We will be posting a series of devotionals for the 7 days of Holy Week, leading up to Resurrection Sunday. Each is a reflection on one of the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46)
Have you ever experienced a time when you needed God and you felt like He wasn’t there for you? I have. The most notable time being when I was in labor with our first baby.
I wish someone had told me, When you go into labor, go take a nap. You have a long road ahead of you. But we were so excited to be having our first baby, we instead went on an hour and a half walk to get things going. I then labored at home until contractions got closer together. By the time we arrived at the hospital, I was exhausted. Little did I know, I had hours and hours of labor still ahead of me.
Weeks earlier, I had written down a few Bible verses to encourage me when I was in labor. I remember reciting these verses at the hospital and feeling nothing. I remember audibly crying out to God for help and no help coming. I needed Him to give me strength and courage but with each passing moment, I only felt more desperate and depleted. It was not the storybook God-by-my-side experience that I had envisioned. For a week or two after giving birth, even with my healthy baby boy in my arms, I honestly felt kind of hurt by God. In my distress I had called out to Him and I felt like He had left me to fend for myself.
It was some time later when I was reading the story of the crucifixion that I realized how God shows us the image of the cross through the daily occurrence of childbirth.
Jesus was the only one who could do the work on the cross that needed to be done. He willingly took on all of our sin, all of the horror and disgust of the world and when He did, God had to look away. God left Jesus. For the first and only time in His life, Jesus was without the love and comfort of His Father. And not only did God leave His side, He poured out His wrath on Jesus.
Imagine how hurtful it would be if the person you loved most not only left you but also treated you like their biggest enemy.
It is in this moment that Jesus cries, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” Which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Only Jesus could carry the burden of our sins. Only my body could do the work to deliver our baby. Not my husband, nor anyone else could do it for me.
Jesus was called to be our sacrificial lamb and He willingly rose to the occasion. With pain, blood, sweat, tears, and His very life, Jesus paid what we owed…and when it was all said and done…new life came.