It gets personal on the Cross :: Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?


Jesus’ fourth saying from the Cross, as he lived up to His Name, which was to save His people from their sins, was a question directed, not to any man but, to God. It is the only question in the seven sayings of Christ from the Cross and it was Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being translated, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:33-34; Matthew 27:46)

In the past, from both the pulpit as well as in articles (posts), servants of God, including I, have exposited on the plausible reasons as to the reason for Jesus questioning God as to why he had been forsaken. While we may never fully comprehend the extent to Jesus’ cry to God, we can see that in this saying, Jesus used the first person personal pronoun, ‘my’ in his address of his Father as God – not once, but twice. The word ‘my’ implies possession. When Jesus addressed God as ‘My God, My God’, he was making a personal address.

Points to ponder:
It gets personal on the Cross. In like manner, today, God is seeking you and me to have a personal Father-child relationship and to all who receive Jesus and who believe in his name, he has given them the power to be called the children of God (John 1:12). If you are yet to accept Jesus as your Savior, Lord and King, come to the Cross and make it personal today. It got personal on the Cross, the day they crucified Jesus. Today, get personal with God so that you can address God as “My” God, “My” God.

Mark 15:34 (KJV)
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?


Jesus’ fourth saying from the Cross was a question, a question addressed to God (his Father), wherein, he cried with a loud voice saying “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Notice, how Jesus, who addressed God as Father, when he asked him to forgive his murderers and who addressed God as Father, when he commended his Spirit into his Father’s hand, is now addressing God as God and not Father, implying that his sonship was severed due to the sin that he had become (2 Corinthians 5:21), for God the Holy Father could have nothing to do with sin, just as light can have no communion with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).

The question posed was “Why?”
The answer is “Love” and the object of that Love is “You and me”.

Why did God the Father forsake Jesus?
God so loved the world (you and me) that he forsook his only begotten Son, so that we would not have to cry out “Why have you forsaken me?” Instead, Jesus, the Only begotten Son of God cried out, being God forsaken, so that we who are deserve to be God forsaken because of our sinfulness, can be called the sons and daughters of God.

Points to ponder: 
God’s “Love” for you and me is so great that he demonstrated his love for us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), being forsaken by God. Behold, what manner of “Love” the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1) because his very own Son, Jesus Christ, had been forsaken and could not address him as Abba, Father.

Matthew 27:45-47 (KJV)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

Love and Marriage


On the 12th day of May, in the year of the Lord 2014, my beloved wife, Sangeetha and I, celebrated thirteen years of a married life and as I reminisced about the evidence of God’s invisible hands in our lives, my heart was filled with a sense of awe and love for God the Father, Christ Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit God.

Even though many a times, I have sought after my selfish desires, Sangeetha’s love has been a constant, for she emulates the love of God, not just in speech but in action and I am still learning, one step at a time, to love as the Triune God in One loved.

For behold what manner of love, God the Father, has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God (1 John 3:1). I am learning that my love in my marriage should be an “adopting” love.
Christ Jesus, God’s Only begotten Son, has demonstrated his love toward us, for while we were still sinners, he died for us (Romans 5:8). I am learning that my love in my marriage should be a “sacrificial” love.
The Holy Spirit is of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7), and the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, the greatest in relation to faith and hope (Galatians 5:22; 1 Corinthians 13:13). I am learning that my love in my marriage should be a “productive” love.

Points to ponder:
Love is the glue that binds a marriage together and so without love, there is no marriage! We are asked to love, for love covers (forgives) a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Additionally, we are asked to love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8); and knowing God is eternal life (John 17:3).
Jesus Christ is our bridegroom and one day the marriage of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) will come and his wife (we , the Church, who believe in him and who walk according to his will and way, after the Holy Spirit) will have made herself ready – by loving God first, and loving others next.
What are some of the attributes you would use to describe your love for God and for men?

Prayer:
Lord God, I pray, that I would love, as you first loved us – with an adopting, sacrificial and productive love, so that I may know you, and in knowing you, been born into your kingdom and have eternal life. Lord, help me to make myself ready for you. Lord, help me to love.

