Friday, April 06, 2012

Abandoned

"The Crucifixion" by Alexandre Bida

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 15:21-39

TO CHEW ON: "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?'" Mark 15:34

No matter how often I read the story of Jesus' death, these words from the cross (the echo of Psalm 22:1) wrench at my heart. They carry the tones of utter despair and abandonment.

A footnote in my Bible describes them as a "...cry of dereliction from Jesus that reflects the burden of humanity's sin, complete identification with sinners and a real abandonment by God" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1379.

Wayne Grudem names four aspects of the pain of the cross:
1. Physical pain and death ... death by crucifixion was one of the most horrible forms of execution ever devised by men...


2. The pain of bearing sin: More awful than the pain of physical suffering that Jesus endured was the psychological pain of bearing the guilt of our sin (Isaiah 53:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13).


3. Abandonment ... Jesus faced this pain alone (Mark 15:34; Matthew 26:56).


4. Bearing the wrath of God ... As Jesus bore the guilt of our sins alone, God the Father, the mighty Creator, the Lord of the universe, poured out on Jesus the fury of his wrath: Jesus became the object of the intense hatred of sin and vengeance against sin which God had patiently stored up since the beginning of the world (Romans 3:24-25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2). - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pp. 573-575.

Which makes that desolate cry from the cross all the more impacting. It has something to do with me. My sin—my pride, jealousy, anger, greed, covetousness etc. etc. were part of that black burden that not only separated Jesus from His Father but made Jesus (instead of me) the object of the Father's wrath.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for not turning away from the terrible "cup." I am forever grateful that You became sin, a curse, for me. Amen.

MORE: Good Friday

Today (Good Friday) Christians around the world commemorate Jesus' death. The liturgy for today begins with this collect:

"Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

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