by Susan Stanford
Friday, March 18 – Psalms 95, 22, 141, 143:1–11 (12); Exod. 9:13–35; 2 Cor. 4:1–12; Mark 10:32–45
(BCP Readings for today)
“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.”
King David first penned these words in the midst of his own anguish. Christ would cry them out in His final hour on the cross.
“He was forsaken; and not only by His disciples but by God Himself. It was the Father who had delivered Him up to Judas, to the Jews, to Pilate, and finally to the cross itself. And now, when He had cried, God had closed His ears. The crowd had not stopped jeering, the demons had not stopped taunting, the pain had not abated.” – Donald Macleod 
Christ had become sin for us. No one could serve as His advocate. Nothing could be offered as a covering for Him. He had to bear it all and God could not spare Him until it was paid in full. The wages of sin are death and He would have to die for our sins to be forgiven. Calvin wrote some 1500 years after His death that Christ bore in His soul “the terrible torments of a condemned and lost man.”
As I think of Christ’s suffering on the cross and His being forsaken by His Father on account of my sin I am overwhelmed. The Father had to turn His face away from Christ because of the horror of my rebellion. And yours. The Father is able to answer us now when we call, forgive us when we ask, and comfort us in our grief (even as a result of our own sin) because He sees Christ’s righteousness instead of our sin.
Psalm 22 was a hymn of David’s that Jews sang. Mark and Matthew tell us that right before His death Jesus cried out with a loud voice this first verse of the Psalm. He did not silently cry this in His soul but with His final breaths proclaimed this loudly. This was a very painful and therefore, purposeful effort.
I am convinced that some Jews were brought to saving faith from this passage that goes on to describe in detail what the Jews were witnessing at the crucifixion, such as pierced hands and feet and soldiers casting lots for His clothing. I imagine Jewish men laying in bed night after night with this Psalm running through their minds and the inescapable reality of what was witnessed at the cross. I envision Jewish women singing this hymn while kneading dough and quietly becoming convinced that Jesus truly was the Messiah.
This Psalm reminds me that it is not the Lord’s will that anyone perish but all come to faith in Him. And He demonstrated this desire to the very end. Psalm 22 does not end with an abandoned Son on a cross but with a completed redemption and a reigning King, “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations…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.”
 Donald Macleod, “Why Have You Forsaken Me?” from Your Sorrow Will Turn To Joy, Desiring God, 2016 (p. 79) (https://document.desiringgod.com/your-sorrow-will-turn-to-joy-en.pdf?1457392245).