From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”Matthew 27:45-49 and Mark 16:33-36
Forsaken. Abandoned. Left to die on a cross. The Son of God. The only begotten Son of the Creator of the universe. Abandoned by his Heavenly Father at his greatest moment of need.
And what does Jesus do? He prays. Yes, the words which Jesus cried out are a prayer. They are questioning words, yes. And even angry words. But they are words addressed to His Father in Heaven. “My God, my God.” And they are even words taken from Scripture, from Psalm 22. When Jesus feels most abandoned by his God and ours, what does he do? He turns to Scripture and to prayer.
Would we do the same? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But that isn’t even the point, is it? The point is that when Jesus took our sins to the cross, and was forsaken for it, he prayed. He did not abandon the God who had seemingly abandoned Him. Even when he questioned God, he did so in prayer, quoting Scripture, and addressing God as “My God.”
Jesus did not abandon God, even when it seemed apparent that God abandoned him.
And that means that we can rest assured that He will not abandon us, either. Even when we might feel that way, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ never abandons us.
There is nothing, as St. Paul reminds us elsewhere in Scripture, that will separate us from this amazing love of God in Christ Jesus. Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation. We have heard this, but in this word from the cross we are reminded of it. Nothing in all of creation. No sickness. No sin. No act of abandonment.
Nothing that can cause God to stop loving us. Because it is a love which survived even abandonment, and the cross.
Take time in silence to give thanks to Jesus for accepting this abandonment on our behalf so that will never have to feel abandoned by God …
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