January 20, 2018

The Suffering Righteous One

Psalm 22:1-20; Mark 15:33-39

Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

—  Mark 15:34

The psalmist pours forth the anguish of his heart: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.” The psalmist even accuses God: “My God, my God, why have you for­saken me? . . . I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”

In his complaint the psalmist is a righteous sufferer. We can also see Jesus in these descriptions of the suffering righteous one. On the cross, God’s beloved Son freely and honestly poured out the agony and distress of his heart. Jesus used the exact words of Psalm 22. Later on the cross he also quoted Psalm 31:5: “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

In Jesus, God makes each of us righteous, and like the psalmist we can pour out our anguish to our Father in heaven. As human beings, we often hold in our negative feelings, which can make us bitter in our heart and soul. But God corrects our thinking and assures us that we can bring our struggles and disappointments to him.

God welcomes our complaints. He already knows how we are feeling. The Almighty can handle them.

So let go of your struggles and anxieties; share your fears with Jesus. He understands.

Lord and Savior, you did not try to hide your agony from the Father. When we feel rejected and forsaken, help us to remember that you took on these challenges for our sake and for our salvation. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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