A simple phrase can impart a whole gamut of emotions if shared with those who understand. If I simply say the phrase, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” I conjure up a plethora of emotions in those who have seen the movie Jaws. A looming crisis, danger, fear, lack, the permission to try crazy solutions… all from a simple phrase.
On the cross, as Jesus died, He uttered a phrase that did the same for those who heard. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” It’s a heart-wrenching cry to be sure, but when you know your Old Testament as the Jews did who heard Him say it, it is packed with so much more. It is a quote form Ps. 22, and the entirety of this psalm, all it’s emotion, fear, pain, and despair, are packed in to this small reference. The Psalm says this…
1 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.
6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
On the cross, Jesus was living out the truth of this Psalm, written 1000 years before Christ was born. He faced this pain, loss, fear, and loneliness, and He did it for you and me. He not only died for us, but He faced THIS for us. What wondrous love is this.