Lenten Reflection Week 4: Matthew 27:46


And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This fourth saying of Christ from the cross is interesting in many ways. Two of which we will examine and reflect on for this fourth week of Lenten reflections.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is of course also found in Psalm 22. In fact several verses of this Psalm are quoted or alluded to in the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion.

In an attempt to understand the depth of scripture, first I’d like to challenge the conventional interpretation , not doing away with it of course ( for that will be part of our reflection for the week) but attempting to understand the tangible with the intangible.

When Jesus cries out, My God, My God why have you forsaken me, why might/would He say this aloud? Who were the bystanders? Think about this for a second; was it not the “religious” leaders of the Sanhedrin (a mix of Pharisees and Sadducee’s), the ones who had just condemned Jesus a few hours before and turned Him over to the Roman authorities? These folk knew their scripture, maybe they didn’t know how to interpret it, but they certainly knew it. The common people who followed Jesus to Golgotha, Mary, John and a few other women, they probably knew their scripture, much more so than the Roman soldiers that were there.

When Jesus cries out the first line of this Psalm, maybe, just maybe He was calling out to these “religious” leaders one last time to repent. Upon hearing this, their minds race to recall the words and content of this Psalm. When they realize the similarities of it and what is taking place, they have a choice to make; to repent of their sin or be in denial of their sin. “This one is calling for Elijah.” This may have been their attempt to cover up what Jesus had just said. Anyone who may have been pondering the Psalm, might have heard this comment and thought to him/herself, “Oh I must have misunderstood what Jesus had said.”

My point in all this? Even from the cross, Jesus gives the opportunity for repentance. From the cross He prayed for the forgiveness of His persecutors, He promised salvation to a God-fearing penitent. He showed mercy and compassion toward His mother and placed His faith in John to care for her. And one last time He calls for repentance.

Next, I’m sure we’ve all heard the sermon, homily and/or the Sunday school lesson about how this is the moment that all sin – past, present and future –  was placed upon Christ. Thus the Father , who isn’t even able to look upon sin, has to turn away from His Son. Jesus, knowing this cries out, for His Father has never done such before.

So in this fourth week of Lenten reflections, let us think of how our sin separates us from God. For if God had to turn away from  “His only begotten Son” who “did not know sin” was “made to be sin,”  what must He do to us who are “still sinners” ? Let us also reflect on His call to repentance. Jesus knows what kind of people we are and He loves us enough to grant us salvation. But our salvation journey begins with a first step and that first step is repentance.

Oh God, create a clean heart for me; renew in me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from Your presence, nor take from me Your Holy Spirit. Restore my joy in Your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.   Psalm 51: 12-14

Amen.

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7 Responses

  1. This is such a great blog. It really is good and seems to be absolutely true. I completely believe in what you have said in this post. I just discovered your site a couple of days ago and so far I am really loving it.

  2. Lawton,
    Thank you for those kind and encouraging words. I’m glad God has used this blog to speak to you.
    All glory, honor and praise to Him belong.

  3. I recently heard a sermon on this very passage that came to the same conclusions (that Jesus was thinking about ministry even while He was dying a torturous death.

    “Oh I must have misunderstood what Jesus had said.”
    That’s a great point. I keep asking myself: “Did any of them repent? How could they have turned their backs on such obvious fulfillment of prophecy?”

    It reminds to guard against the deceitfulness of sin. Great post.

  4. Thank you bscollins for your input and your visit!

    Blessings to you.

  5. Tim: I just wanted to say that I just discovered your blog through a comment on mine. I’ve been searching for others who also are reflecting on their faith. I have already added you to blogs I regularly read and most likely will add you to my blogroll in the near future. Thank you for your kind words on my blog also.

  6. Thank you for stopping by unfinished. I thought your prayer was awesome! I’m so glad you shared it with us.

    I would like to add you to my blogroll as well.

    Blessings to you,
    Tim

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