Good only because of the sacrifice that was laid upon the cross by the son of the one true God, the son who was fully God and fully man (who can comprehend?), the one who paid the necessary price for our sins.
For my sins.
I return so often to the Psalms. Not just occasionally. Several times a week. Sometimes a couple of times in one day. It’s where I find words that I can find nowhere else. It’s where I feel not as lonely. Not so alone.
So, it is interesting to me that, on this most grievous night of the most solitary of moments of solitude in those hours upon that cross, when even the Father turned His face away (who can comprehend?), that Jesus, too, turned to the depths of the Psalms.
He borrows words from Psalm 22. He cries out:
And while those are the only audible words He chose to utter in those moments, the words that followed these must have been–they must have been–right there as well. In the depths of His soul:
I stumbled across this set of words, written by Donald McLeod this week:
He cries out in Aramaic, but he doesn’t use the greatest of all the Aramaic words, Abba. Even in the anguish of Gethsemane, distraught and overborne though he was, he had been able to use it (Mark 14:36). But not here.
I have never seen that before. He was able to use the word “Abba” in that dark garden, while his friends slept, while He was alone–isolated, solitary–because He wasn’t alone. Abba, Father was there.
But in these moments, He hung in a dreadful suspension that no one before, or since, has every experienced, because had they (or if we) did–if we were to experience those moments of Forsakenness, it would tear our souls to shreds.
But….do not miss this….God, the creator of the universe, the almighty one, the righteous judge, does not leave His son in that state of tormented wretchedness.
How do we know this to be truth?
We know it, first and foremost, because of the resurrection.
But, we also know it because this agonized, pierced, bleeding, spit-upon, thorn-crowned man returned, again, to the depths of the Psalms in his final seconds of breathing life, before His body and soul gave way to death.
He turned to Psalm 31:5:
But, Jesus added a twist to those words.
Not really a twist. A declaration of whose hands. A placement of His soul into the hands of the only rightful owner: Abba, His father:
Again, Donald MacLeod frames this perfectly for us:
But then, suddenly, it is over. The sacrifice is complete, the curtain torn, and the way into the Holiest opened once and for all; and now Jesus’s joy finds expression in the words of another psalm, Psalm 31:5. In the original, it had not contained the word Abba, but Jesus inserts it: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
Do you see?
How interesting that MacLeod refers to it as an expression of joy.
But, I suppose it was. Joy.
After that terrible, horrific separation, may there not have been joy of relief that His very soul was going to His Father–maybe a glimpse, even, of His Father turning to Him to receive Him in His last breath?
Is it not unlike (though, admittedly, on a much, much smaller scale), the glimpses of joy we experience in those moments when we are certain that God is who He says He is and, not only that, but that He knows us?
And forgives us?
And loves us?
Who can comprehend?