Friday, April 10, 2009

Mighty Cross

Who comes to mind when you read the first sentence of Psalm 22? If you say Jesus, you are right! As Jesus hung naked, dying on that cruel cross, he cried in anguish the words of Psalm 22:1, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Of course, when the Old Testament worshipers sang this Psalm they did not think of Jesus. They most likely thought about an individual lamenting and suffering at the hands of wicked and unscrupulous people. The gospel writers turned to this powerful Psalm to depict the innocent suffering of Jesus.
Today is "Good Friday," the day the Church looks back on the sufferings and sacrifice of Christ. He who knew no sin became sin for us. In that moment when he took on my sin and your sin, God the Father, in his holiness turned aside and could not bear to look at the sins of humanity piled upon his Son.In that moment of "divine abandonment" Jesus cried in anguish, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Compare Matthew 27 with Psalm 22. See how many ways the writer of Matthew drew on this Psalm to express the sufferings of Christ on the Cross. When you are finished doing this, complete your study by reading Isaiah 53.
Last night, we gathered with the faithful at First Presby, listened to a powerful sermon by Dr. Gary Smith about the sovereignty of God in the waning moments of Christ's life. All through his trial and crucifixion Christ submitted himself to the will of his Father. He could have unleashed 12 legions of angels to rescue him from his agonies but he did not. He gave himself up for the sin of the world.
Don't sit around the house today and soak in mindless TV. Gather up your family and attend a Good Friday observance either at First Pres. or some other church. Sing the hymns, read the passion narratives, listen to the prayers, hear the word of God proclaimed.

Remember, we have to go through the cross, the shame, death, burial, before we can get to Easter and the triumph of Christ over the grave! If you understand Good Friday you will be ready for Easter!

Dear Jesus, I love you, and I thank you for standing where I should have stood; for taking God's wrath for my sin. You paid the debt I could not pay. I owed a debt I could not pay. Thank you for rescuing me from the clutches of sin. I give you the rest of my days in full surrender and devotion to your great name. Amen