THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF OCTOBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN.
Dereliction. Darkened sky.
Now abandoned. Anguished cry.
Godforsaken. “My God, why?”
For our sake, Jesus experienced the suffering of death (Heb. 2:9; 13:12). Death by crucifixion was intentionally and notoriously painful. One who looks closely at the English adjective “excruciating quickly finds at its root the Latin word for cross. When the metal spikes impaled his wrists, Jesus already had survived a bloody scourging, savage pummeling, and a crown of thorns pressed into his scalp. Yet worse than the physical agony, as New Testament writers view it, was the disgrace of crucifixion, the shame of nakedness, and Jesus’ abandonment by both heaven and earth (Matt. 27:45-50).
His enemies taunt him viciously and mock him among themselves: He saved others, but he cant save himself (Mk. 15:31-32). Ironically, their lie is his truth. If he is to save others he cannot save himself. In the end it is him or them. Him or us. But the sights and sounds of that cursed place fade from Jesus’ mind, to be replaced by a holy vision–a vision of the countless redeemed, rising from the dead and meeting him in the air, his brothers and sisters who will share glory with him throughout eternity.
Will Jesus save himself or others? He makes the choice. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb. 12:2). The mockers had it wrong. Because Jesus is the Son of God he will not come down from the cross. He will save others and not himself. And praise God, he did!