In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ crucifixion and death occur in stages of mockery and humiliation. The story is propelled by those who scorn — the soldiers, the chief priests and scribes, and even those who pass by. Jesus is spat on, stripped of His clothing, and mockingly forced to wear a purple robe with a crown of thorns. Throughout, He silently receives His undue punishment.
It’s not until Jesus nears death that Mark slows the narrative:
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which is translated, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)” (Mark 15:34).
These words have been spoken before, and this pain and humiliation has previously been told. In Psalm 22, the psalmist cries out to God in the midst of being mocked and scorned by his enemies. The song of lament relates the bitter anguish the psalmist experiences at the hands of enemies.
“He trusts Yahweh,”
the psalmist’s enemies jeer,
“Let him deliver him because he delights in him” (Psa 22:8).
The psalm doesn’t end here, though. It ends with the psalmist proclaiming God’s deliverance to all the nations and to future generations:
“Descendants will serve him. Regarding the Lord, it will be told to the next generation. They will come and tell his saving deeds to a people yet to be born, that he has done it” (Psa 22:30–31).
Jesus’ words reveal Him to be the ultimate sufferer. It wasn’t until His death that He was acknowledged for who He was. The Roman centurion proclaims it:
“Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39).
The Servant who obediently came to die has delivered us. He has done it.
In what ways do you feel forsaken by God? What difference does it make to know that Jesus also cried out in His godforsakenness?
Rebecca Van Noord
This article was originally posted in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.