Psalm 22:1-5 and 22-26 (RSV)
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer; and by night, but find no rest. Yet thou art holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In thee our fathers trusted, and thou didst deliver them. To thee they cried, and were saved; in thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.
I will tell of thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you sons of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
From thee comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live for ever.
Reflecting on this year’s Lenten Devotional theme, “Journey to the Cross,” I offer the following thoughts about the combined human and divine nature of Christ.
Last September, following a two-year Covid-19 delay, we visited Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. Our guide pointed out the different reactions that each of the twelve Apostles had to Jesus’ announcement that he would be betrayed. Placed in groups of three (symbolizing the Trinity), their reactions range from surprise, to withdrawal (Judas), anger (Peter), concern (Thomas), stunned silence, need for more explanation (Philip), and finally to Matthew’s and Thaddeus’s active consultation with Simon. How would we react today, under similar circumstances? Would we try to intervene? How was Jesus feeling at that moment?
A second thought comes from Psalm 22 above. As many of us may remember, Jesus quoted the first verse (ref: Mark 15 and Matthew 27), while on the cross. For me, this speaks to Christ’s humanity. At this particular moment, Jesus clearly feels forsaken by God. At the same time, Jesus is God.
The Nicene Creed speaks of Jesus being “of one substance with the Father” and also being “made man.” Our God loves, understands, and relates to us, not just because we were created in God’s image (although that’s important). Jesus himself experienced human betrayal. While on the cross, Jesus felt forsaken by God. Both the human nature and divine nature of Jesus offer prayerful ideas for us as we continue our Journey into the Heart of God.
Gracious God, We confess that in the most important parts of our lives, we don’t always “get it.” Nor do we act in ways that you expect. Still, we are thankful for your grace, as shown to us by our Lord Christ, and promise to change our ways going forth.