The Via Dolorosa ~ Abandoned

In light of all we’ve learned of the crucifixion from our slow crawl through the 11th Station of the Cross, the next bit is understandable. Dying is one thing. Being made a public spectacle during the process is quite another. And now the moment is upon us when Jesus demonstrates the fullness of his humanity. The profound loneliness of the cross charges through him: From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.  About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) ~Matthew 27:45,46

It was lights out at noon. The Greek historian, Phlegon, who wrote an in- depth record of events said this: In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e., AD 33) there was ‘the greatest eclipse of the sun’ and that ‘it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e., noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.’ Had I been a part of the mocking crowd, that sort of darkness might well have changed my way of thinking.

Jesus hangs in that pitch black for three hours. It is eerie. It is foreboding. All of a sudden he pierces the darkness with a loud cry in Aramaic, Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?  Everything had been taken from Jesus except that internal combustion of intimacy between him and his heavenly Father. But at this moment – in this one horrific defining instance – Jesus tastes the full weight of the fall. He was bearing in his body the sins of the world.

There is some lively debate about whether or not God the Father actually turned away. I’ve read the arguments from each side and find them, at the end, distinctions without much of a difference. These sort of speculations diminish the reality of what Jesus was actually feeling with the words he screamed into the darkness. He felt as though the Father had turned away. That’s all that really matters.

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Extra: I again turn to music to help say what I’m not gifted enough at expressing. This song comes to us from the Irish songwriter, Stuart Townend, and is entitled: How Deep The Father’s Love For Us. To hear this beautiful tune, click here, for a nice, acapella version. And please, note the words in verse 1 in the supplied lyrics. Blessings, CJ

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss – The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One, Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice, Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there, Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything, No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart – His wounds have paid my ransom.

Stuart Townend
Copyright © 1995 Thankyou Music (Adm. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family, songs@integritymusic.com)