Today is “Good Friday” for Christians of every stripes – nominal, literal, liberal, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Orthodox. I knew early on as a child growing up the Catholic faith that this day is to remember the brutal torture and execution of Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, the obvious question, which I did not get then and still wrestle with to this day, is why is it “Good”? In my early teens, I got the simple “born again” answer, “because Jesus saved you with his death.” What? Why did I need to be saved? How? Just like the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament. Huh?
Much has been written from each and every theological and rational angle on these questions, and I have read much and forgotten even more. The essence of my childhood faith (the crucification and following resurrection) is still a mystery to me. But one question has been answered, I think, with a common tool lawyers use called “Incorporation by Reference“.
If Jesus was the Son of God and was God, perfect in always, complete trust in God the Father, why did he cry out “My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?” With incorporation of Psalm 22 by reference, it finally made sense:
22 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”