Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, "Look, He is calling for Elijah!" Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down."
And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!"
Mark’s Gospel is thought to be the earliest of the first four New Testament books, and is the most pared back, telling of Jesus with a straightforward narrative. One feels that it is a news report, an ‘as it happened’ approach to events, devoid of philosophising or conjecture, but also compelling. Mark seems to ask the question, “You weren’t there? I can tell you what it was like!”
Each of the gospel books differs in some way or another in the detail of the crucifixion story. For example, Luke does not mention Jesus saying “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”, preferring to report Jesus saying “Father, into Your hands, I commit My spirit”, while John writes “It is finished!” Matthew goes with Mark’s commentary — and some scholars believe that Matthew based his writing on Mark’s version — and those words reverberate with a very human cry of despair. Despite all He had preached, did Jesus at the last succumb to doubt?
My own feeling — for what it is worth — is that there are two ways the expression “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” can be considered; as “why have You forsaken Me”, or “why have You left Me behind”. There is a subtle distinction, because we believe that God did not forsake Jesus, but to fulfil His eternal plan He had to leave Him behind at that time. There had to be a break in the Father/Son bond for God’s eternal plan to succeed. This was an involuntary cry of anguish at being separated from Father God for the first time ever. That pain was too great even for Jesus to bear.
The skies were un-naturally darkened in the heat of the day — the whole earth was shaken in that moment, as were the heavenlies — The Creator groaned for His creation, and His pain was surely as great, if not greater than that experienced by His only begotten Son. The cost to God was immense, by any standards we can know. That the heavenly realms were shaken was shown with the veil ‘torn in two from top to bottom’ — the division between man and God was being removed and soon Jesus The Christ would be the bridge between man and God. No wonder the centurion said that “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
‘Meditate on these things…’
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
WERE YOU THERE WHEN THEY CRUCIFIED MY LORD — featuring Andrea Thomas by The Vigil Project
A HOLY COMMAND: Oswald Chambers on LOVE
GEORGE and GILL STEWART