1 John 4:7-21 (KJV)
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

A sacrificial (loving) Father; A heart transplant


We all celebrated Father’s day 2012 on June 17, 2012 and I spent the day with my family. When our beloved  firstborn son, Reuben (now 6 years old), was brushing his teeth, I was talking to him about some good “Father’s day” movies, calling out “The Lion King”, “Finding Nemo” and “John Q”. Since he had not watched the movie, John Q, I told him the synopsis of the movie, which goes on something like this. A father (played by Denzel Washington) who dearly loves his son (who is in need of a heart transplant) is planning and willing to sacrifice himself so that his son could have his heart.

As I pondered on the depth of this father’s love for his son, in this heart-warming movie, I quickly realized that even greater love had God the Father for each of us, his children. We all needed a heart transplant – so that our hearts of stone (rebellion against God, reviling in sin) could be replaced with a heart of flesh (one that loves God wholeheartedly) (Ezekiel 36:26). God the Father, loved us so much that he not only planned our salvation (1 Peter 1:20) and was willing (1 Timothy 2:3-4), but he actually had his heart broken forsaking his Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, (Matthew 27:46) to be the acceptable sacrifice for us (Hebrews 10:1-18)

Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon each one of us – that we should be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1). And the lyrics of the song “How deep the Father’s love for us” by Stuart Townend beautifully expresses this –

How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss, The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me lifeI know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything, No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus ChristHis death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?  I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom

Points to ponder:
Have you had your heart transplant?

Ezekiel 36:26-27 (KJV)
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Timeline with God


Before I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior, what I was then (past) by nature is a child of wrath, fulfilling the desires and lust of my flesh (Ephesians 2:3).
After I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior, what I am now (present), is a child of God (Romans 8:14-16)
And if I am a child now, then later (future), I shall be an heir; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus (Romans 8:17)

Behold what manner of love the father (God) has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1)

Points to ponder:
Where are you in your timeline with God?
Are you still in the past as a child of wrath or in the present as a child of God looking forward to the future with him?

Ephesians 2:3 (KJV)
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Romans 8:14-16 (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:17 (KJV)
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

High to Low so Low to High


In a world where one aspires to reach the highest echelons, the following one liner is a sobering reminder of where our position is and where it ought to have been.
The God Most High (Psalm 83:18) became God most low (Philippains 2:7) so that man most low (made from dust; Genesis 3:19) can become man most high (as heirs with Christ Jesus; Romans 8:17)

Why? Love; God’s love. Behold what manner of love the Father (God) has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God (1 John 3:1). Think about it.

Psalm 83:18 (KJV)
18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

Philippians 2:7 (KJV)
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Genesis 3:19 (KJV)
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Romans 8:14-17 (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

The Vital Stream of Love


Theologian and medical Missionary, Albert Schweitzer, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his Philosophy of  the “Reverence of Life” writes the following about the Love of God. “There is ocean – cold water without motion. In this ocean, however, is the Gulf Stream, hot water flowing from the equator toward the Pole. Inquire of all scientists how it is physically imaginable that a stream of hot water flows between the waters of the ocean, which so to speak, form its banks, the moving within the motionless, the hot within the cold. No scientist can explain it. Similarly, there is the God of love within the gods of the forces of the universe, so totally different. We let ourselves be seized and carried away by that vital stream”.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; that we should be seized and carried by Him and His love.

Points to ponder:
Are you carried by the vital stream of the Love of God? The love of God is expressed in (demonstrated by) Jesus Christ, for while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Do you believe in Jesus, The Vital Stream of Love!

1 John 3:1 (KJV)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: 

Romans 5:8 (NLT)
8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?


The fourth saying of Jesus as He hung on the Cross, living up to His Name, which was to save His people from their sins was a question directed not to any man, but to God. It is the only question in the seven sayings of Christ from the Cross and it was Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being translated, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:33-34; Matthew 27:46)

Even in dying, Jesus did not forget the scripture and was quoting from Psalm 22:1. But it is important to recognize that the answer is not specified explicitly. I wonder why?  We can only seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to try and understand the extent of meaning and implication of this saying.

Notice how in this saying, Jesus did not address God the Father as Father as he did in the first and last saying, but as God. What could be the reason for this? One explanation is that the father and son relationship, Jesus had with God the Father, had been broken when the sinless became sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), because God the Father is Holy and can have nothing to do with sin. What communion can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14). Another explanation that is scriptural as well is that Jesus in His obedience to God made himself of no reputation, for He considered it robbery to be made equal with God (even though He was), humbling Himself as a servant (not Son) and addressed God the Father as My God. (Philippians 2). Jesus, the first born of all creation, experiences what it means to be an orphan as His Father was God.

