Text – Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm, and not human;
scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
16 For dogs are all around me;
a company of evildoers encircles me.
My hands and feet have shriveled;
17 I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
Clearly, there is no other Psalm in the Bible that more nearly expresses the pain and torment of Jesus’ experience of betrayal and torture. The cross was and is one of the most awful forms of execution known to man. Lasting excruciatingly long amounts of time, a victim hung between heaven and earth gasping and screaming in pain.
So it’s not difficult to image why this Psalm came to mind as Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The psalmist describes his pain as scorn and ridicule from his enemies, mouth as dry as dust, watching his clothes being divided among soldiers, and the humiliation of being stared at, naked and vulnerable.
In this midst of all this, the psalmist calls his readers to fear the Lord, to glorify him, stand in awe of him, and to recognize God’s deliverance of God’s people. It’s an interesting tension, feeling abandoned by God on the one hand and yet seeing God’s faithfulness on the other.
On this “Good Friday,” we are invited by the reading for today to remember Christ’s utter abandonment. This was a state he entered into of his own power and will. There was no one else who would remove its suffering from him, else there would be an end to the war he engaged against death.
The more we think about this the more compelled we are to believe that whatever inconvenience we experience because of our discipleship to Christ is of no consequence besides the abandonment and pain of the Christ.
Dear Christ, on this day we worship and fall humbly before you, recognizing the extent to which you have loved us and given your life for us. On this Good Friday fill our hearts with thoughts of your death. We know it ends in victory, but don’t let us forget the cost. In your name we pray this. Amen.