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Matthew 27:45-51 (CEB)

45 From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark. 46 At about three Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” which means, “My God, my God, why have you left me?”[c]

47 After hearing him, some standing there said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 One of them ran over, took a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a pole. He offered it to Jesus to drink.

49 But the rest of them said, “Let’s see if Elijah will come and save him.”

50 Again Jesus cried out with a loud shout. Then he died.

51 Look, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split,


Before Jesus’ death, the disciples refused to accept that something that terrible would really happen to their Savior. Perhaps no one could believe it. No one really believed that Jesus’ earthly life would really end with such injustice, afterall he is and was God incarnate. Then Jesus was arrested, ridiculed, tortured and crucified. As he breathed his last, he cries out in desperation,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

(My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)

Jesus’ words expressed unimaginable anguish and hurt. In his hour of need, Jesus’ words also showed his humanness through pain.   

Jesus, the Lord of all, could have overcome the circumstances of an earthly and ugly world differently. He could have taken over the scene when the worst of life and death broke through. Instead, Jesus cried out with all the lament of his human heart. In fact Jesus recites words from the twenty-second Psalm. My God, why have you forsaken me? What a divine gift lamenting any of the psalms! Why have you left me God, we say. God, where are you?    

Whenever befalls us, how often do we ask God if God hears us, or if God knows our pains. But how often do we assume that God has abandoned us or that our God has forgotten us in our hour of need? Yet, when Jesus could have chosen to overcome all the pain of the world through his strength, he chose instead to humble himself. He chose instead to take on the hurt of the world in his fully human body.   

Out of love and for our redemption, Jesus chose fear, sorrow and excruciating pain. He chose to humble himself so that we might learn that there would never be a pain that he couldn’t understand. There could never be a time that we couldn’t be forgiven. We cannot truly imagine all that Jesus endured, but in our own limited way, perhaps we can understand pain. More importantly, Jesus in his unlimited way, understands our every hurt and need.

by Barbara Carlson

for Pondering & Prayer

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Perhaps it is the most powerful existential question there ever was. Jesus’ words are the words first heard in Psalm 22. When we are in pain, we often cry out, as if we think Our Lord does not understand or know the hurt we share.


Dear Jesus, You have known pain in a way that I can never comprehend. You know my hurts because you have shared them all. In you, I can trust the honesty of my hurt. Take my burdens and help me to know that you share this journey with me. Thank you for loving me that much. Amen.