Thursday, April 21, 2011

...They Shall Come and Proclaim His Righteousness to a People yet Unborn, that He Has Done It

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
                        Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
            O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
                        and by night, but I find no rest.
            Yet you are holy,
                        enthroned on the praises of Israel.
            In you our fathers trusted;
                        they trusted, and you delivered them.
            To you they cried and were rescued;
                        in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
            But I am a worm and not a man,
                        scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
            All who see me mock me;
                        they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
            “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
                        let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
            Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
                        you made me trust you at my mother's breasts.
            On you was I cast from my birth,
                        and from my mother's womb you have been my God.
            Be not far from me,
                        for trouble is near,
                        and there is none to help.
            Many bulls encompass me;
                        strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
            they open wide their mouths at me,
                        like a ravening and roaring lion.
            I am poured out like water,
                        and all my bones are out of joint;
            my heart is like wax;
                        it is melted within my breast;
            my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
                        and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
                        you lay me in the dust of death.
            For dogs encompass me;
                        a company of evildoers encircles me;
            they have pierced my hands and feet—
            I can count all my bones—
            they stare and gloat over me;
            they divide my garments among them,
                        and for my clothing they cast lots.
            But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
                        O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
            Deliver my soul from the sword,
                        my precious life from the power of the dog!
                        Save me from the mouth of the lion!
            You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
            I will tell of your name to my brothers;
                        in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
            You who fear the LORD, praise him!
                        All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
                        and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
            For he has not despised or abhorred
                        the affliction of the afflicted,
            and he has not hidden his face from him,
                        but has heard, when he cried to him.
            From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
                        my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
            The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
                        those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
                        May your hearts live forever!
            All the ends of the earth shall remember
                        and turn to the LORD,
            and all the families of the nations
                        shall worship before you.
            For kingship belongs to the LORD,
                        and he rules over the nations.
            All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
                        before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
                        even the one who could not keep himself alive.
            Posterity shall serve him;
                        it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
            they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
                        that he has done it.
(Psalm 22 ESV)

As we prepare to meditate upon the price which was paid for our redemption this Good Friday I cannot help but think of the words David wrote in this psalm roughly 1,000 years before Christ. We see in this passage the vivid imagery of crucifixion itself and that we are intended to see it here can hardly be doubted when we consider that it begins with the very words of our Lord on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” At that moment we see the both the cost and the glory of the Gospel. That the perfect Son of God who “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” who “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1) would be separated from The Father because of our sin. That it pleased the Father to crush Him for our iniquities and that He gave Himself as an offering for our purification is such an incomprehensible thing for us to try and understand. And yet He did this, not because of our value, but because of His goodness and mercy.

When I was a child I used to think Good Friday was a strange name for this particular holiday. It didn’t seem like “good” was the best way to describe the feeling of the day. It was a serious time and we were actually celebrating the fact that the one we most loved was tortured and killed. By God’s grace, however, I eventually began to understand my own depravity and God’s Holiness (I’m still learning both) and when I consider the grace that was shown to me by my Savior on that Cross I have no words with which to adequately describe my thoughts and feelings.

Brothers and sisters I pray that as you celebrate this Good Friday, in whatever way that you keep it, that you would meditate upon the fact that a great price was paid so that you and I might have fellowship with one another and live in the presence of God forever. Everything that we have and everything that we need was purchased on that cross. There is nothing we possess of any value that was not paid for on that tree. From beginning to end all we have is Christ and we need nothing more. May the Grace of God and the Love of Christ become ever more apparent to us this season so that we might praise the glory of His grace. 

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