Jesus wasn’t losing his faith; he was losing his life, and talking to his Father about it.
The final words of the crucified king in Matthew are these: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? What did he mean?
Is this the dark night of the soul, the road ending in utter despair, all his hopes dying with him? Or should we ignore his emotion and seek a theological reason, like Jesus took on the sin of the world so his Father couldn’t stand him and rejected him? Was the trinity falling apart if Father and Son split up? Did Jesus lose his faith in the end? People raise all kinds of questions to try to make sense of Jesus’ cry of dereliction. Few of those ideas are supported by the context.
These words are not unique to Jesus. He was repeating the words of others who felt abandoned too. These are the opening words of Psalm 22. If you’ve ever found comfort in the words of the Psalms as you faced abusive treatment, you’ll understand what Jesus was doing.
That’s the irony. He feels abandoned, forsaken, cast aside by God. But he’s not alone with that feeling. It’s how the people of God have felt for centuries. It’s the unresolved story of his people, the anguish of their history and songs.
Continue reading “Jesus’ dying question: Why have you abandoned me? (Matthew 27:45–51)”
How did Jesus handle the rejection he faced?
My feelings affect what I hear from others. When we feel guilt, we hear condemnation. Even from Jesus.
“You will all desert me” is the New Living Translation of Matthew 26:31. It sounds like committing apostasy, and it has been heard that way since the second century.
But desert is an active word, and Jesus used the passive voice. He didn’t say they would fall away from the faith; he said they would be felled by the events of that night.
Jesus wasn’t blaming them. He was blaming God:
Continue reading “Unjustly struck down (Matthew 26:31-35)”
If you’ve known rejection, you’ll appreciate this.
If you’ve felt abandoned, discarded by family and friends, you may understand this:
Mark 15 34 At three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachdthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
What was Jesus saying? Continue reading “Why have you forsaken me?”
How does Jesus receive the kingship if people don’t give it to him?
Open Matthew 13:53-58.
Jesus taught like an artist. His word pictures lift us above the human conflicts to a plateau where we can see what the earth was meant to be — a place of peace, responsive to heaven’s government.
This is future, yet it’s already here in the present. Jesus has re-sowed God’s world, and some seeds are heading toward harvest. Sure, there are weeds in God’s field, but there’s wheat as well. The mustard seed is growing. The leaven is permeating the dough. People trade other dreams for God’s reign. The net is in the water, and God will sort the good from the bad.
God’s reign is here. Only the good that God intended will last.
Jesus’ kingdom vision was inspiring, but was it credible? Compared to Herod or Caesar, what kind of king was Jesus of Nazareth?
Continue reading “How does Jesus become king? (Matthew 13:53-58)”