Holy Week 2013 – day 2

26 Mar

Psalm 22:6-11
But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

Have you ever been bullied? Maybe at school, maybe outside of school, maybe at your place of work. If so, do you remember how it felt?
I was bullied at every school that I went to. Some schools were worse than others, but even so I experienced bullying at all 3 primary schools I went to, and my secondary school. I remember feeling like I was worthless at time, as the name calling happened. I remember feeling weak and pathetic as the physical bullying happened. I felt low.

David writes like we can sometimes feel when we are bullied, either physically or mentally. He talks about feeling like he is “a worm and not a man” because he is chastised by everyone around him. But he remembers that he has trusted in God since his birth, even though God is not removing him from harm at that moment. He trusts in God even though he is being mocked for doing so.
And his request in verse 11 is born out of that lifelong trust, a request that God not leave him as everyone else has done.

These verses speak to the mental suffering that Jesus would have been feeling on the cross. His friends has deserted him (Matthew 26:56), His best friend had denied Him 3 times (John 18:15-18 & 25-27), betrayed by Judas, the people He had come to teach and heal had turned from cheering “Hosanna” to crying out “Crucify!” and He was being abused by all around Him (Matthew 27:41-44). And all the while he was suffering the pain of crucifixion. I cannot imagine a fall from grace bigger than this. And the suffering and torment that must have been with Jesus is beyond my understanding, in spite of experiencing bullying for all 12 of my school years.
And all of this is taken by our Creator. One who knew ever single person who was doing Him wrong since before they were born, who had come down from His throne in Heaven and made Himself one of us. Fully God, yet also fully man. And He hung there and took it.

Some people get emotional as they start to realise the physical torture of crucifixion. Others do so on the realisation that Jesus suffered all this for them. For me it is that fact that He chose to do it at every point.
The biggest bit for me is that Jesus chose to stay in Gethsemane when He knew He was going to be arrested. It was His last human chance to escape the death He knew was coming. But He chose the Cross rather than a pain free existence. Then at any point either during the torture at the hands if the Romans or when He was hanging on the cross He could have used the power that He, as God, had available to Him. But instead He chose to suffer. He continued to choose the Cross.

Martin Layzell wrote a song called Lost in Wonder (you can listen to it here). The lyrics of the first verse say this:
You chose the cross with every breath
The perfect life, The perfect death
You chose the cross
A crown of thorns you wore for us
And crowned us with eternal life
You chose the cross
And though your soul was overwhelmed with pain
Obedient to death You overcame

The words speak to the simple fact that whilst Jesus knew the pain that He would experience from it, He still chose the path that led to the Cross.


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Archbishop Cranmer

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