Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jesus' Last Words and Psalm 22

What did Jesus mean on the Cross when He said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). Was Jesus really forsaken by God?

Jesus words on the Cross are from Psalm 22, which He is using to express the intense physical pain that He is feeling. This psalm describes a righteous man who is suffering various afflictions:
vs. 1: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?

vs. 7-8: All who see me mock at me, they make mouths at me, they wag their heads; "He committed his cause to the LORD; let him deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him!"

vs. 14-18: I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet -- I can count all my bones -- they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots.

Remember, these are David’s words, from his 22nd psalm, yet they vividly describe many of the torments that Jesus faced during his Passion.

But, this is not the only reason why Jesus has chosen this psalm. In its concluding verses, the righteous man, though he suffers so greatly, has his hope firmly rooted in the Lord. He praises the Lord and knows without a doubt that the Lord will deliver him:
vs. 22-24: I will tell your name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! all you sons of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

vs. 26: The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord!

vs. 30-31: Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought it.

This means that, in quoting Psalm 22, Jesus is reminding us that, even at the point in which He appears to be the most forsaken and forgotten, the Father is with Him and He will be saved. Even in the depths of His suffering, Jesus never ceases to praise and glorify the Father.

In closing, here are the seven last words of Christ, from Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. It's worthwhile to know what these words may have actually sounded like, as Jesus spoke them on the Cross.

Pax Christi,

1 comment:

  1. PSALM 22*
    The Prayer of an Innocent Person
    1 For the leader; according to "The deer of the dawn." A psalm of David.
    2 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?
    My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.
    Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.
    In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.
    To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
    3 But I am a worm, hardly human, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
    All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:
    "You relied on the LORD--let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you."
    Yet you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother's breast.
    Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since birth you are my God.
    Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.
    4 Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.
    They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.
    Like water my life drains away; all my bones grow soft. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.
    5 As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.
    Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet
    that I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat;
    they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.
    But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.
    Deliver me from the sword, my forlorn life from the teeth of the dog.
    Save me from the lion's mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.
    6 Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you:
    "You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel!
    7 For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.
    I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.
    8 The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!"
    All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you.
    For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.
    9 All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.
    And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.
    The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.


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