My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mathew 27:46; Mark 15:34)
A common reaction to great suffering is: Where was God? Why didn’t God do something? Don’t we feel forsaken sometimes?
Despite the attention given to the physical suffering of Jesus in so many movies, Scripture itself does not dwell on the physical suffering of Jesus. At one point in Marks’ Gospel, for example, it simply says, “They led him out and crucified him.” No question that the physical suffering was tremendous. But the Scriptures do not dwell there.
They focus on Jesus’ internal anguish. His greater turmoil is of the heart. From Gethsemane’s, Father, it is possible, let this cup pass from me” or “I am deeply grieved, even to death” (Matthew 26:38, 39), to these words from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” His pain is of the heart. Jesus is mocked, spit upon, and derided by those around him. Who is with him? From whom can he draw strength. In this place of utter isolation he cries to the Father.
Jesus is like us in all things but sin. He knows our experiences that prompt the question, “Where is God?” He knows our sentiments of abandonment provoked by the sudden death of a loved one, anguishing ongoing illness, job loss, experiences of discrimination and hatred. He knows our human experience. He lived it.
And he cries, “My God.” MY GOD. even in this utter desperation there is still a connection: My God. Even while feeling forsaken, abandoned, he prays these words from Psalm 22 that also says: “To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.”
Jesus’ dying words remind us of how human he is, feeling utterly abandoned, yet still trusting even when no response is heard. Dying words, but words for us who live, often feeling forsaken, yet confident to cry, Mo God, my God.
What are your thoughts?