Sermon for Good Friday – 4.7.23

+ Good Friday – April 7th, 2023 +

Psalm 22

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Psalm 22: Exile and Return”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

In his little book on the Psalms, Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about the psalms that “If we want to read and to pray the prayers of the Bible, and especially the Psalms…we must not ask first what they have to do with us, but what they have to do with Jesus Christ.” (Bonhoeffer, Psalms, p. 14)

 

That’s a good way to read any part and all of the Old Testament. A good way to read any and all of the Psalms. It’s especially true when we come to Psalm 22 on this Good Friday. Indeed, when you hear Psalm 22 you can’t help but think of Good Friday, of Jesus prayer and words from the psalms as he hangs on the cross, suffers in brutal agony for us, as he is lifted up, suspended between heaven and earth, he prays. God the Son cries out to God the Father and he does so with the words of Psalm 22 on his human and humble, yet holy lips.

 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

 

Not once. Not twice. But three times Jesus the Messiah, cries out to God the Father that he is far from him. That is far from me. That he is far off.

 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

 

This is the language of lament; the language of agony and torment; the language of exile.

 

That’s what sin does. After sin comes the exile. The exile of guilt, of shame, of despair. The exile of death itself. Adam and Eve were sent out of Eden after the fall. Exiled. Old Testament Israel exiled themselves for times than you can count, forsaking God’s ways, God’s will, God’s word. Wandering in the wastelands because of their sin. God sent prophet after prophet to warn of the exile coming to the house of Israel on account of their idolatry. Egypt. Babylon. Assyria. Persia. Greece. Rome. Sin. Death.

 

Are we any different? No. We are not. We are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. We are children of the exile. Haven’t we all at some point prayed these words that Jesus prays…

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

 

When Jesus utters these haunting words he has poured out into one cry the lament of humanity from the foundation of the world. We may not admit it, but we’ve all prayed this prayer. Cried out to God feeling as if he is far away, as if he’s turned his back from us, or simply forgotten us. We fear that we are cut off. Forgotten. Forsaken.

 

When Jesus prays Psalm 22 on the cross he prays a truly human prayer. His words remind us that Jesus is all humanity. He is all people. And all people are in him as well. He is our stand in. Our substitute.

 

When Jesus prays this prayer he also prays it as our redeemer – sacrificing himself for us; and he is our mediator – placing his words, and his very own life between our sin and God’s judgment.

 

Because of Good Friday, Jesus folds us into his cry and prayer. So that when we sit alone in the darkness of despair and doubt, Jesus folds us into his prayer. When we cradle our face in our palms and weep, we are folded into Jesus’ prayer. When we tremble and are overwhelmed by guilt and shame and are barely hanging on by a thread, we are folded into Jesus’ prayer. When we are angry, confused, or angry or at our wits end of the suffering of this life, we are folded into his cry from the cross.

 

For on the cross, Jesus goes into exile for us. Jesus goes into the exile of his death to bring us home to the Father in his resurrection. Because Jesus prayed, “Do not forsake me,” we know that God will hear us when we pray, But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

 

And he does. Our Father holds onto us with the unrelenting grip of his mercy. He won’t let us go. And how could he. If the Father loved us enough to send his only begotten Son to live, suffer, and die for us, will he let you go? Will he leave you? Forget you? Abandon? Or forsake you? No. He will not. Not yesterday. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Not after Jesus His Son has shed his blood for you. Because of Good Friday you are never forsaken by God. Because of Jesus’ crucified and risen, you are never forsaken by God.

 

After sin comes the exile. But after the exile comes the return. After the fall of Eden comes the promise of the new creation. After Egypt comes the Exodus. After Jesus’ defeat comes his victory, given and won for you.

After Jesus was forsaken on the cross, comes an everlasting welcome and homecoming for you who are never forsaken in him.

After Jesus’ death comes his glorious resurrection for you.

 

Psalm 22 begins on Good Friday atop the cross. But that’s not where it ends. The melody of 22 goes on until the wee hours of the morning on the third day on the first day of the week.

 

You have rescued[c] me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
    and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or abhorred
    the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
    but has heard, when he cried to him.

 

The Father heard the cry of his Son and answered him. He did not abandon him to Sheol or let his holy one see corruption. Jesus’ bleeding wounds become comforting resurrection scars. Jesus went into exile for you. Jesus rescued you from exile. Jesus ransomed you from slavery. Jesus hears your prayers, and answers them with his that one day all tears will be wiped away. All sorrow will be no more. All grief will be gone. And everlasting joy will be upon your heads.

 

For Jesus’ Good Friday cry of being forsaken becomes the announcement of the angels: “He is not here; he is risen.”

 

A blessed Good Friday to each of you…

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977