Article: Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? | Jacob Varghese
In Mark 15:34 we read “And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Why Jesus Cried “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me” In the most critical moment of the entire Bible, the moment when Jesus dies on the cross, He shouts from the cross a phrase that can be confusing to those of us reading the account so many centuries later: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I am not going to the back ground story as others have already mentioned it. This phrase is found in both Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34. These words were first uttered by David, and David was speaking for all of God’s people. Psalm 22 begins with the most anguished cry in human history: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These are the words that Jesus took on His lips at the depth of His suffering on the cross. His suffering was unique at that point as He offered Himself up for the sins of His people.
Have you ever felt forsaken by God or by people around you? Maybe you were praying for a family member or a loved one or a friend. You were praying persistently day and night, praying for all these years and nothing has changed. And in those moments, you can feel abandoned or forgotten by God. So, the question is how can you still have faith in moments you feel neglected or forgotten by God. And this is not just the experience of David. It is the experience of all God’s people in the face of terrible trouble. Yet, even in this extreme distress, David never loses faith or falls into complete hopelessness. His anguish leads him to prayer, and the first words of the prayer are “My God, My God.”
We have some lessons from this passage that can encourage all of us. Three things that we have to remember anytime we feel abandoned or forgotten by God.
1.It is okay to cry out to God and question Him.
There is nothing wrong with us in crying out to God and questioning Him. But what does it mean to cry out to God? The power of crying out is relying on God in desperate times. Throughout history, believers have cried out to God in times of distress. Sometimes after years of praying, a single cry brings direction or deliverance instantly. Many have wondered why there are such powerful results from simply crying out to God, yet the promise is clear: “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you will glorify me” (Psalm 50:15). I don’t know about you but for me, it is okay to ask God why, it is okay to ask God how long? It is okay to complain to God or even ask questions to God. When we ask questions to God, it actually brings us closer in the presence of God. Here in our context, you see Jesus struggles to make sense of what was going on, so He desperately
cried out to God. Jesus showed His vulnerability when cried out to God in desperation. Crying out to God is an act of desperation and total concentration. It is a fervent expression of faith in God and trust in His goodness and power. Crying out to God expresses the genuine humility, unconditional surrender, a plea for mercy, personal helplessness and faith in God’s power and resources. Throughout Scripture, believers are instructed to cry out to God in times of trouble. Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” So, this morning I would like to encourage you to cry out to God when you feel abandoned.
2.God’s silence is not His absence.
There are going to be times when we wanted answers from God. I remember long back in our family life, once in desperation my wife cried out, “I need to know why did God do this in our life” Then she concluded telling me that when I reach heaven, I will have few questions to God to answer.” Many of us may have questions like this- why didn’t I get into that Job, why didn’t I get that admission in that school or College, why my loved one had to die, why didn’t my marriage work out and so on??? You know Jesus asked God the question, “why”- why have you forsaken me. Even though Jesus asked God this question, He did not get a reply from God. Sometimes we also don’t get answers to our questions from God. But just because God is silent, it doesn’t mean that He is not listening. God has great hearing ability. Be encouraged today, God’s silence to our questions doesn’t mean His absence from our lives. When God seems silent to our prayers, let us examine our life, accept God’s authority in our life, listen to what God is saying to us through His silence, recognize that silence can be Intimate and continue talking to God.
3.Jesus understands and relates to our pain.
The good news of the Christian faith is that Jesus came to be with you and with me. He is not only with us but He understands our pain and our suffering. Jesus Christ is the only person in all of human history who can truly understand our hearts, our hardships, our struggle, our pain, our trials and betrayals, because He Himself gone through all these on the cross for you and for me. May I remind you this morning that we are not alone when we go through the seasons of our rejection and pain.
Hebrews 4:15-16 says “for we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” What does it mean? – there is no pain that you can have that Jesus has not experienced. That is why he understands and can bring comfort to us. He knows. He feels. He experiences what we
experience. No matter what pain, sorrow, or loss we experience, He can comfort us because He has felt it too. Because He became human, He understands. Because He is God, He will take us through it.