Words from the Cross
How do you try to imagine the events surrounding the cross?
There was a jeering crowd, soldiers gambling for Jesus’ clothes, a couple of bandits cursing their luck and a few tearful women.
It was certainly a noisy scene, and you would have had to listen very hard to catch the words of one man, already flogged to within an inch of his life.
The only man who appears to have been there was the Apostle John and it is hardly surprising that it is his gospel that preserves the story with such detail.
So it is to these final words from the cross that we turn in our readings this week. Try to visualise once again what Jesus endured to rescue you for eternity – and worship him.
My God, why have you forsaken me?
Being alone was not a problem for Jesus; we read in Matthew 23 ‘After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.’ There were times when solitude gave him time to be alone with his Father and pray. Even as he hung dying on the cross, with most of the disciples having run away, he was not alone. His mother, Mary, and other women, along with John, were there. Close enough for conversation to be heard. ‘Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.’ (John 19)
No, this was not the ‘forsaken’ of being alone, it was so much more. It was the desolation of being out of touch with his heavenly Father – something he had never experienced before.
Sin always separates us from God – and so here was the Sinless One carrying the weight of human sin in his own body and separated from God. We are reminded in Galatians 3:13 ‘When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.’
Jesus endured the ultimate alone-ness, separated from his Father, because he loved us and was willing to pay that price to rescue us from the consequences of our sin.