Psalm on the Cross
By Ron CorsonA song was sang that day, a Psalm of praise was recited by a voice, tired and sore. Presented by a man spread out in pain, rejected by the ones he loved 1 . Crucified for no crime at all 2 , Jesus Christ died on a cross raised up outside the city named for peace. There are multitudes of songs written about that love, exhibited on the cross, but what about the song that Jesus sang.
It is thought by many that David first gave us the song that Jesus sang that day. David the poet, David the often tormented soul, But oh how the psalm fits our lives from ages past to ages yet to come. It is a song of triumph moving out from despair, from pain and sorrow to hope and gladness. It is the song of humanity accepting the healing touch of a God of love.
It begins with the words Jesus uttered on the cross, the lines which carried to the listeners the whole Psalm that we find in Psalm 22 today. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?" 3 Like the Psalmist of old Jesus was rejected, hated, despised for crimes not committed. To the average man on the street here was a sad specimen of humanity, a cursed thing, an object of derision 4 . But like the psalmist of old he was not forsaken, for the song continues. "In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed."5 We are not alone; the God of the Universe does not leave and turn his back on us. While it may seem to those on the outside that we are abandoned by God, rejected or even cursed by God, we know in whom we trust. Even as the psalmist sang so we hear Jesus Christ commit his spirit to God, trusting the God of the Universe, even when Jesus Christ was besieged by the pain of torture inflicted by those who he created.6 Today we sing of "Love that will not let me go", and so did the psalmist of old.7 "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."
We don't know what is good for us, like the psalmist we cry for help, 8 not even knowing what help we may need. But with the psalmist we can trust in the God who will not leave us. As the psalmist concludes, as Jesus Christ concluded, "They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn-- for he has done it."9 "It is finished"; God in the form of a man demonstrated the love, which makes him God. "Forgive them for they don't know what they are doing". Such great lengths to reconcile us back to God. A God not of punishment and retribution, but of love and forgiveness, a God who will never leave you or forsake you. The very God, who sings your own song, touched by the cruelty that finds us all. Always offering us the same gift of forgiveness and reconciliation, "That sweet sweet song of Salvation",10 a healed relationship with our Creator.
1 Matt. 21:42, Mrk 9:12 1 Pe. 2:4
/2 Mrk 15:14, Acts 8:33
3 Ps. 22:1, Mrk. 15:34
4 Deut. 21:23, Gal 3:13
5 Ps. 22:4-5
6 Acts 3:15
7 "Love that will not let me go" by Steve Camp and Rob Frazier
8 Psalms 22:24/9 Psalms 22:31
10 "Sweet song of salvation" by Larry Norman
The following is an Guest Editorial from the Adventist Review Magazine April, 2000
It is placed here to show how the traditional view of the SDA church is not based upon Biblical sources but upon Ellen G. White's opinions. Through Ellen White many SDA's feel that Christ suffered the Second Death mentioned in The Revelation. To them Christ death was not caused by man but by God. The Father's separation from Christ.
G U E S T E D I T O R I A L
"You Can Have My Room" ALFRED C. MCCLURE
6 (478) A D V E N T I S T R E V I E W , A P R I L 2 0 0 0
The Stewpot carried a wonderful story this past Christmas. (The Stewpot is a newsletter about stewardship, produced monthly by the Pacific Union Stewardship Department and distributed in many churches throughout North America.)
It was the story of a singular elementary school Christmas pageant that you may have heard or read about, but in case you haven’t, let me summarize:
Wally is the biggest boy in the class, so he gets to play the innkeeper at Bethlehem. When the children playing Joseph and Mary come to the door of the inn, Wally the Innkeeper answers gruffly: "What do you want?" The boy playing Joseph explains that they’re looking for lodging, that they’ve tried all the other places in town, that no one has room for them. Wally, playing his role perfectly, tells the two child actors there is no room at his inn either. "Be gone!" he concludes, with perhaps a bit of exaggerated bluster.
The actors fulfill the biblical narrative by trudging slowly away from the door while Wally watches from the inn’s door-way. He sees two weary travelers. He sees people who need a room. He knows that Baby Jesus will be born that night.
Getting caught up in the drama of the moment, Wally forgets to follow the script. Instead, Wally ad-libs a new and beautiful twist to the Christmas story of Scripture. He steps out of the artificial doorway and says, "Please don’t go, Joseph! Bring Mary back. You can have my room."
There’s a stewardship lesson in that story, but there’s a lesson about Calvary as well. What Jesus said at Calvary is "You can have My room." Not just for a night, but for forever. He was willing to let go of eternity so that you and I could have a room in His kingdom.
Ellen White tells us that Jesus was ready to give up eternity for us. "The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice" (The Desire of Ages, p. 753).
The physical pain of crucifixion was great, but Jesus hardly felt it. Instead, He felt the agony of eternal separation from His Father—and still He went through with the sacrifice.
This was no Wally the Innkeeper giving up his make-believe room for a night. This was the Ruler of the universe willing to cease to exist forever so that we might have the opportunity to accept eternal life.
I can’t understand that. Neither can you. Angels comprehend only faintly the remarkable demonstration. Mrs. White tells us that this act of selflessness will be our study throughout eternity. We will spend a thousand years learning to grasp new facets of such love, and still we’ll have just begun. "God did not change His law, but He sacrificed Himself, in Christ, for man’s redemption," she writes (ibid., p. 762). There’s at least 100 years’ worth of study and contemplation in that one sentence.
Then White goes on: "The law requires righteousness—a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God’s holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men" (ibid.). There’s another century of study!
She continues: "More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character. . . . Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ" (ibid.). Another century’s study—or more!
This is the month we remember Christ’s death on Calvary and His resurrection from the grave. In a special way this month we should meditate on Christ’s incredible love for us.
Mrs. White observed that it would be good to spend a thoughtful hour each day contemplating the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes (see Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 374). This is a good month to put that into practice. We can start those centuries of learning now.
Alfred C. McClure is president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, with more than 900,000 members in every state and province throughout the United States, Canada, and Bermuda.