Holy Week 2013 – Maundy Thursday

28 Mar

Psalm 22:19-24
But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen. I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honour him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

This passage reveals David’s almost bipolar nature of delivery within his psalms. In yesterday’s passage we read David crying out in anguish and pain as he was attacked from all around. Life couldn’t get any worse. And now we see the turn, as he starts off by asking God not to be distant. He calls God “My Strength”, relates to Psalm 121 and acknowledges where his strength and salvation comes from.
Then comes the promise and declaration, as David vows that if God saves him he will praise God’s name to all around him. And he will tell them how good God is, because he has saved him, David, when he needed help.

This can sound like David has tried to broker a deal with God, an arrangement whereby David praises God and God saves David, as though David is saying “Now look, God, if You don’t save me then I’m not going to praise You!” But if we look at the order and the nature of the praise we can actually see far more is going on. David is saying “If You save me then I can go and show everyone just how amazing You are. How You saved me when I was in need of saving and give them a visible reason to know they should worship You!”
David wants to be a living example of God’s grace and magnificence. And this is something that we are called to do by Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount. Our lives are supposed to shine as an example to others of who God is and what He has done. We are His ambassadors on earth.

And we are to point them to the Great High Priest and His example both of God’s love and God’s faithfulness. Because not only was the Father so loving of humanity that He sent His Son to die on the cross for us, but He was also faithful to His Son. He did not reject Him, even when Jesus had been physically broken, rejected by the Jews and carrying the sin of the world on His shoulders, the Father remained faithful to His only begotten Afflicted One. And through His faithfulness He raised Christ up from the dead and seated Him at the right hand, a place of honour for the Son in whom He was well pleased.

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