Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Focussing on God (Psalm 22:3-5)

In these verses, the Saviour worships the Father. He refers to the holiness of God, the gracious presence of God (he dwells among the praises of his people), and the faithfulness of God (he delivered those who trusted in him). This is a reminder that Jesus’ actions on the cross were an act of worship, that he dedicated himself to God to endure the cross.

As Jesus was enduring the distress he went through on the cross he focussed on God, on the God whose presence he could not sense at that time. Jesus did not only affirm that the Father was his God (’My God, My God), he also thought about him even although he was not aware of spiritual comfort. This was faith at its greatest expression.

The idea behind the term ‘holy’ is absolute perfection. Therefore Jesus was saying that the Father is perfect in his character and actions. He said this as he was experiencing the hostility of sinful humans and from the kingdom of darkness. From that perspective it is not surprising that he said the Father was holy. Yet we have to add into the pain and grief of the cross the most amazing ingredient of all – the wrath of the Father that was poured out on Christ as he bore divine judgment because of our sins. As Jesus experienced the awfulness of this divine wrath he affirmed that the Father is perfect.

These same words also reveal the Saviour’s identification with his people – he says ‘our fathers’. The feature of their outlook that he stresses is their faith (three time he uses the term ‘trusted’). Where did the Saviour obtain this knowledge of God’s dealings with his people in the past? He acquired the information from the details he read in the Old Testament scriptures. On the cross his mind recollected that God had shown himself faithful to his dependant people. The Saviour, in this way, was experiencing comfort as he underwent the abandonment of God. He is our example in this. When we go through difficult circumstances, remember the way that God has dealt with others, particularly the believers mentioned in the Bible.

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