Over the past few months I've been reading sermons from George MacDonald's "Unspoken Sermons". Like CS Lewis, he is one of the few people who act upon their spiritual liberty, dreaming up new ways to tell old stories, to wake my slumbering heart. Here he expounds upon the exclamation of Christ on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Trembling in humility to ask what might have been going on in Jesus' head at that moment:
"And now, after three years of divine action, when his course is run, when the old age of finished work is come, when the whole frame is tortured until the regnant brain falls whirling down the blue gulf of fainting, and the giving up of the ghost is at hand, when the friends have forsaken him and fled, comes the voice of the enemy again at his ear: "Despair and die, for God is not with thee. All is in vain. Death, not Life, is thy refuge. Make haste to Hades, where thy torture will be over. Thou hast deceived thyself. He never was with thee. He was the God of Abraham. Abraham is dead. Whom makest thou thyself?" "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" the Master cries. For God was his God still, although he had forsaken him—forsaken his vision that his faith might glow out triumphant; forsaken himself? no; come nearer to him than ever; come nearer, even as—but with a yet deeper, more awful pregnancy of import—even as the Lord himself withdrew from the bodily eyes of his friends, that he might dwell in their profoundest being....This is the Faith of the Son of God. God withdrew, as it were, that the perfect Will of the Son might arise and go forth to find the Will of the Father. Is it possible that even then he thought of the lost sheep who could not believe that God was their Father; and for them, too, in all their loss and blindness and unlove, cried, saying the word they might say, knowing for them that God means Father and more, and knowing now, as he had never known till now, what a fearful thing it is to be without God and without hope? I dare not answer the question I put."
Most Christians have been told at some point in their lives that Jesus was thinking of them on the cross. But what beautiful new imagery of Jesus Christ, our intercessor, the One who goes before us, uttering what we cannot utter to the Father. What magnificent empathy, completely unfathomable to us, that He must have felt for His children who did not then and still do not respond to the love He so freely offers. I'm blown away. Completely ruined. My heart will never know a Lover as sweet as Jesus.
As we prepare for Good Friday and then Easter, let your heart feast upon the love of Christ. Who in the darkest moment of the universe was faithful, crying out even without sight or feeling that God was still His. Who rent the curtain of the tabernacle making a way for us to march boldly inside and dwell with our Maker. Who not only thought of us in those last moments but spoke on behalf of us. He truly is a friend of sinners.