Looking forward to the 5th Sunday in Lent: “Judica!” (Vindicate me, o Lord! Psalm 43) It´s all about finding justification and how God´s people seek His defense against blame, heavy charges and accussations – as they despair of getting it anywhere else. Abraham finds it rather surprisingly not in his own doing, traditional worship or sacrifice, but in the one God himself miraculously provides (Genesis 22,1-19) – showing us a God in conflict with himself. His law is fulfilled and surpassed by His Gospel.
Faithful and suffering Job doesn´t find it with his fake friends (nor his faithless wife!), but with the living God – who grants that redemption even if may be beyond this brief and troubled life and age (Job 19 – especially verse 25 and following).
Our good Lord Jesus himself dies on the cross as innocent Lamb of God – finding justification and redemption beyond in resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the living God (Hebrews 5,1-6.7-9.10). It is He, the very Son of Man, who did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mt.20,28).
Those crying out for justification in Russian penal colonies (like Alexei Navalny), in Xinjiang concentration camps (unnamed Uyguhrs), on the streets and in the prisons of Myanmar, in the desolate ruins of Syria and on the long, winding roads of narrow escape, exile and homelessness etc. go a long way to prove, that justification and vindication remains crucial for many – and is not just water under the bridge as those comfortable in ivory towers might want to believe – just as Oswald Bayer argues in his little treatise: “Living by faith.”
The rousing lament Mendelsohn put into music continues to voice to our plea:
Vindicate me, O God!
Fight for me against an ungodly nation.
Deliver me from deceitful and evil men.
For you are the God who shelters me.
Why do you reject me?
Why must I walk around mourning because my enemies oppress me?
Reveal your light and your faithfulness.
They will lead me; they will escort me back to your holy hill,
and to the place where you live.
Then I will go to the altar of God, to the God who gives me ecstatic joy,
so that I may express my thanks to you, O God, my God, with a harp.
Why are you depressed, O my soul?Psalm 43
Why are you upset?
Wait for God!
For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.