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Tag Archives: Forsaken

The Death of Jesus

16Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 21They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. 25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. 33When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:16-39, NRSV)

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani. This seems a weird thing for Jesus to say from the cross. Why would Jesus cry out, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

Well, it could be because Jesus feels like God is nowhere near Him and He has been forsaken or left by God. Saint Teresa felt this in her life and often commented on it as the dark night of her soul. Is that it?

I don’t think that is why Jesus says this. If you know your Hebrew Scripture, you would know that My God, My God, why have you forsaken me is the first verse to Psalm 22. And in my understanding in Jesus’ time when a person wanted to pray a psalm they only needed to say the first verse to call all of at that psalm to cover them.  And Psalm 22 starts out dark and like the writer had been left by God, but then becomes light and talks of God’s ruling over the world.

27  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD,   and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
28  For kingship belongs to the LORD,   and he rules over the nations.
29    All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;   before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,   even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30  Posterity shall serve him;   it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31  they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.

They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn, that He has done it!!! Jesus died to complete something that none of us could have done. And it is something we will not understand until it doesn’t matter.

But know that God never left Jesus and God will never leave you.

 

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Crying out to God

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.
3Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
6But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8“Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
9Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
12Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
16For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled;
17I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me;
18they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.
19But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!
21Save me from the mouth of the lion! From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.
25From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever!
27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
28For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.
29To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.
30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,
31and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.
(Psalm 22:1-11, NRSV)

Here we see the writer crying out to be saved and at first, it seems like God is not going to be there, he is mocked and seemingly left to die…

Yet read it again and see that God never left and through God there is victory!

 

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sought out

161227Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent. You who remind the LORD, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it renowned throughout the earth. The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: I will not again give your grain to be food for your enemies, and foreigners shall not drink the wine for which you have labored; but those who garner it shall eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather it shall drink it in my holy courts. Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway, clear it of stones, lift up an ensign over the peoples. The LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to daughter Zion, “See, your salvation comes; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.” They shall be called, “The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD”; and you shall be called, “Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.” (Isaiah 62:6-12, NRSV)

Your salvation has come and all will know that you are sought out by God. You are not forsaken!

Our reward is in Him and He will show the world that we are His people and His flock.

We will be in His city!

Jesus seeks you out. Know you are not forsaken!

 

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Who do you proclaim?

Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:1-12, NRSV)

Who do you proclaim with your life?

Who is displayed for the world to see with your actions?

Paul tells the Corinthians that they are proclaim Jesus crucified and are on a mission for God, so they are not going to lose heart because Jesus is walking with them. Is this the same for you?

We can easily fall into a self proclaiming position where we are eager to talk about all we have done and all we have accomplished. We will not be beacons of the love that has brought us to this place…

But you see as Paul tells the Corinthians if we are actually proclaiming Christ crucified, then we will be afflicted but not crushed, we will be perplexed but we will not despair, we will be persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. We will not always seem to be getting ahead, but Jesus will always be with us, and we will not fail. If we are proclaiming Christ in all we do and say!

So who does your life proclaim?

 

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God is Good

How many times have you heard this?

You know you are having a bad day, week, month, year… It seems everything possibly that could go wrong has gone wrong and your world is falling apart around you. And someone in the midst if this will say, “pray and ask God for guidance because He is good and He will rescue you from the tribulation you are in.”

Psalm 107: 1-9 says

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.

Yes OK the Bible does say that God will deliver those who cry out to him and feed the hungry and give the thirsty water. But in Exodus when the Israelites started out the first water they found could not be drunk because it was bitter. (Exodus 15:22-27 – of course God fixed this too…)

But what about the times it seems like God has left us? What about those times we have prayed and there seems to be no answer? Where is God when it seems like He is not there?

Of course I could offer the answers that no answer to prayer is actually an answer. Garth Brooks told us to thank God for unanswered prayers, because sometimes we ask for things that would not be good for us, and therefore God will not give it to us. He will always give us what we need and is in His mission not always what we want.

And then there is Mathew West’s Strong Enough. A song about how we are not strong enough to do this life alone, and that we need to rely on the strength of God to get us through. And I can agree with this on an intellectual level always, but sometimes it disconnects with where I am. I know it is true, I’ve seen it several times in the past and I know God will take care of us and He is in control of every situation and His will will be done.

But that still does not eradicate the suffering. That still does not take away the confusion. That still does not help me where I am – disconnected from the creator I want to feel deep within me and surrounding me. Where is God when I feel like He is no where to be found? How can I get to Him? I feel like Jesus on the cross crying out, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me!” I’ve done what you asked and followed where you led me and did the things you told me to, and now I’m here all alone? Did you bring me here for what? Like the Israelites in the wilderness, brought out here to die of starvation in the wilderness?

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”

 

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