Why Have You Forsaken Me?
At three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)
This was a first. Jesus felt separated from God. God had abandoned him because of our sin. A terrible time for Jesus as he suffered the death each of us deserve. He suffered our punishment so that we may make our way back to God. As a man, Jesus knew the feeling of despair and sadness that people suffer. He had lived a fully human life and now he was in the agony of the worst death possible. As a result, Jesus understands everything that we go through, are tempted with and experiences, the bad as well as the good. Nevertheless, Jesus suffered so God could forgive people. He was like the servant in Isaiah’s poem who suffered on behalf of other people (Isaiah chapter 53). Jesus felt the darkness of being cut off from God. That is what sin causes. Sin is separates us from our source and ground of being, our creator and sustainer. All who ask God to forgive them in Jesus’ name will not stay in the darkness, but will live in Eternal light and life.
Peter Rollins calls this instance “a profoundly personal, painful, and existential atheism. On the Cross, Christ undergoes the deepest, most radical form of divine loss, one that is experienced.” He goes on to write, “the Crucifixion is the site where meaning is ripped away. It is a reflection of the experience in which we lose any sense of being connected with a higher truth or reality.”
Have you ever lost something, had the very reality that you moved in ripped away for quickly and forcefully that you didn’t know who were anymore?
A while back, I sent through such an experience. My central relationship, the friend that I relied on abandoned me. She left. I was alone. I voiced these same words. Why, why God have you forsaken me. That’s what it felt like. I felt like Job. I felt like God had ripped everything away. Who was I? What was I to do? How could I go on, could I? I felt for a long time like a living corpse. However, slowly inch by painful inch I came back alive and discovered that God had written me a plan b for my life. I am discovering that in my most painful loss lays my most wonderful blessing. I had to go through the darkness to see that through the crack the light gets in. Light has begun to pour into my life. I have seen that I don’t need anyone in order to live that as long as I have Jesus, my Lord and Savior, that I can and will live life the full.
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