This is the word of Jesus who shouted on the cross right before he died and the word King David wrote about a thousand years before Jesus was born (Psalm 22).
Yesterday was Good Friday. The reason why we call it “good” was because he took away our Sin (the sin which separated us from God, which was the obstacle between God and us) by dying on the cross.
I wondered why Jesus, Son of God, had shouted such a quote of David each time when I heard it, but after I have known the desperation, fear, agony, or sadness from my own and other people’s cancer experiences, now I finally thought I understood why.
Jesus who enticed huge crowds by healing the sick, reviving the dead, teaching about God’s kingdom, and the good news of salvation, was accused of blasphemy by proclaiming himself as the Son of God by religious jealous leaders, and was arrested and next day crucified.
Jesus knew his destiny. Though he was the Son of God, because he was born as a son of a man, he experienced every temptation, horror, pains, sorrow, and agony humans go through. Being horrified by what was going to happen, he gave three long pleading prayers at the garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested.
Bowing with his face to the ground, dropping sweat like blood, being in overwhelming agony and sorrow, Jesus prayed.
“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.” (Matthew 26:39)
The horror he felt was like what cancer patients or anyone who faces death experience feel, or probably much worse than that.
Nevertheless, he finished his prayers saying, “ not my will, but Thy will be done.”
The creator of the universe is not like a magic lamp, which grants any wishes. The creator, our God, had a plan to save all humans from Sin – abandoning God and going our own ways, which deserves eternal death. He gave this grave mission to Jesus and Jesus obediently accepted it in spite of his deep horror.
The Weight of The Cross
Jesus died for us to reconcile with God by taking all our sins on him to the cross, shedding blood and tears.
As I have learned the suffering of organ transplant families who were waiting for a long time for their donors, facing death which comes after them closer and closer, and their joy as they received the new hearts, as well as another suffering and agony of the donor families, I realized Jesus is the ultimate donor for me.
For three years since I got cancer, many times I have prayed; “ God, where are you? Please answer my prayer quickly! Please rescue me! Please protect me!” but, Jesus shouted David’s psalm because he was in exclusive throes of agony and sorrows which we can never imagine.
As I noticed that his dreadful affliction was actually what I would’ve had to pay, tears flew down my cheeks. Being touched by such an intense love, the profound sensation penetrated me to the core.
It was about three o’ clock in the afternoon when Jesus drew the last breath, but the sky was already dark. As all of sudden the ground was rocked violently at the moment of Jesus death, the curtain which divided the holy of holies – the worship room where only the priests were allowed to go in – from other rooms was torn in two from the top to the bottom. In other words, our sins were forgiven and there was no more obstacle between God and us.
The Power of The Resurrection
Then, on the third day, Jesus resurrected. It was the day of the victory overcoming death! Not because of our good acts, but because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can now enter into His Kingdom. The prophecy of the coming Messiah in the old testament was fulfilled.
The invitation was given to everyone, and now it matters for us if we receive it or not. For the ones who receive this invitation, death is not the end of the story any more.
In this holy week of Easter, reflecting this amazing love and hope, I have wished I would never forget this stunning grace, and could follow Him forever.