This psalm was especially meaningful to Jesus; he quoted it when explaining why the world hated him and his followers (John 15:25), and no doubt saw his own suffering on the cross echoed in the statement "they persecute those you wound" (Psalm 69:26).
Whitney Kuniholm wrote this about Psalm 69 in his book that I am journaling through titled The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story.
If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.' (John 15:24-25)In John chapter 15 Jesus points out that the scriptures predicted that he would be hated. Throughout his earthly ministry, in addition to those who were fascinated with Jesus and followed him, we find people rejecting Jesus to the point of hate. This hate built up into rage which ultimately culminated in the execution of Jesus.
Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. (Psalm 69:4)If you follow this hate expressed towards Jesus and recorded in the gospels you will discover that it is centered primarily in the religious leadership, the powerful, those on top of society. In fact Jesus was popular among the people. He connected with the poor and hurting, the outcasts, those rejected by society. He was a friend to the sinners.
Jesus was hated because he was God's standard. He is God's standard for people. He is the perfect person. He is righteousness. He is the plumb line that God uses to check the foundations the people have created.
Without a plumb line we may not know that a vertical surface, wall, or pole is out of alignment. The plumb line provides a comparison, a standard, that let's us know that there is something wrong. Until the plumb line is near the thing being check it is hard to determine if it is straight, vertical, and perfectly aligned. When Jesus came to this earth and lived among us, face to face, it became clear how far off we were from God's standard. The world system people had created was way off the standard. The religious system and laws had drifted away from God's intention. It was most obvious as Jesus stood and taught next to the religious leadership. It was like putting pure white next to what everyone thought was white only to find out that was off white, dirty white, not pure white. Until truth was standing next to a lie we may be fooled into thinking the lie is truth.
Jesus was hated because he was truth (John 14:6). He brought clarity to this world. He proved by his words and life that what people thought was true was not, it was really a lie. This clarity meant something had to change and those who were dependent on the lie being considered truth would lose their comfortable lives. But those who had already been labeled dirty, unclean, impure, and sinners by the world system and the religious leadership now had a way out of society's pit, a way to measure up to God's standard. Jesus was speaking to them, hanging out with them, living with them, helping them, healing them. He called them blessed not cursed (Matthew 5:1-12). Jesus turned the world upside down. Those who had put themselves on top and those who found themselves on the bottom of society were now all on the same level. All people were on the same level, all in the same condition, all far short (Romans 3:23) of the standard when compared to the Son of God. Truth had leveled the field. But through the cross Jesus doesn't leave us at that level separated from God. We are lifted up in Christ.
Jesus is hated because he is THE standard for humans - the perfect person. In ourselves we will never measure up. If we stop here we would blame the standard, hate the standard because all it does is remind us that we are not good enough. But God did not stop there. He sent his only Son to lift us up, wipe away our failures, and align us with the perfectly aligned plumb line. We measure up in Christ!
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