Wednesday, February 08, 2006

His Last Day?

In a comment on Psalm 22 which I made to Jon's Yahoo Group on Sacred Writings I focused on the famous words of Jesus on the cross. This came without so much as reading the assignment. This morning I looked over it with more care and had the following meditation:

If the gospels' record of the words of Jesus is accurate, Jesus must have had a close familiarity with the 22nd Psalm. We reflect that in those torrid statements he must have seen the course of his life laid out in horrid detail.

Not only "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?", but many other verses. With his incisive knowledge of the history of his people he remembered how often it proved that in their frequent grave distress..

"They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded."

Jesus also knew that many of the psalms recited the sort of trouble that he could expect by following the course he did. No doubt he also remembered 34:20 "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken", as also did the gospel writer.

They also remembered verse 22:18 "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture."

The psalm turns very positive about verse 22, and history shows that that's exactly what happened. You and I are the happy recipients of the gift of that sacrifice of one's own ego for the salvation of the human race.

Even in the midst of that horrible pain Jesus remembered and believed verse 24 ("For 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") and 26 ("The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever").

In Numbers 12:3 we read that "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth". Re meek it's apparent that Jesus went him one better.

Now in a nutshell (IMHO) what did that despairing cry mean to Jesus? He wasn't trying to tell people how forsaken he felt. He was trying to get people to read the 22nd Psalm!! He knew that if they read the psalm, they would understand what he was doing, and why.


kiznath said...

No doubt the religious leaders and Jews (followers of Jesus and non-followers) knew exactly what he was referring to - they memorized those passages from an early age.

It is interesting how we rarely draw the same connection to that particular psalm - instead we like to talk about how it shows that Jesus had the same doubts/frustration with God that we do.

Larry said...

You're right, Kathy, but I personally disagree with the majority opinion about it. I personally believe that Jesus was a human being, like you and I, but after his prayers in the Garden he was no longer encumbered with those "doubts/frustration with God" that may afflict the rest of us.

Larry said...