Abandonment is one of the most powerful feelings – it can begin early in our lives and continue to haunt us literally until our death. Huge spiritual issues arise from feelings of abandonment – Am I worthy? Am I loved?
Jesus is not only mocked and bullied in this passage, he is tortured and sentenced to a slow death of suffocation through crucifixion, a criminal’s punishment. In Matthew 27:46 is one of the most compelling, human questions: “Eli Eli lama sabachtani?” In a loud voice Jesus cries out to God using a child’s version of the Hebrew “why?” Why have you abandoned me? The question churns the pit of the stomach for the reader translating the verse. The referenced Psalm 22:1 states, “Why are you so far from helping me from the words of my groaning?”
The depth of Jesus’ sorrow, abandonment and brokenness are universal spiritual elements of the emotions of all of humankind. Grief, bereavement, fear and sorrow are uncomfortable feelings which leave us in our most vulnerable, darkened state. Yet, we are people of the resurrection. This is where our hope lies. The sacrifice has already been made for us. Whom, then, do we now serve – a God of mercy and resurrection, or a God of suffering and sacrifice?