40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 37

Mark 15:34  “And at three o’clock in the afternoon — after darkness had shrouded the land for three hours — Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?'”

Many people suggest that the Father forsook the Son in the darkest moment, because He could not bear to see the sin of the world piled onto His Son. “He who knew no sin, became sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

CrucifixionThis common interpretation has many difficulties with it, to say the least. Perhaps Jesus intended something else, something far more significant and more powerful, as He cried “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

The plea quotes Psalm 22:1. These are the precise words that open that extraordinary Psalm. It’s extraordinary because in the Psalm, verses 6-18 describe the crucifixion to a tee, including “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” It’s as though the Psalmist looked down through history and saw Jesus. Inspiration sometimes works that way.

But we may not realize that Psalm 22 is just the first Psalm in a trilogy. Psalms 22, 23, and 24 form a single unit. They go together. They tell a single story.

Psalm 22 is the Psalm of despair. We can all identify with the pain and fear that the Psalmist expresses.

Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil….”) is the Psalm of hope. It describes the quiet confidence that emerges from the ashes of Psalm 22 when we trust the Shepherd.

Psalm 24 declares the unstoppable and irresistible coming of the King of Glory!

The trilogy, from start to end, portrays the pathway from despair to hope to triumph. The Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory is coming!

As Jesus hangs on the cross, about to breathe His last, he utters the cry of Psalm 22. Is He declaring some kind of perceived (or real) abandonment in his hour of deepest need? We might hope God never feels that way about us! Or, as I suspect, perhaps Jesus was using code-language that His disciples would later understand; language to reassure them that even in the darkest of moments, the story is not yet finished. The King of Glory is coming. Take heart.

What sounds like a statement of defeat may, in fact, be a hint at victory! Jesus winks, as death rushes towards Him.

Perhaps the statement also inspires us to similar confidence. No matter how grim this moment may seem or how alone we may feel, the King of Glory is coming. The  ancient doors will be opened, the strongholds will be defeated, and the Lord will deliver us.

This Holy Week, we are the people traveling from Psalm 22 to Psalm 24.

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18 Responses to 40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 37

  1. Tim ross says:

    Beautiful statement David! The King of Glory is indeed coming, and He knows us by name! Praying for more to know Him this Easter.

  2. Brad Burgner says:

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts and insights. I hope you and the family have a great Easter weekend. Brad

  3. heide costa says:

    Amen! And again we say, amen, thank You Jesus…
    Thank you David – I didn’t know about these Psalms being a trinity (hehe) – trilogy… I will do a study with a renewed “holy ear” listening to what the Spirit may want to reveal about these words – why have you forsaken me… Maybe Jesus was even letting us know from the cross that He knows what it feels like to be betrayed (by man) and to feel the humans disconnect from the Lord, and the desperate cry of our spirit’s when we do not feel Him with us…

  4. markskrause says:

    The idea that God turned his back on Jesus on the cross because he could not look on sin is theological nonsense. If that is true, God would have turned his back on me a long time ago.

  5. Dan Gonzaga says:

    David, I sense that the heart of your message here is in line with the Lord’s heart. Even back in Eden, He was always the initiator and pursuer. Happy Easter!

  6. Peter de Ruyter says:

    David, you message is such a blessing!! Thank you for reminding us of the 3 psalms as a trilogy. It reminded me of when I was in Catechism where we first heard about the trilogy and how each psalm spoke in terms of: the good shepherd (past), the great shepherd (present) and the Chief Shepherd (soon to appear). What inspired descriptions of our Shepherd with reference to His suffering and death. Happy Easter to you and your family David.

  7. Amy says:

    yes…Come, Lord Jesus! ❤

  8. Scott says:

    Psalm 22 the Cross. Psalm 23 the Tomb. Psalm 24 the Resurrection. Powerful, David, thanks for the inspiration. Blessings on you and your family this Holy Week.

  9. Scott says:

    Another thought. The Feast of Passover is the death of the first born son of Egypt and the first born Son of God-Psalm 22. The Feast of Unleavened Bread started on the Sabbath of the week that year, John’s gospel referred to it as a special Sabbath, because they were to do no regular work on the first day of that feast and it was Saturday that year. It was a double Sabbath so to speak. How perfectly does Psalm 23 fit Sabbath, and rest and peace during death? Sunday was Resurrection day of course, the Feast of First Fruits was celebrated on that day, when the priest waved the first barley shoot out of the ground before the Lord in the temple. Jesus was that first shoot representing the entire harvest that was to come. How often did he refer to the Kingdom of God in terms such as seeds, fruit, harvest, a lot! But he also spoke of the Kingdom as having keys and doors. Now the gates are being opened on Victory Day. The ancient doors, Psalm 24. The keys of the Kingdom are given to open the doors of death and Hades. Victory. See I told you, you always get me thinking David!

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