Matthew 27:46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
It’s hard to imagine how Jesus must have felt in the hardest time in history, on the cross, abandoned by most of his followers, carrying the sin of the world that separated people from fellowship with God.
Maybe there are areas in our lives where we feel similar. Maybe important people have left us, we feel lonely in the midst of lockdowns and social distancing, our world feels out of control and God far away.
For a long time I thought that Jesus cried out to His Father on the cross because God the Father indeed abandoned him in that moment. But there was actually something else going on there. Jesus was referring to the Messianic Psalm 22 written by David that was prophetically describing what Jesus was going through on the day of his crucifixion. In a time without chapter divisions, saying the first line was the way to refer to the whole Psalm just as we would nowadays to a title of a song.
Like many Psalms, Psalm 22 starts with lament, describing the situation of the Psalmist, but then changing to praises to God and declaring what He was doing:
Stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel…he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. (v. 23b; 24b)
Posterity shall serve him, it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that HE HAS DONE IT! (v. 30-31)
Jesus’ cry was not a cry of hopelessness. Quite the opposite! It was a proclamation! Scripture was being fulfilled!
Despite the hard reality of the cross, the pain of bearing our sin, Jesus was enduring it all for the sake of the joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12:2).
So no matter what we might be going through, be encouraged! You are not living in the last line of your story, of your Psalm. There is still so much more to come.
What can you thank God for and declare about the Lord’s character in the midst of your troubles, just as Jesus did in the midst of his crucifixion? What would your personal Psalm look like?
Thank you Lord, that this is not the end of my story yet and that you hear when I cry out to you. I praise you because you are faithful to your Word. Amen.