Matthew 27:46 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/abandoned Me?
9 Powerful Words! Only 4 in Jesus’ Aramaic language… “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” Why? Why these words? Every word is filled with depth of emotion from Jesus and depth of meaning for us. In Jesus’ cry from the cross we see . . .
The Priority of Supplication
The first thing to observe in these nine words is that this is a prayer. Jesus is praying when He is arrested. You remember that prayer. “My father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Then He prays, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42) Then, Matthew simply says that Jesus prayed a third time, saying the same thing. (Matthew 26:44) Then, they come for Him.
What do we do in the darkest times of our lives? Where do we turn for strength? We follow Jesus’ example. We turn to the Father. And a peace comes over us.
Luke recorded this word from the cross, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” (Luke 23:46) John recorded, “It is finished.” And then, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)
Do you see the principle? Though Jesus was in agony, He was at peace. Prayer can do the same in our lives.
The Power of Scripture
The next thing to notice in these nine words is the power of Scripture. Jesus is praying to be sure, but He is also quoting Scripture. The Scripture that He is quoting is Psalm 22.
In Jesus, we have a wonderful example of the power and importance of Scripture in the most demanding moments of life. The most familiar example of this is in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as He is tempted in the wilderness. Three times Jesus quoted the Old Testament Scripture as He faced the temptation of Satan. Though Psalm 22 starts off as a prayer of suffering, the conclusion of the Psalm is that this is a Psalm of praise. Might Jesus be doing the same here?
What are we to do in life’s most despairing moments? We follow the example of Jesus. We turn to the Father in prayer. We turn to His Word. We find in both that a peace washes over us.
Source: Bruce Peterson