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Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

David says it first...

Psalm 22:1, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish" (NIV)?

It's like we don't even know...

Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:4-5, "See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.  Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness - so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him.  For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand... Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed" (NIV).

How much closer can God be, and yet, like David, we often cry out, wondering why God is so far away.  We don't recognize that God is near, so near that God is not only holding us together, holding us in God's very own arms, but also taking on our pain and suffering, taking on our very wounds, healing us by making them his own.

I think we can see this clearly in the way that David comes around.  He laments, to be sure, but then he recognizes that God does indeed come quickly to deliver and rescue (v.19-21), God does not hide his face but listens to a cry for help (v.24).  Perhaps these simple words, "He (God) has done it" (v.31) are the most telling of all.  But on Good Friday, Jesus' story ends differently.

Matthew 27:46, "About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?' (which means 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?')" (NIV).

Jesus' words echo David's, but there is no relief.  

John 18:28-30, "...knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, 'I am thirsty.' A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit" (NIV).

Jesus' story ends in death as opposed to rescue and healing.  As the crucifixion narrative draws to a close, it seems that in this case, God has not done it.


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