Hi everyone. Rob here.
This weekend one of our church families suffered a tragic loss. The grief is, and remains, very raw. Their experience, and the experience that too many of us have had, took me to the words of Jesus on the cross from Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Jesus came as the Son of Man, the new Adam, the firstfruits of a new humanity. He shares with us his authority and his life; his union with the Father and the Spirit.
He also shares our God-forsakenness.
You now those moments don’t you? Those moments where in the midst of what feels like unbearable pain God seems noticeably absent. Those moments where it feels like he has deliberately turned his back on you. Jesus experienced a moment like that. Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, experienced the deepest pain that we experience – the feeling of being abandoned by God.
Because he loves us.
In our moments of suffering and pain it’s very hard to trust someone who hasn’t been through it, who doesn’t know it, who doesn’t get it. Jesus gets it. Jesus knows it because Jesus went through it. All of it. He asked that his burden be taken away from him. He sweated blood. He collapsed in his weakness. He felt abandonment. He knows intimately the human experience of pain, grief and loss.
And after that, he died, crying out “It is finished.”
He took all the pain, brokenness, loneliness and grief upon himself and declared it done. It’s at the cross where all the sin, and hurt and ugliness of this world belongs. It is where death dies, where Satan’s lies and accusations die and where all the evil done to us, by us, around us and in us dies too.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15).
Because the forces of evil were disarmed it means that death no longer has the final say. That honour now belongs to resurrection, to life, to restoration, renewal, re-creation. A new humanity and a new world where God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (Revelation 7:17).
But before that glorious reality lies a cross. There lies an enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. There lies human sin and a broken world. There lies the reality that we will suffer still. There lies Jesus – with us, in us, for us. Jesus who knows our pain will give us the strength to bear our pain and even, overcome our pain. At times the kingdom’s glory will shine brightly and, at other times, dimly. At times Satan will think he has won, but that only happens if we give up. His demise is inevitable and we reveal it every time we rise again with Jesus, even after we have died with him as well.
Jesus shows us that we are not abandoned or forsaken. We are loved in our fragile humanity by the most beautiful human who ever lived. Even in our tears.
Grace and peace everyone.