Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 22:24:
“For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.”
Easter is coming. Are you ready?
A great passage to read during the Easter season is Psalm 22. Of all the Psalms foretelling the Messiah, Psalm 22 stands out as prophetic gold. The New Testament quotes it often as being fulfilled in the Person of Jesus. Especially in regard to the climax of history: Christ’s suffering on the Cross. It predicts the mocking of the people (v. 7-8), the thirst (v. 15), the piercing (v. 16), the parting of the garments (v. 18), and yes, even the very words that Jesus cried out from the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 1).
Without those words, where would you be? Hurling down the tracks of greed, flailing across fields of pain, driven by the bellowing engines of doubt and fear. Let me warn you: the bridge is out ahead. If you continue, you will be sent hurtling into the abyss of hopelessness, bearing every megaton of your sin. But you don’t have to be heading down that track, my friend.
Jesus’ words changed history. But better than that: they changed my destiny. No longer hell. No longer condemnation. All that junk is gone. My train changed tracks at that moment. Christ pulled the lever shaped like a Cross, and jolted me towards a different destination with a different cargo. But as I looked behind me, I saw He had taken my load and was headed for the doomed bridge I deserved. Alone.
Christ hung on that Cross, exposed at the top of a hill to all the throngs of Jerusalem, clothed only with a layer of congealed blood and a thorny diadem. He hung naked before the mess called humanity, listening to them jeer at His disgrace: “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” (v. 8). The only ones that seemed to be left with Him were one disciple and a group of desperate women. If that. Talk about forsaken.
But wait. He had His Heavenly Father, robed in glory and power at His side, right? But no. Christ did not have even that. As the skies choked with the blackest day of history, God turned His Presence away from His own Son. The same glory that Moses, a mere mortal, got to taste was now veiled from a member of the Godhead. Why? As Christ Himself asked, “Why has God forsaken Me?” It was a rhetorical question.
To give us verse 24. How else can God hear a sinner’s cry? How else can God show His face to you, a perverted, twisted, ever-wicked imbecile? Christ forsook having what verse 24 talks about so He could give it to us. God was “estranged” from God so that we would not have to be. We who wander far away in sin no longer have to be banished to utter darkness. We do not have to be forsaken—separated—from God for eternity. Christ took all that sin on His beaten frame and bore it as He hung on those three nails. As a holy God had to turn away. Christ was forsaken so you can have Hebrews 13:5: “I will NEVER leave you, nor FORSAKE you.”
Revel in that mystery this week. Wonder at the cost. Easter is coming.
-Matthew W., SC