Daily Lent Devotionals: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The God-Forsaken God-Man

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

David Praying in the Night by James Tissot, 1886-94

David Praying in the Night by James Tissot, 1886-94

Matthew gives a lengthy account of the crucifixion of Jesus (Matt 27:32-56). We can’t begin to fathom Jesus’ fourth word from the cross, how much anguish, sorrow, pain he suffered on the cross. The state of being forsaken by God, his own Father, is beyond words.

These painful words were first written by King David in Psalm 22:1.  This psalm consists of two main parts: verses 1-21 is a lament; verses 22-31 is a praise of God. In the first part, he laments his lot as an innocent man who suffers because of his enemies’ attacks and mockery. But David also looks forward to being vindicated, and afterwards, joining God’s people in joyful praise and worship of God.

Matthew—and the other Gospels—portray Jesus as the preeminent innocent sufferer, a perfectly righteous man who is mocked and unjustly and brutally executed by his enemies. But like King David, Jesus too looked forward to his vindication after his death. God will exalt his name above all names by raising him from the grave, taking him up to heaven, and then giving him a people from all the earth who will worship him.

Thus, those who believe in Christ, while suffering affliction and persecution in this world, can also look forward to God’s vindication when he returns to take them to heaven where they will dwell with him and worship him forever.

In addition to verse 1, Matthew uses several verses from Psalm 22 in his account of the crucifixion:

Psalm 22:18: They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. Matthew 27:35: And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.
Psalm 22:7: All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads. Matthew 27:39: And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads.
Psalm 22:8: “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Matthew 27:43: He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, “I am the Son of God.”
Psalm 22:1: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? Matthew 27:46: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

 

Together with Psalm 22, we will meditate on the verses from Matthew 27 above this week.

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If you live in or near Pasig-Cainta or Imus, Cavite areas, you’re invited to join our worship services: 9:30 a.m. in Imus and 2:30 p.m. in Pasig. Our Seven Last Words sermon series will be preached till Good Friday, April 6, and Resurrection Sunday, April 8.

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