My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
What a heart wrenching question from the mouth of Jesus. Jesus has been sharing an unhindered relationship with his father since eternity and is now driven to say these words. While we might think he is tempted to doubt his father’s love, question his motives, or speak from a place of fear, he cries out using the words of scripture in Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” From the depths of his earthly pain he quotes scripture.
Jesus here is identifying with the sufferings of this world and experiences what it means to be concealed from God’s love. He enters our struggle and feelings of abandonment and experiences what each one of us goes through when we abandon the love of God for other lesser loves, doubt our faith, or can’t see past the pain of our circumstances. He is expressing his humanness and taking on the wrath of the father as he dies for our sin. His heart is heavy with our sins and he cries out in grief over the full weight of them.
Jesus is the head. We, his disciples, are the body.
Colossians 1:18 says, “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:22-23.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15
When Jesus cries out to the Father, he is praying as the head and as the body. Jesus’ cry unites him with all our suffering and unites us with the Father.
As Christians, our suffering is not private. Jesus identifies with us.
“So He had to be made like His brothers in every way, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, in order to make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:17-18
Our suffering is also not private because we are a community of believers. Ideally, we ought to suffer with those who are suffering.
Today, let us remember that our suffering is not an isolated experience, but we have Jesus who suffers with us. Let us also remember those who are suffering so that we may walk beside them and offer our help and assistance. In our pain, we can be tempted to think we are isolated, and that no one cares what we are going through. We might feel Jesus isn’t doing enough to alleviate our suffering. Sometimes he seems to allow us to go deeper in our despair. A heart that is not open and vulnerable cannot receive true healing. Sometimes he brings us to that place where we realize God is all we have, so that we can recognize that God is all we need at that moment.
In Scripture, it is clear every person stands in need of redemption. Why? Because every person has sinned.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. The following verse then reveals we are "justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Romans 3:24. Hebrews 9:15 says that Jesus "is the mediator of a new covenant . . . since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant."
When we are redeemed, we become different people.
When God redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt, He made them a new nation and gave them a new land. Likewise, the Christian has a new identity in Christ. No longer is the Christian a captive to sin and death. Instead, he has become a citizen of God's kingdom. Christians now live in anticipation of our eternal home with our heavenly Father.
When we are redeemed, God can redeem our suffering.
Redeem. That one word changes everything. It speaks of purpose. It speaks of the promise that our suffering is not in vain. It comforts us when pain envelops us, and darkness is our closest friend. God does not delight in our suffering, but weeps with us as he did in John 11. But his tears are not all that he gives us. He gives us hope and assurance that suffering is not in vain. Just as Jesus cried with Mary before he raised Lazarus (John 11:32–35), the Lord cries with us, knowing he will redeem our suffering.
Suffering It is not meant to be an individual experience but a cooperative experience of redemption with Jesus and with others. Let Jesus’ involvement in human suffering and his cry of abandonment remind you of this today, on this Good Friday.
FISHERS COMMUNITY CHURCH
Pastor Joseph Doenges
WORSHIP SUNDAY 10:00 AM
301 N. 6th Street
St. Clair, MI 48079
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization