“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
This is the cry of Jesus from the Cross.
He is broken, abandoned, devoid of any and all hope or strength.
He is at the farthest extreme of his ability to withstand suffering, his mind and body tormented almost beyond what he can bear.
And worst of all, he can no longer feel the loving presence of his Father that has sustained him for his thirty-three years on this earth.
But the remarkable thing is that he is not the first person to have spoken these words from the valley of the shadow of death.
Jesus is actually quoting Psalm 22.
The psalmist cried out from his own suffering, uncounted generations before Jesus arrived on earth, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
This imbues Jesus’ voice from the Cross with even deeper significance.
These words are the cry of his tradition, the cry of his people, and also the cry of his barren heart.
All to whom he sought to give himself have deserted him, until finally he cannot even feel the Father.
This was no doubt the most wretched and almost involuntary cry of the human side of Jesus, truly feeling like he was alone and God had forsaken him.
But consider what Jesus in his divinity might also have been doing purposefully.
These words are verse 1 of Psalm 22. The Jews gathered around the Cross, Mary, John, and the others, would have known the verses that followed.
In fact, those verses would have leapt immediately to their minds.
And Peter and the others who had run away would no doubt hear the story later, that Jesus said these words from the Cross moments before his death.
What if these words were, along with the truthful convulsion of his spirit in pain, also a message from Jesus to his followers, and thereby to us? Continue reading