The Cry from the Cross
At three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)
This word from the cross is a cry, a cry of pain and suffering of abandonment and desolation. Jesus in incredible pain and loss, the full weight of the sins of the world cries out to God whose absence is felt. He was in the throes of the punishment we are due. His cry expresses his anguish of extreme and lingering stress or burden. His petition is in search of fulfillment, deliverance, or the answer to the riddles of life. He echoes the cry many have voiced in deepest despair.
Have you been in agony and all you could say was why?
Have you ever lost something, had the very reality that you moved in ripped away quickly and forcefully that you didn’t know who were anymore?
I have. A while back, I went 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.
As Rob Bell said, “The cross is God’s way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments. The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, “Me too.”
Jesus felt separated from God, because of our sin God abandoned him. Jesus suffered the death each of us deserves. He suffered our punishment so that we may be reconciled back to God. As a man, Jesus knew the feeling of despair and sadness that people suffer. Jesus experienced all the emotions, thoughts, and interactions each of us do. He lived a fully human life and in the agony of the worst death possible, he poured himself out to cover the sins of all. As a result, Jesus understands everything we go through, are tempted with, the bad as well as the good. Nevertheless, Jesus suffered all would be reconciled to God. Jesus showed the love of God. As it says in Hebrews 12: For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus felt the darkness of being cut off from God. Sin 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.”
God is not supposed to lose to die, yet the cross that is exactly what happens. The cross is the harshest most agonizing and humiliating death anyone could suffer. It was God up on that cross who surrendered to such a horrendous death. God cried out. God lost his identity. God died.
Because of the harsh reality of the cross, we are liberated, free, empowered, and renewed.
Jesus died, so that we might live. Jesus is there with us, in the good and bad and will not let face life alone. In Jesus, we have a friend, teacher, and savior.
Resurrection is near, but first crucifixion.
Grace and Peace