I have recently discovered a fascinating passage of scripture which calls me to rethink much of the crucifixion story that I’ve been taught. The passage of scripture was found in a devotional time following a teaching on the authenticity of scripture.
The passage that this realization is rooted in is found in Matthew 27:46 where Jesus, on the cross, cries, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me.” The teaching pointed out that Jesus was not merely identifying the separation from God that He was experiencing on the cross as He took on the sins of the world. Instead, this statement was a reference to Psalm 22 where the psalmist has the same cry.
This led me to the realization that Christ may have not been crying this out as a simple phrase, but was instead calling all of the Jewish officials who were at the crucifixion to recall the fulfillment of Psalm 22 that He was accomplishing on the cross.
It is interesting to me that if Psalm 22 was used as a simple retrieval-cue for those officials, that there would’ve needed to have been some indepth processing. The concluding of chapter 22 leads the reader to the understanding that Christ will be calling us brothers and friends in the assembly of God.
So the understanding that can be gleaned from this is that even on the cross, even in the midst of the pain and turmoil and intensity of the scene, Christ was communicating an evangelistic message and making a clear presentation for the Gospel.
In a few weeks the upper-classmen at Hillcrest have the opportunity to participate in a number of mission opportunities. Some will be attending an overseas trip to the Dominican Republic to proclaim the name of Christ to the fatherless and poor within that region. Others will be traveling to Chicago and participating in a museum tour and will have the opportunity to process the reality of God’s creation and proclaim the gospel message to curators, scientists, and people on the street. The reference Christ makes to Psalm 22 is a guiding principle that we plan to take on these trips. That principle being that there is always an opportunity to draw the hearts and minds of people to consider the reality of God and the gracious message of the Gospel.