“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The first words of Psalm 22, and the plaintive cry of Jesus from the cross.
Jesus, is his agony, did what we all do in times of extreme distress. He cried to God for help.
To our astonishment, God did not answer Jesus. It was as if God was absent. Or, as we might say today, as was as if God had ghosted Jesus. Surprising. But perhaps not that surprising. We have had times when we have called to God for help, and there was no answer. Sometimes what we call “unanswered prayer” is when we get something other than what we want. But sometimes, there is literally no answer, as if God was not there, or God did not hear, or God did not care. It has maybe happened to you. On this occasion, it happened to Jesus.
The words of Jesus on the cross demonstrate that Jesus suffered as we do. Often we say that Jesus suffered for us, that he died in our place, and that is true. But not only did Jesus suffer for us, he also suffered like us, and he suffered with us. So when we cry to God in our distress and it feels that God does not hear us, Jesus does.
This Sunday we begin a new sermon series, “The Seven Last Words of Jesus,” with a message, “Why Have You Forsaken Me?”