I was given the honor of reading chapter 15 from the gospel of Mark at the Good Friday service for our church tonight. In preparing to read the narrative of Jesus’ crucifixion, there is a phrase written in Arabic for which I needed to research the pronunciation so I could articulate it properly.
“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”
After finding the proper pronunciation, I kept repeating the phrase in my head, over and over to learn it well enough so it might naturally roll off my tongue. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Even after I felt like I had gained a grasp of the pronunciation, the phrase kept repeating in my head. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Upon concluding my reading of the passage at our church and sitting back down in the congregation, the phrase conintued to run through my mind. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?
Translated, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is the cry of Jesus as his own Father allowed him to die.
Sitting in our service, as these Aarabic words continued to ring in my ears, tears suddenly sprung from my eyes as I imagined Judson in his dying hours after all his suffering, crying out to me, “Mama, mama, why have you abandoned me?” Simply the thought of such was a burden that threatened to crush me.
It must have crushed God too.
Jesus, God’s beloved Son, was calling out to his Father. And the Lord, out of his grace and love for us, endured the cries of his son for the sake of redemption, the redemption of my soul.
An unfathomable sacrifice.