Anglican Morning Devotion, 19 April 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” (Psalms 22:1-2; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.” (Psalms 22:22-25)
In our devotion for yesterday, we looked at the Two Passovers – a contrast between the first that brought death to uncounted numbers in Egypt, but life to the Children of Israel; and then the final Passover that saves to the uttermost giving eternal life to all of faith. I have written often of the Messianic Psalm quoted in today’s introductory text – how it represents, precisely, the terrible suffering of Christ on the Cross. It even opens with the poignant plea: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” and repeated verbatim by Christ on the cross: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
If salvation was to be purchased for us, the Father MUST have turned away from helping, and even comforting, His son on that cross. Our Lord MUST suffer that terrible penalty for our sins if redemption were made possible. It was not a cry for help but one of separation, for the first time in Eternity, of the Son from the Father. What anguish that would have been. Christ, who knew no sin, was now raised up naked before the eyes of those who ridiculed and hated Him, and even worse, He was accounted sin for us.
As He was lifted up on that cruel cross in the place of, not only Barabbas, but for you and me, He cried out in the morning sun as His petition is clearly stated here in this Psalm: “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not;” and He also sweated tears of blood during the night in Gethsemane? “and in the night season, and am not silent.” (Psalms 22:2) Yet, the silence from Heaven was deafening that early morning on the cross. Our Lord laments His suffering throughout the first half of this Psalm. He tells us that He can feel every bone out of joint as the cross was dropped with excruciating impact into its stone socket. Read the pitiful cries of our Lord as He suffered there: “They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.” (Psalms 22:13-15) His mouth was so dry from thirst that His tongue clave to His jaws. I have known thirst, and I know that the tongue will adhere to the roof of the mouth under extreme conditions of thirst. His heart was like wax because hanging from the cross as He did, induced congestive heart failure.
Now verses 1-21 is an articulation of the experiences of our Lord on the cross. It is full of descriptive phrases of His hurt and pain on the cross; but suddenly, at verse twenty-two, the whole picture changes. The first twenty-one verses describe our Lord on the cross and are contrasted with the remaining ten verses that describe His resurrection joy! Read the beginning of this contrast in viewpoints from verse twenty-two: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” (Psalms 22:22) This change in the state of His experience begins upon His final words on the Cross – “IT is finished!” and “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:” (Luke 23:46) And it truly was FINISHED. His work of redemption prophesied so abundantly in Holy Scripture from the Law and the Prophets was FINISHED!
This change to jubilant celebration is described in those last verses of this Messianic Psalm and repeated after His actual resurrection: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” (Hebrews 2:12)
Our own Christian lives fully reflect this anguish of our lost condition followed by unmitigated joy at the time of our salvation and beyond. Like the thief on the cross, we could lift not a finger to merit salvation – the work was finished on the cross by our Lord that our joy might be full.