45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Dear God, there is a lot in this passage. I wonder why they brought up Elijah in verses 47& 49. What did he have to do with this? Was there a prophecy about Elijah saving someone.
There’s so much here, I almost feel like I need to bullet-point everything that happened:
- Jesus felt abandoned by you.
- Someone offered him a drink (though I’m not sure whether that was merciful or cruel since it was wine vinegar).
- There are the comments about Elijah and watching what happens next.
- Jesus gave up his spirit and died.
- The curtain of the temple split.
- There was an earthquake.
- Tombs opened and some of the deceased resurrected at the time and appeared to people after the resurrection (it’s unclear if they stuck around).
- The women watched.
I think the importance of this passage is simple—it is simply the most critical moment in the history of the earth. You abandoned your son for my sake, and in that moment there was separation in the Trinity. You let a piece of yourself die for me.
Father, I’ve never really thought about the fact that, since you, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one, a piece of you died that day. I’ve always separated it in my head somehow. But you did more than give up your son. You gave up yourself. Greater love has no one than this… I know that I take this for granted. I try not to, but I do. Perhaps that is my greatest sin of all.