‘Why …?’

“My God, my God, why …?” Matthew 27:46


Of all the words Christ uttered from the cross, these were the most shocking. Why does the God of the universe ask “Why?” If anything should worry us, it would be this. If God doesn’t know what’s going on, where does that leave us?

Now of course the universe is not spinning out of control at this point; that is the beauty of the three-in-one nature of God. God the Father knew what was going on, but in that incredible moment in time, God the Son did not. It’s part of the wonder of this arrangement. Not only was Jesus paying for our sins, He was also identifying totally with our human state.

If anyone should have known what was going on at that moment, it would have been Jesus. It was what He came for — the focus of His life — the fulcrum of the history He came to create. It was what He headed straight for, and dreaded when He got there. He knew why. He talked about it throughout HIs ministry. “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). He spoke of Jonah as an example of being in the belly of the earth for three days; and He paired His own death and resurrection with destroying and rebuilding the temple in the same number of days.

So why would He cry out “Why?” when He knew why all along why? Because in that moment of actually going through the suffering and the death He Himself predicted, He was saying that He never knew it would be like this. And in that moment of extreme agony and separation, He was saying that the intellectual knowledge of why He came was not anywhere close to reaching the pain of His human existence.

There have been times in these last few days when Anne has grabbed my arm and looked in my face with a look I can only describe as “Why? Tell me what is going on! Can’t you do anything to make this pain go away?” And it is, indeed, a feeling of utter helplessness to not be able to give her an answer.

We can only assume that in the utter agony of what Christ must have experienced on the cross, He either forgot the answer, or the answer didn’t reach far enough to touch the reality of the pain. He knew it was coming; He never knew it would be like this. And not only the pain of our sin, but the pain of being left alone. For in that moment, God turned His back on His only Son, and Jesus cried out “Why have you forsaken me?”

If there is any comfort to be had here, it is in realizing that Jesus understands this now. When we cry, “Why?,” He knows what that is like. “Small comfort,” you say? Maybe not. Maybe it’s bigger than we think. Maybe it’s big enough to put an end to all this pain and misery once and for all. I imagine that we will be saying throughout an eternity free of all the pain and the suffering we are experiencing now, that it was, indeed, worth it.

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7 Responses to ‘Why …?’

  1. Alan says:

    I friend on mine thinks that Jesus is pointing to Ps 22 (telling about His death) when he said this not that He was really separated from God, because He is God and can not, not be God.

  2. Lisa in Sunland says:

    “He was saying that He never knew it would be like this.” That He was saying He never knew it would be like this, I tend to disagree. I haven’t researched it and am no Bible scholar, but seems like in the moments of feeling forsaken, He was so fully “us” that He only felt and knew that and didn’t even know His God-ness for the sacrifice to be complete. Not that he didn’t know beforehand or that the reality was so much bigger than He expected (since He knows everything), but just a moment in time of being THAT fully human. Now I do want to actually research this. Thanks for making us think and blessings on ya.

    • jwfisch says:

      I think what you are saying is very insightful and not at all in disagreement with what I have said. I see it as a fuller description of His separation from His Father and immersion in our humanity.

  3. When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know,
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

    It is well, (it is well),
    With my soul, (with my soul)
    It is well, it is well, with my soul.

    Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

    My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

    For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

    But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

    And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    A song in the night, oh my soul!

    ~ Horatio Spafford & Philip Bliss

    Sincere prayers for Peace and Comfort to Anne, her family and friends.


  4. Mark Seguin says:

    Much thx bobnearseattle 4 quoting that song “It Is Well With My Soul” That’s a GREAT song and very much loved by me – I have not thought about it, not sang it 4 years!
    PS I once heard it was written after a missionary while waiting for his family to be re-untied from a trip overseas and he got the News that all of his family were loss at sea from the ship was sunk. Still praying for Anne… 🙂

    • My honor, sir.
      And, you are correct about the hymn’s author, Horatio Spafford.
      Several tragedies struck him and his family in the late-1800’s: The Great Chicago Fire, personal financial ruin, the loss of 4 daughters at sea and, later on, a son from scarlet fever.
      His church, for some reason, regarded the Spafford’s tragedies as divine punishment (for what, I have no idea).
      So, Spafford and the remainder of his family moved to Jerusalem (at around the time of World War One) and established a ministry – called the American Colony – that served the needs and gained the trust of that entire community: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, etc., through soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures.

      In my humble opinion, it’s a story that should not be lost or forgotten – especially in these rancorous days both with-in and beyond the present-day church …

      Shalom,to you, my friend… 🙂

  5. Mark Seguin says:

    Shalom to you broither bobnearseattle and another thx 4 more of the Mr. Horatio Spafford story. Deeply appreciate it & you.

    Sad to ‘say’ it seems some of the Churches and its body of believers seemingly haven’t changed all; that much since the 1800’s until now – in their seemly self-righteousness. As you wrote: “His church, for some reason, regarded the Spafford’s tragedies as divine punishment”

    It’s a great song and I’m often ‘moved’ by it and look forward to giving bother Horatio Spafford a big of thx 4 it someday in Heaven… 🙂

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