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?”).Mark 15:33,34
While the faithful slept, the authorities seized Jesus, tried and sentenced him. The adoring crowds that shouted “Hosanna” on Monday were in their beds early this morning when the angry crowd of Roman sympathizers and Sadducean priests and elders shouted, “Crucify him!” Under the cover of darkness, they put an end to the rabbi who had denounced their corruption.
But now the sun is rising and the faithful fill the streets on their way to the first Temple service of the day. Rumors of Jesus’ arrest are spreading through the crowd and then they’re confirmed – Jesus, badly beaten, stumbles under the weight of the wood. The happy parade to the Temple becomes a mournful procession to Golgotha.
In the Temple, priests offer the first of two daily sacrifices. They spill the blood of the spotless lamb over the altar. Nails are driven through the criminals on the hill. Smoke rises from the Temple. Jesus is raised between heaven and earth.
Hours pass. Soldiers hurl insults and cast lots, the sun goes out, women weep, and disciples tremble at a distance.
It’s almost time for the day’s second Temple sacrifice when Jesus cries out, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
Even now, our Rabbi is teaching us. He’s giving us a final remez, a small portion of scripture hinting at a larger portion where his full meaning can be discovered. His words fall to us and we follow them like breadcrumbs to Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!
Smoke rises from the Temple as Jesus echos the last lyrics of David’s song. “It is finished.”