Apr 6, 2012
Good Friday, Indeed
When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
A few believers to the end, stood by. Others, threatened by his truth, were satisfied. The veil would soon tear as prophecy was fulfilled. The son of man, the son of God, on the cross, crucified.
Matthew 27: 45-50
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
I have heard many teachings on this passage, yet none satisfied what lied deep within. There, in the passage when Jesus says, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" That is the scripture that I could never fully grasp, until I went to Israel.
What we tend to forget, while looking through our western lens at Biblical text, is that Jesus was a rabbi. He taught, everywhere and at all times. When he spoke, he was teaching and using places and items those around him, the Jews, would understand. They had the foundation for what he shared and the point was not loss. Here, on the cross, I have heard many say that Jesus cries out because God cannot look at sin. Really? If that is the case, we are all in trouble friends. If God cannot be where sin is, then He cannot be in our midst, and doesn't that limit his power quite a bit? He is the creator, not the created.
But what does it mean to have Jesus, God's own son, cry out that his father has forsaken him? That line is what is called remez, or hint, a reference to past scripture. Here, on the cross, even before his last breath, Jesus is teaching, and he is reminding them of Psalm 22 which begins:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
As you set about preparing for Easter, I encourage you, as you read through the crucifiction of our Savior, read it in light of the words written in Psalm 22. It will change everything, and have you falling even deeper in love with Christ.
That is what happened for me. As we read and learned about the crucifiction in light of Psalm 22, my heart and soul were torn wide as they shouted, "Yes Lord! Thank you Lord! I am not worthy Lord! Thank you, thank you thank you." Even today, as I reread the text of the twenty second psalm, my eyes fill with tears, my heart becomes overwhelmed, and my thank you grows louder.
Let us worship him who came, as sacrifice for all.