This afternoon I spent some time listening to Christmas music and wrapping Christmas gifts, and this year there were many.
As I did this almost mindless work, my mind wandered to the journey I have undertaken in my Christian walk. It has been a long, arduous journey, but I can envision the joy and fruit it has brought to my life. But what have I ever really done for Christ? Gifts from Christ keep coming, with every breath I take. How can I ever repay the treasure I so lovingly enjoy in my daily life?
I thought about the cross. For too many years I aligned myself with a traditional religion that can hardly wait to get Jesus Christ nailed up on the cross and experience death. I sadly admit that at one time I relished the thought of the death of my Savior.
But no more. We read in Matthew where, on the cross Jesus cries out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” The English translation of this quote is said to be, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? “
Well, in the first place, the author of Matthew goes on to say that the people in earshot of Jesus thought that the phrase meant that He was calling out to Elijah. I can only think of one other instance in the New Testament where translators use a foreign tongue to make a point, and that is where we are to call out to Abba, God, as our Father. The use by the translators of “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” Seems a little “fishy.”
Even if the phrase is translated, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” who is the word “you” relating to, God, or the people of the Earth who would put God’s Son to death?
Forsake? The God I have come to know in my long journey does not forsake anyone, let alone His only true Son, Jesus. We read in Deuteronomy 31:6, when Moses is speaking to those entrusted to do God’s work, and again in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” Wouldn’t God’s only Son be included in this promise? Or is the God taught in so many of our brick and mortar churches a hypocrite? I don’t think so.
Today, as I wrapped gifts and thought about Christ, I pledged to be kind to Jesus. Let’s not be quick to nail him to the cross! Let us enjoy the sacrifice Jesus made by coming to Earth to heal us and teach us of our home with God. My gift is that I am finally satisfied knowing that God loves His people enough not to leave or forsake us. Have faith!