Love Vast As the Ocean
Great and Loving God, let not these moments become predictable or familiar. Prepare me for meeting You once again.
Read Psalm 22:1-31
 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Beyond the darkness of Good Friday shines the brilliant light of Easter Day” (A. Leonard Griffith). And what a brilliant light it is!
Jesus’ cry from the cross leaves us in no doubt as to how he saw this psalm. It, and Isaiah 53 with its similar themes, helped to shape his ministry and the understanding of the early Christians. The Old Testament prophecies of Messiah, read properly, reveal that his purpose is achieved through suffering. Jesus, of course, knew this; the apostles knew it; and Paul knew it. The heart of Christian theology is that our salvation is accomplished through suffering, but this is never the end of the matter. Suffering leads to victory (24,28) and to praise (25,26) and then to proclamation (27,30,31). There is a glorious finality about the concluding words, which are reminiscent of Jesus’ cry from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). God’s servant is vindicated (Isa. 53:12). God’s work is completed (Heb. 9:23-28).
Both Old and New Testaments tell us that God accomplished a glorious and powerful deliverance of humanity from the grip of sin and the dominion of death. The Messiah is victorious—but not in quite the way that most first-century Jews imagined. In fact, the victory is far greater and more wide-ranging than they ever envisaged. This message of victory and glory through suffering fired Stephen, Philip and Paul, and inspired their mission. This same message is at the heart of our mission and can be proclaimed with the same confidence that God “has done it!” (31).
In a world which avoids pain and suffering, which lives with a sort of corporate analgesia, God’s people endure the suffering which comes as followers of Jesus. Why? Because Jesus did and because we know that through it and beyond it is salvation, the renewal of the created order and the eternal reign of God.
Pray for persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. That information can be obtained from your church missions board.
Lord, I’m humbled when I consider what some of my brothers and sisters go through for their faith. Sustain and empower them, I pray.
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