"Why Have You Forsaken Me?"
For Good Friday this year, our church had a special service where four of the members prepared to speak about the seven sayings of Jesus at the Cross. Of course, I had heard the story countless times before, so I knew the words that Jesus spoke at the cross. However, I had never sat down and really contemplated Jesus's words when he admitted that he had felt forsaken and abandoned by his Father. I know it's a little past Easter, but I really enjoyed writing these words and thought I'd share them here.
(I wrote another one about Jesus saying, "Behold your mother!" to John at the cross. You can find that post here. )
Why Have You Forsaken Me?
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[j] lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
As Jesus hung on the cross, his physical pain was heightened by the emotional pain he felt. His body was broken, but his soul was crippled by the felt abandonment of his father. God saw his son in soul-crushing pain on the cross and chose to do nothing—for the sake of the world. God, in his infinite wisdom, knew that after his sacrificial death, Jesus would be raised to life again. And when he was raised to life by the power of God, Jesus would provide a way for anyone who believes to also be raised to life. But in that moment of intense pain, Jesus quoted the Psalmist when he said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” His divine self knew that God was with him, but his human self was burdened his absence. In this pivotal moment at the cross, Jesus showed us his humanity. He is not a High Priest unfamiliar with our weaknesses, with our struggles. He experienced it all—the joy, pain, temptation, connectedness, abandonment. In these last words on the cross, he showed us that we are not alone in our suffering, that he suffers alongside us. When we cry out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?” Jesus replies, “I know, my son. I know, my daughter. I’ve been there too.”