Good Friday, 29th March 2024

I find Good Friday an overwhelming event to write on, so I am borrowing a reflection on Psalm 22 from John van de Laar which I have found helpful.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? Ps 22:1

In the final moments of his life, Jesus quoted these words in anguish. Furthermore, some of the scenes described in Psalm 22 actually played out as Jesus died.

All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
v 7

my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws; v 15

they divide my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots. v

The words of the Psalmist, written centuries before Jesus lived, offer us a poignant and poetic reflection of the suffering Jesus embraced in his determination to love the world absolutely.

But there is more to this Psalm than we usually realise. If we continue reading, we discover a sudden change in attitude and atmosphere. From despair and anguish there suddenly rises hope and faith. Jesus would have known this Psalm by heart and remembered this change as he invoked these words. This means that, even as he was suffering and feeling abandoned by God, he was reminding himself that God’s presence and grace were still with him. Even as he wrestled with doubt, Jesus was affirming his faith and committing again to his mission.

Nick Parsons