A Marvellous Metonomy


Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture
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Matt. 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli,
Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The piercing nature of this anguished cry from the Cross is inescapable. It is gut
wrenching. And, it is often very misunderstood. For as most are quick to point
out, this is a quote – from Ps. 22. And if I am not mistaken, we are not to just
hear these words as recorded in Matt. 27 and Mark 15 in isolation from their
context. In fact, I would argue this gasp from the lips of Jesus are meant to be
read as a metonymy. A metonymy is a figure of speech that encompasses
something else, often a larger concept altogether. In this country for instance
we will often simply refer to “Washington” when what mean is the entire U.S.
Government. Or one might refer to “Viet Nam” and not just be referring to the
country in and of itself, but to the entire Viet Nam war era and its complexities.
So too, it seems best to hear Christ’s words here not nakedly and separately,
but as standing for the entire Psalm. And that makes them prophetic, hopeful
and triumphant. Ps. 22 begins with these mournful words from David, but they
are not the whole story. Yes, the anguish is unfathomable and the apparent
separation is excruciating, but it is not a cry which in any way suspects the
Father of anything wrong – no (he goes on to say) I am in this condition yet
“you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” 4. Our fathers trusted you
and you were faithful then. 5. They cried out and you rescued them. 6. Sure, I
am a worm in this setting, scorned and mocked, but I know (8) he who trusts in
the Lord – the Lord delivers him. He will rescue the one He delights in. 9. You’re
the one who caused me to be born, and you have been my God all along. 11.
Stay close! 12-18. I’m surrounded! And its horrid. 19. Come quickly! 21. You’ve
rescued me before, do it again. 22. I will yet praise you in the assembly. 24. For
you have not despised me, but heard me. 25. From you comes my praise. I will
finish my vows. 27. All the ends of the earth will remember this, and turn to you
because of it. 28. For you are the King, you are ruling. 30. All the generations
who follow will declare your righteousness because of it. The anguish of the hour
was there – but in it – He was looking to the glory of His finshed work. What a praise!

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