : )

I looked up what J Vernon McGee had to say about it and was pleased that I did. He had a whole lot of info concerning the three Psalms and spoke about the trilogy as well so maybe that is where I first read it - can't remember...McGee had the following helpful points:


THEME: Christ as the great Shepherd

Psalm 23, which is so popular, would be meaningless without Psalm 22, which leads me to say that we have a trilogy or triptych of psalms that belong together. They are Psalms 22, 23, and 24, and they are called the shepherd psalms. These three psalms present the following picture of our Lord: In Psalm 22 He is the Good Shepherd. The Lord Jesus Himself made the statement, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (Joh_10:11). Now here in Psalm 23 He is the Great Shepherd. Notice this title in the great benediction at the conclusion of the Epistle to the Hebrews: "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Heb_13:20-21). Psalm 23 reveals Him as the Great Shepherd. Next, we see Him in Psalm 24 as the Chief Shepherd. "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1Pe_5:4).

To put it succinctly, in Psalm 22 we see the cross, in Psalm 23 the crook (the Shepherd's crook), and in Psalm 24 the crown (the King's crown). In Psalm 22 Christ is the Savior; in Psalm 23 He is the Satisfier; in Psalm 24 He is the Sovereign. In Psalm 22 He is the foundation; in Psalm 23 He is the manifestation; in Psalm 24 He is the expectation. In Psalm 22 He dies; in Psalm 23 He is living; in Psalm 24 He is coming. Psalm 22 speaks of the past; Psalm 23 speaks of the present; and Psalm 24 speaks of the future. In Psalm 22 He gives His life for the sheep; in Psalm 23 He gives His love to the sheep; in Psalm 24 He gives us light when He shall appear. What a wonderful picture we have of Christ in these three psalms!

Oh well, hope that helps. More than enough for a good sermon or three in those thoughts of McGee. Feel free to use whatever you like from the JPN site in anyway you like. No need to ask really.

God Bless .