Good Friday in Holy Week, March 29

Good Friday in Holy Week, March 29

Scripture:  Psalm 22
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
    Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
    Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Our ancestors trusted in you,
    and you rescued them.
They cried out to you and were saved.
    They trusted in you and were never disgraced.

But I am a worm and not a man.
    I am scorned and despised by all!
Everyone who sees me mocks me.
    They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
“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!”

Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb
    and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.
10 I was thrust into your arms at my birth.
    You have been my God from the moment I was born.

11 Do not stay so far from me,
    for trouble is near,
    and no one else can help me.
12 My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls;
    fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
13 Like lions they open their jaws against me,
    roaring and tearing into their prey.
14 My life is poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax,
    melting within me.
15 My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.
    My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
    You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
16 My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs;
    an evil gang closes in on me.
    They have pierced my hands and feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
    My enemies stare at me and gloat.
18 They divide my garments among themselves
    and throw dice for my clothing.

19 O Lord, do not stay far away!
    You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
20 Save me from the sword;
    spare my precious life from these dogs.
21 Snatch me from the lion’s jaws
    and from the horns of these wild oxen.

22 I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
    I will praise you among your assembled people.
23 Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!
    Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
    Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
    He has not turned his back on them,
    but has listened to their cries for help.

25 I will praise you in the great assembly.
    I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
    All who seek the Lord will praise him.
    Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
27 The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him.
    All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
28 For royal power belongs to the Lord.
    He rules all the nations.

29 Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.
    Bow before him, all who are mortal,
    all whose lives will end as dust.
30 Our children will also serve him.
    Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born.
    They will hear about everything he has done.

Some thoughts:

     In what is a strikingly descriptive psalm, David describes his own predicament. Yet as he laments his own people’s rejection of him as king, he paints a perfect picture of the rejection of his prophesied descendent, the Messiah. This Old Testament account of Israel casting off David as king is a foretelling of what Israel would do 1,000 years later with the King of kings. Jesus’ plaintive plea opening this psalm expresses his humanity so clearly. We do not know that he did not quote more of the psalm. So much of this psalm describes in specific detail Jesus’ experience as he hung on the cross. The Son of God called out to God the Father for relief, and none came, yet the Son continued in faith and total commitment through horrible physical, mental, and spiritual torture. He willingly bore the weight of the sin of the entire world for all time!

     Note David appeals to God’s past action in helping Israel (v.2-5). He does not doubt God’s character even when God is silent. I don’t know if the religious leaders and elders knew it, but they also ironically quoted this psalm. Verse eight of Psalm 22 is remarkably like Matthew 27:41-43.

     The latter part of the psalm shifts focus beginning in verse twenty-two. In times of great stress, remembering and recounting God’s past faithfulness and history of providing occurs over and over throughout the Scriptures. Here David writes of a day yet to come and of future generations, including us, who will hear of the greatness of the Lord and bow before him. The complete fulfillment of these words has yet to happen. Make no mistake. The magnitude of this day when Jesus took all sin upon himself, the weight of all sin ever committed since the beginning of creation, changed eternity for all who would put their trust in him. Stop and think. The weight of all sin that ever existed being placed on one person is incomprehensible. Only the Son of God could bear that burden and he did so willingly. What God had in mind until humans hopelessly destroyed it, was now again made possible, namely the restoration of what God’s desire was from the beginning . . . perfect communion with his creation, the original state of Eden. The price of sin was paid in full. There is no other hope. Hallelujah! The prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane made possible a return to the Garden of Eden. Full communion with God is again possible. The impossible debt is cancelled forever!

Music: “Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs” from Messiah or listen to Part II of Messiah

“He Trusted in God” Voces8 and Academy of Ancient Music

Because of Good Friday, the following prayer is possible. All glory to God.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Thou wast poor and in misery, a captive and forsaken as I am. Thou knowest all man’s distress; Thou abidest with me when all others have deserted me; Thou doest not forget me, but seekest me. Thou willest that I should know thee and turn to thee. Lord, I hear thy call and follow thee; do thou help me.           —Dietrich Bonhoeffer   1906-1945

From the Good Friday liturgy, Orthodox

Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross.

He who is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.

He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.

He who in Jordan set Adam free receives blows upon his face.

The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails.

The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.

We venerate thy Passion, O Christ.

Show us also thy glorious Resurrection.