“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”–which means,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
It had happened. For the first time ever Jesus knew what it was to be separated from God. He had taken onto Himself and into Himself the sins of the whole world – past, present and future.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
God was not just on the other side of a barrier – He had disappeared. Jesus great cry of abandonment –prefigured in Psalm 22 – would have echoed throughout the whole of creation. And unsaid but inferred the next verse would hang in the air,
“O my God, I cry out …
but You do not answer”
We have to let our imaginations discern the truth that the heart of God Himself was in agony at this time – sustained only by His great love for His Son and for you and for me and for us.
As we look in horror and awe at the figure on the cross – straining against the nails, the pain and the suffocation – we begin to see more of the truth. The darkness upon Him and within Him is our darkness. The fingers of death reaching out and grasping Him is our death. The sin that has invaded Him and which burdens Him is our sin. In the flickering light His body seems almost to disappear and to be replaced by a list of our sin and sins. There they are – the sins of yesterday, the sins of today and – O no! – the sins of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
He is forsaken and I am set free.
When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.