While reading through the gospels this past week so many things struck me that I had never seen in the past. In fact, something happened while reading that had never happened before, it was as if I was there. I was there and I could hear the way Jesus was speaking, more than that, it was as if I could feel his heart’s emotions as he said the words. One of the things that hit me was the meaning behind the words Jesus cried out while hanging on the cross. Mark 15:33-34 says “And when the sixth hour had come there was a darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In the past I had always read this verse and felt a sense of remorse for Jesus…there he was suffering and at the brink of death and he felt forsaken. He felt alone as if his father had forgotten him. But moments after reading this verse God led me to turn directly to Psalm 22 and what I read completely changed my perspective on Jesus’ mindset and emotions at that painful moment in time.
Jesus was not questioning the Father, He was not asking why he had been forsaken, he didn’t feel alone or in doubt about his Father’s intentions toward him. No, he was encouraging himself, he was strengthening his spirit by reminding himself of the promises of his Father. He was quoting Psalm 22 which was a prophetic picture of what was happening to him at that very moment. I can imagine how he may have been quoting that psalm over and over in his mind as he hung there…the prophecy was consoling him. The prophecy spoke of that exact moment and it strengthened his soul because the prophecy has a very powerful ending. An ending of triumph and glory…
Psalm 22 says, (and Jesus said as he hung on the cross…)
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?… Yet you are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame… I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death…For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet–I can count all my bones–they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. 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, 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.”
Jesus cried out “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Hear the true cry of Jesus’ heart…the cry of faith in his Father, the shout of praise because he knew he had overcome the power of the enemy and his works would be remembered for all generations.