Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday 2019

Psalm 22.11
Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

Picture Jesus in your mind’s eye, and what is he doing?

If you were contemplating Jesus last night, you might picture him at table, sharing the bread of heaven and the cup of blessing. Perhaps you see him washing the feet of his friends, servant and master all at once, humble and exalted all at once.

Or maybe it’s five thousand you see him feeding—loaves, fishes, and the power of God. Or another hillside, proclaimed “blessed” the least and the last. Maybe you see him healing, the mud and spittle on his fingers, restoring and healing, always making whole.

Or maybe you see Jesus in the context of worship: praying quietly, singing a psalm with his disciples, reading in the house of prayer, teaching the twelve to pray—to hallow God’s name, to seek the Kingdom, to always resist temptation.

What a remarkable blessing that we can read the Bible Jesus read, recite the Psalms he loved, pray his words and share them with others, and seek the same intimacy with God he felt each time he slipped away to spend time in prayer.

It should not surprize us then that his last hours mirror a life given to prayer and scripture. Many of the words of the psalmist can be placed on his lips, springing from the very heart of God.

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax, it is melted in my breast…

When trouble comes, when we feel lost or alone, when we feel scorned or encircled or poured out or dried up—we know that this road has been traveled before, that Jesus has walked this way and will walk beside us. When his suffering meets our suffering, we can pray the same prayer: ‘Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is not one to help, except you Lord.’

Naturally, in his final moments, Jesus prayed. Father forgive them, they know not what they do. Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit. Forgiveness and trust, forgiveness and trust, what more can he give? Even as he breathed his last, the truth remains, even in his last moments on earth, his work continues:

He cares for me.
He prays for me.
He dies for me. Amen.


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