Friday 14 April 2017

Bible Book:

“He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and held him of no account.” (v. 3)

Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 Friday 14 April 2017

Psalm: Psalm 22


Today is Good Friday, the day Christians remember thecrucifixion of Jesus. Condemned by the temple authorities andexecuted under Roman authority, Jesus died a slow and tortuousdeath in the hot sun in the middle of a jeering crowd.

From the cross, he called out words of the first verse oftoday's psalm (Matthew 27:46), Psalm22: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The psalmcontinues: "Why are you so far from helping me, from the words ofmy groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and bynight, but find no rest" (Psalm22:1-2)

The temptation is to go too quickly to the promise of greatnessand redemption, the wink that says that things will work out andnot to worry. Not today. Today is about loss, chaos and anarchy.Has anyone built anything of value or worth? Today it is torn down.Has a city lived in tolerance and peace with diverse people? Todayits populations flee and its public squares become a war zone.

The words of today's passage were written when the community ofthe Hebrew people was exiled from their homes and imprisoned inBabylon, their holy places and the religious tradition of centuriesdestroyed. They were written as a promise that God had notforgotten, and would send a servant to suffer and bring healing tothe people. Today ends in darkness, but the story is notfinished.

To Ponder

  • What do you imagine Jesus' disciples feeling and doing afterhis death?
  • Are Christians foolish to think healing can come fromsuffering? Why, or why not?
  • How healthy is it to make such a focus of Good Friday, and onthe memory of such a violent death?
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