The death of Jesus
April 8, 2023
About the author: Dale has been married to Lynn for 39 years on Good Friday. They have two adult sons, Cole and Trent. Dale and Lynn have been at ZPC for 33 years, less a 6-year hiatus. Dale said yes to being a Deacon because he sought a way to serve beyond Mission Commission Finance and being the Shepherd Community Liaison. He considers being on the Youth and Young Adult Deacon Team a blessing. He’s been a Cub Master, Boy Scout Assistant Scoutmaster, and coached youth soccer in Zionsville and Carmel Dads' youth basketball. His hobbies include golf and writing. Recently, he's taken up fly fishing.
Mark 15:33-41 (NIV)
33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee, these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.
When Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he references Psalm 22. Psalm 22 is where King David appears to be sharing some vision of what will happen to the Lord’s Messiah. Jesus only shares the first verse of the Psalm on the cross. However, most people of the day would have assumed he was referring to the entire Psalm.
Sometimes in trying times, we could wonder why God might have forsaken us. Forsake means to turn away from or withdraw from. I, like many others, wondered why God would do this to his son. As a parent, I wouldn’t do this to Trent or Cole. So why would the universe's ultimate source of all love turn away from his only son? Would he ever forsake us if he would do this to his only begotten son?
“Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” Those in earshot of the cross assumed Jesus was calling out for Elijah, not God. People mocked Jesus on the cross by claiming that God should have saved him if God loved him so much. We know differently. By this act, we see that Jesus not only died for our sins but also to reveal the fullness of God’s love for all of humanity and how much he cherishes you and me. We must remind ourselves of this love and pray that non-believers or those questioning their beliefs recognize Jesus for who he is and his power, just like the centurion. We must remind ourselves that God has a plan and has not forsaken us despite what we see on the surface. He always walks alongside us.
Lastly, we learn from the scripture that women have always had a role to play in the kingdom of God, and he entrusted the most powerful and important news in human history to these women first. They witnessed his miracles, heard his teachings, and wept at his crucifixion. The importance of their role should never be diminished.
Dear Merciful Lord,
With the curtain torn, I can come directly to you and thank you for the gift of forgiveness. Despite my faults and sinful failures, you sent your only Son to earth to save me, teach me, and reveal to me the fullness of your love through his crucifixion. You truly cherish and forgive me. Help me listen to your guidance and to demonstrate unconditional love today. Amen