by Mark

Perhaps the most haunting words that echo from the cross are the words “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”  These are found in Matthew 27 and Mark 15.  It is striking that in both Matthew and Mark these are the last words of Jesus.  These are words of agony, of Jesus bearing the wrath of the Father in my place but in the agony and enduring the Father turning his back on the Son these are also words of victory and hope. 

Jesus is not shouting out a random cry of abandonment but he is quoting Psalm 22:1.  Even in the midst of the greatest pain he would ever endure Jesus brings scripture to mind.  Psalm 22 is an odd Psalm, in some ways it does not make sense.  The 31 verses are roughly divided into 2 parts.  Vs. 1-18 is a cry of anguish, of seeking understanding as the evil doers triumph.  The break of vs. 19-31 changes with the beautiful word, “but” But you, O lord, do not be far off! (19).  The second section seems to move from uncertainty to assurance.  In calling for the Lord the question still remains- will he come?  However quickly the section moves to recalling the faithfulness of God as well as asserting the triumph of God. 

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
28 For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.
29 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.
30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
(Psa 22:27-31 ESV)

On the cross Jesus in quoting this Psalm is summoning, recalling and triumphing the promise of God that all the nations would be blessed.  In the sacrifice of Christ the worship of the nations was secured, although it is still being realized (to a people yet unborn)- the day when we shall stand around the throne, from every tongue, tribe, people and nation and worship the King. 

You can’t understand Psalm 22 apart from the cross- the cross is the only thing that will tie together, the first verse that Jesus quotes and the last verse that Jesus quotes.  Because while we readily recognize the quote of the first verse of the Psalm “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” we don’t often recognize the last verse which are the last words of Jesus.   (vs 31)  they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. Jesus quotes this in John 18:30 when he says  He has done it = It is finished.  God is given glory as the  nations worship the Lord.  The Mission of God is accomplished
He is Risen

He is Risen Indeed

 

(I commend the book The Mission of God by Wright if you are interested in exploring God’s Mission especially from the OT perspective)

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