Sermon for Holy Tuesday

Matthew and Mark both record Jesus word from the cross, “My God My God why have you forsaken me…” It is the first verse of Psalm 22. It is the Psalm used on Maundy Thursday for the stripping of the altar. There is no more desperate cry in all of Scripture. God forsaking his only begotten son. There is no help. In the sixth petition we pray that God would not allow the devil, world and our sinful flesh to lead us into misbelief, despair, or other great shame and vice. God does not abandon us. To despair is to break the first commandment – we are to fear, love and TRUST in God above all things. He promises to give us every good thing. He promises that no one can snatch us out of his hand. He promises that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life. So, is Jesus despairing of God’s help? Is he saying that God can not be trusted to save? Not at all. In this case, the Father has forsaken his son. The judgment, the condemnation for sin, that was saved for Jesus.  Even God has left him. Jesus is suffering the torments of Hell, and the demons have triumphed.

But Jesus does not just randomly pick a Psalm. Psalm 22 is picked specifically for the word it contains. Yes, it begins with total despair. It is a cry from the depths of Jesus heart that he is totally alone, with no one to come to his aid, because even God has left him. It is the most despairing word in scripture, and it is picked because of that.

David, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, prophesies so clearly about the death of Jesus.

Psalm 22 is even quoted by the leaders of the people against him.

[7] All who see me mock me;

they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

[8] “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;

let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

That’s the insult that was hurled at Jesus. They didn’t even realize that they were fulfilling the prophecy of the Psalm as they abused and mocked the Lord.

The psalm continues:

a company of evildoers encircles me;

they have pierced my hands and feet—

[17] I can count all my bones—

they stare and gloat over me;

[18] they divide my garments among them,

and for my clothing they cast lots.

All of that happens at the cross. David is basically writing the history of the crucifixion in Psalm 22. That’s why the end of Psalm 22 is to important: Because it continues and describes what else happens:

[24] 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.

In other words – Jesus has been abandoned by God. For a time. The Father has turned his back on Jesus while Jesus pays the penalty for sin. But that condemnation is not permanent. Because Jesus was without sin, he pays the penalty for your sin on the cross, and then that condemnation is swallowed up in the death of Jesus. The payment has ended. The judgment is over.

 

[26] The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;

those who seek him shall praise the LORD!

May your hearts live forever!

[31] they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,

that he has done it.

Jesus has paid the penalty for sin. And all those who believe in him receive by faith the forgiveness of sins. Jesus has saved you. Your sins are forgiven. God has not abandoned you. He forsook his son on the cross, so that your debt would be paid. So that you could join in the salvation he gives. That is why we prayed, ” grant us by Your grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s passion that we may obtain the forgiveness of our sins ” Your sins are forgiven you. Go in peace.

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