Lama Sabachthani when translated means ‘Why hast thou forsaken me?’ Without the answer given to us explicitly in the scripture, we can pray for wisdom and search the scripture to understand this question and apply what we learn to be faithful servants of God as Jesus was. Besides the word, ‘forsaken’, the other words that can be used to acceptably signify the meaning of the word ‘sabachthani’ are ‘abandon’ or ‘deserted’.

Human acts such as the loss of a parent, betrayal by a friend or loved one  or a divorce from a spouse causes the sense of being deserted, abandoned,  or forsaken. God had to divorce his Only begotten Son so as to save the wedding of the people of God, the church with the Lamb (Revelation 19). God hates divorce is what the scripture says, and that means, God’s love for us was so great, that He willingly forsook (deserted) his Son, Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. Enough Said. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us (1 John 3:1).

The closest answer of this question, I can find is from Galatians 3:13-14. God had to forsake God because God could not forsake man. Nicole Nordeman’s beautiful song ‘Why’ attempts to answer this question Jesus had for God which was ‘Why did you forsake me?’ and states that God’s answer to Jesus was ‘you and I’ are the ‘Why’. God had to stay true to the covenant he had made with a friend of his, a man by the name Abraham. Because Abraham had obeyed God, God has made a covenant to bless Abraham and his seed/children (Genesis 22:16-18).

God made God to become sin, because he wanted to make us righteous
God make God a curse, because of his word/covenant to bless us
God forsook God because he could not forsake us, He could not deny himself and what he had covenanted (2 Timothy 2:13)

Mark 15:34 (KJV)
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Galatians 3:13 -14 (KJV)
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

La vita è bella


There are some movies that leave an indelible impression in one’s life and I must admit that La vita è bella (translated Life is Beautiful) more than foots the bill in mine. An unforgettable fable that proves love, family and imagination conquer all is the story of la vita è bella. Guido, a Jewish man who loves his wife dearly, gifted with an incredible sense of humor has to use that same quality to protect his son, Giosué Orefice in a Nazi death camp. Words can’t express the extent of the love the father had for his son and the very thought of this movie wrenches my heart and makes my eyes well up with tears. It reminds me as to what life is all about and that life indeed is beautiful. If you have not watched this movie, I reckon you do, but be forewarned that if you are any bit emotional, by the end of the movie, your emotions would have gone through a roller coaster, with etching effects, as did mine.

The movie begins with the son Giosué Orefice narrating as an adult the following –
This is a simple story… but not an easy one to tell.
This is my story. This is the sacrifice my father made. This was his gift to me.

As I wondered on what I can learn from this movie to apply in our Christian walk, it soon dawned on me that we too have a story to tell. Each of us can indeed say “This is a simple story… but not an easy one to tell. This is my story. This is the sacrifice my father made. This was his gift to me.”

This is a simple story….
A Holy God created man. Man disobeys God and gets separated from God. God demands a sacrifice without blemish. Man cannot provide that offering. God comes to be with man in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. Man rejects Jesus. Jesus the one without sin is sacrificed by crucifixion on a Cross on Calvary. The Cross becomes the bridge for man to reach God. God raises Jesus from the dead. Sin and death are vanquished with the resurrection of Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus will be restored into relationship with God and until Jesus returns to reign as King, God has poured out His Spirit, the Spirit of His Son, into the hearts of men and women so that they are separated not from him, but for Him from the world and its disobedience against God. The Bible says that there is simplicity in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

but not an easy one to tell
The aforementioned story of a good Shepherd seeking the lost sheep; a Father eagerly awaiting the return of the prodigal child; a Savior seeking sinners (you and me) and transforming them into saint, the story of the Cross is not an easy one, because it convicts the hearer of sin, commands the hearer to surrender and challenges the hearer to sacrifice and we who like to be in control of our lives and everything around us find it always a challenge to say, nevertheless not my will, Lord, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).

This is my story.
A sinner who met the Savior Jesus, who with His amazing grace adopted me to be His son. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15)

This is the sacrifice my father made.
God the Father sacrificed His own Son, forsaking Him so that we shall not be forsaken. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1). For God (the Father) so loved that world that He gave His Only begotten Son (Jesus Christ) that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

This was his gift to me.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

La vita è bella. Life is beautiful.