At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last.
Recorded here are Jesus last words and last thoughts before His death. Let’s deconstruct this passage for today’s reflection.
'Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani', is the first verse of Psalm 22 written by King David 1,000 years earlier. The Holy Spirit revealed to David a vision of the crucifixion as perceived through the eyes of Jesus. It would stand to reason that the Holy Spirit brought to Jesus’ recall Psalm 22 which is why He spoke those words in His last moments on the cross.
Here is a brief synopsis of Psalm 22:
Traumatized and in insufferable agony, Jesus voiced His emotions to His Father and asked why He was being forsaken. But, Jesus reviewed His Father’s history of perfect faithfulness to His people.
Jesus tells the Father how the crowd perceived He was forsaken by God. He reflected on how the Father took care of Him from the moment of conception until this point in His life.
Jesus portrayed His enemies as powerful and violent bulls; and as lions that used their jaws to strangle and devour their prey. He further described the depth of His agonizing emotions, the condition of His tortured body, and the dehumanizing treatment from His enemies.
For every negative circumstance and emotion, Jesus countered with previous experiences of deliverance and truth. With confident faith Jesus eagerly expected to be saved from these evil circumstances. Jesus’ soul erupted with love, praise, and adoration for all that God had done and would continue to do. With prophetic eyes, He gazed into the future and recognized the glorious harvest of souls that would result from His crucifixion and resurrection.
Psalm 22: 22-31 NLT
“Praise the Lord, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations. Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust. Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.”
To everyone there, it appeared that Jesus was murdered under the most profane circumstances possible, and His religious movement would die with Him. However, the unseen reality was that Jesus victoriously won this spiritual battle by resisting hatred and offense, loving His Father, and keeping the faith. With those words from Psalm 22 ringing in His mind and heart, Jesus willed His death and released His spirit into the hands of His Father.
Father, What an amazing example Jesus modeled for me in His darkest hour! Whatever battle I find myself in, no matter how hopeless it seems, I will follow the steps that Jesus took. I will counter negative circumstances with previous positive experiences. I will ask the Holy Spirit to bring to my recall the scripture I need for that situation and worship You. I will resist hatred and offense, love You, and keep the faith. I give You my life. You may do with me as You will. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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