Monday, March 23, 2015

Psalm for Palm Sunday, March 29, 2015


Psalm 22:  8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24  (Read) 

“They have pierced my hands and my feet.”     

David writes this psalm almost as though
it were planned to be part of the Passion of Christ.
The Psalm's theme is that the sufferings
of the righteous man will restore life to humanity.

The Psalm indeed becomes the prayer of Christ
at the time of His crucifixion and speaks of the
suffering that our Savior experienced on our behalf,
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

People are the same today as they were back then,
when Jesus was being led to the cross.  We scoff at him;
we mock him; we wag our heads; and hurl insults at him.

Because he becomes contemptible in our eyes.
He reminds us that we are a sinful people;
He convicts us; He catches us in the lie;
He embarrasses us; He exposes us;
He accuses us of being hypocrites.

He holds us to a higher standard;
He speaks directly to God;
He claims to be God's Son,
and we reject him for this, and mock him.
We do not move to assist him.
Let God rescue him,
“He relied on the Lord; let God deliver him;
 let God rescue him, if he loves him.”

These are the same words used by those who conspired
against Jesus when he was dying on the cross.  (Mark 15: 31-32)
They did not realize that the suffering and death
of an innocent servant would restore life for sinful man.
The words they spoke were to be fulfilled, not by Jesus
coming down from the cross, but by sinful humanity like us
being delivered, forgiven, and lifted up.

The Psalm describes the Passion of Christ, and we know
that what seemed like a moment of weakness for Christ
became a source of strength for the rest of us.
God reverses this righteous man’s condition –
“But you, O Lord, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.”

Hope returns, the righteous man is delivered,
And he celebrates his deliverance--
“I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him.”

Because Jesus humbled himself and accepted death
on the cross, “God greatly exalted him and bestowed
on him the name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2:9)


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The psalmist speaks of those who scoff at him and mock him. 
 In what way can you identify with those who scoff at our Savior
 and mock him with parted lips? 

2.  The Psalm Response is, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"   

Why do you think our Lord would have uttered these words at the time 
of his Passion?  What had changed for God's son?  Had God changed?


  1. How can you identify with those that scoff and mock Jesus on the cross? Unfortunately it’s all too easy to go with the flow. We’re scared, we don’t want to be targeted and singled out; we don’t want to go against the herd. It’s the pack mentality and conformity….we only need to look at the recent rioting in Ferguson.
    The answer is PRAY FOR STRENGTH AND TO DO THE RIGHT THING EVEN IF IT’S INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT AND UNPOPULAR. All too often we don’t recognize the sins of omission….the actions we should do, but elected not to!

  2. My Lenten journey this year hasn't been as much about sacrificing and fasting as I had hoped it would be. I made big plans. I even announced said plans to God and also to friends and family. I had a pure heart at the start, but like the disciples in Gethsemane, I couldn't keep up. In Mark 14:38, Jesus' own words tell us "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak."

    I become a hypocrite when I don't follow through on what I promise God. My actions, or lack thereof, can end up scoffing and mocking him. This pains me and I must make every effort to make it right through repentance, Reconciliation, and sincere prayer. It's so easy to condemn Judas, but there is an element of his character in all of us.

    The way of Jesus can be so difficult, so opposite from the worldly kingdom in which we live. I cling to Jesus and contemplate his suffering, for the strength to stay the course.

  3. I wondered why Jesus Christ as the Son of God cried out to God at the time of His crucifixion, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Is it his urgent prayer as a human being for his suffering? What about his divinity? He surely has two natures, divine as well as a human being. And so it proved that He has emotion and feelings and all the senses like us. His passion and suffering which He went through for us was real.

    This morning Barry and I stopped for a short meditation on the stations of the cross. When I approached Station 9, the station where Jesus falls the third time under the heavy cross, I felt horrible to think of him suffering unbearably because of our hideous sins. At the same time I realized his tremendous love for human beings' salvation.

    I questioned myself, "Did I really mock and scoff at our Savior?" My answer is Yes. Whenever I condemned my neighbor, disobeyed God, was full of pride and sinned against our Lord, my sins were laid down on Him under the cross. He went through a torturous journey. But He won the victory over death. By His Cross and His passion He redeemed us. Praise God !