“Why, Lord, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?
Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend” (Psalm 88:14,16-18).
Jesus had psalms on his mind as he endured excruciating pain on Good Friday.
Jesus had often quoted the Old Testament Scriptures. They were especially meaningful to his mission. Including the book of Psalms (Luke 24:44). Jesus and his disciples had “sung a hymn” after the Last Supper, likely a psalm or two (Matthew 26:30).
Then there is this. Psalm 22:1 says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish” (Psalm 22:1)?
Jesus had psalms on his mind. Not just as meditation, but as mission. They laid out the path before him as he fulfilled their Messianic prophecies. They were his companions while others left him.
The disciples had abandoned him. His family couldn’t help him. The crowd turned against him. And even the Father had forsaken him. “Far.”
Left alone, Jesus suffered as the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Your sins were there. They were his companions. They were the reason the Father turned away—such filth, wickedness and guilt! They were the reason Jesus suffered and died. Done.
“Darkness came over the whole land” (Luke 23:44). In this dark place, shrouded by the evil of sin and shadowed from the Father’s presence, Jesus died. Alone. In the darkness. Instead of you.
The result of this crucifixion alone in the darkness is that it is now complete. Finished. What is finished? The darkness of being alone. The darkness of suffering sin’s curse. The darkness of crying out with no answer.
There is no darkness in your world like the darkness Jesus experienced, and fully finished. It is never dark in your world with sin’s curse, never dark with the Father turning away. Never.
You are forgiven. That is what makes this Friday good.
PRAYER: Dear forgiving Father, on this day you cursed the darkness of my sin in your Son. By his death, now draw me close to you. Never distant. Never lonely. Always near. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Go back to Psalm 88:14,16-18. What makes these words so compelling as a psalm that Jesus might have held close on that Friday long ago? In this psalm and Psalm 22 that Jesus uttered on the cross, he asks questions. How can that be, since he’s God and knows everything?
This can also help you meditate on Good Friday. Here are two articles about the events of that date and that day, as Jesus experienced them. The first is a bit more scholarly, while the second “Good Friday in Real Time,” draws you into the moments for meditation.
- Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died https://www.firstthings.com/
- Good Friday in Real Time https://www.
thegospelcoalition.org/ article/good-friday-in-real- time/