When my grandfather was enduring the great pain of the illness that ended his life, with tears my dad told me that he cried out to his mother like a little child. My grandfather was tough, part of the greatest generation, but this illness brought him to his knees. And probably instinctively he sought out those gentle moments of a little boy in his mom’s embrace. Lord, have mercy.
In the depth of His pain, Jesus does the same. Matthew tells us that He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” Yet Matthew does something strange. He tells us what Jesus actually said in His mother tongue, Aramaic. Most people in first-century Palestine used Greek for commerce (like we do English throughout the world), and Hebrew for the synagogue and temple. But their native tongue spoken in homes and daily life was Aramaic (a form of Hebrew). It was probably the first language Jesus heard in the lullabies his momma sang to Him on their way back from Bethlehem to Nazareth.
Jesus was reduced to the basics of humanity by the cross. He is the Son of Man. And in his great pain, he cries out in his infant language to His father in heaven. But, at least for a moment, he doesn’t feel His dad’s embrace. He is forsaken. Is there a worse feeling? To have no one. To be rejected by your own people but now to even feel rejected by God. Maybe you have felt that. I think there are many people right around us who feel that in this cold world.
The suffering of the cross wasn’t the physical pain, it was the fact that indeed the son experienced what we deserve from God. Rejection. We push God away in so many ways. Jesus did not. He loved God and loved his neighbor yet received this deepest of punishments in our place.
He became our sin and was rejected so that we may not! No matter what you have done you should never think that God forsakes you. You can always cry out to God and He will hear you, embrace you, forgive you, and raise you up. Even when you find yourself in the deepest of pits, like the thief on the cross, or the hospital bed facing death.
Share this reality with someone you know who feels forsaken by others, let alone by God.