Famous Last Words: Why Have You Forsaken Me?

For part one, click here
For part two, click here
For part three, click here

Mark 15:33-34, CEB

From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark. At three, Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani,” which means,
“My God, my God, why have you left me?”

The cry of abandonment is Jesus’ fourth word from the cross. We can all relate to this word, can’t we? This sense of being forsaken by God can be real and excruciating in the darkest moments of our lives. Jesus’ cry expresses this feeling, yet also invites us to be hopeful. 

Yep. You read that correctly. Hope.

This line, “My God, my God, why have you left me?” is actually the first line of Psalm 22. Jesus is actually quoting scripture, and this Psalm fits well the experience of Jesus on the cross. The Psalmist cries out to God in abandonment. His enemies are mocking and humiliating him. They even divide up his clothing. Yet, in the midst of this sense of aloneness and defeat, the Psalmist writes:

Because he didn’t despise or detest
the suffering of the one who suffered—
he didn’t hide his face from me.
No, he listened when I cried out to him for help.

The Psalmist begins with despair, and ends with the confidence that God will hear his cry. Which leads us back to Jesus. To quote the first line of a text like this would call to mind the rest. Ultimately, even in the darkness of this moment, even though he feels abandoned and forsaken, Jesus holds on to the hope that God will come to his rescue. 

May we hold on to the same hope. 

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