Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why Have You Forsaken Me?: 7 Last Words on Life (4)

Listen online or download Sunday messages, and here!
Mark 15.22-41 (also Matthew 27.33-56), Psalm 22, Joshua 1.1-9

Last Words - for life
1. Father, forgive
2. Today in Paradise
3. Your son, your mother
4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

The only word presented by Mark and Matthew
3 each, no overlap, in Lk/Jn
center of the death story

Mark - "historic present" (Vincent Taylor, 588)

The crucifixion account
forsaken by ... - but no complaint
family (Mother Mary a no show in Mt/Mk; aunt (?) Salome there)
even the light of the sun
only women present, at a distance
instead: "my God, my God ..."

slandered by ... - but no complaint
soldiers (prior passage)
general public
religious leaders
instead: "my God, my God ..."

Crucifixion design:
for total humiliation, exposed naked
and lengthy death (even several days)
"Alexamenos worships his god" (crucified person w/head of a donkey)
(Bruner citing Luz)
Jesus: "my God, my God ..."

"Calling Elijah" - one final misunderstanding
Eloi, Eli (Aramaic/Hebrew, Mk/Mt)
Elijah, like St Christopher (Bruner)
Actually quoting Psalm 22.1, using a "psalm of lament"

Struggle in Christian tradition to understand these words
Luke and John do not include this word, though Mark is 1st written
Western Fathers, Augustine, Ambrose – the human side of Jesus
Jesus forsaken? Surely not in an absolute sense?
Moltmann: Jesus uniquely WITH God, now God uniquely ABSENT
Psalm 22 – concludes on a "more positive" note
but could have chosen "The LORD is my shepherd" instead!

Implications for life, particularly for pain

Why – the toughest question word, and most important
(Bruner; Simon Sinek, "Golden Circle", TED talk)
Jesus asks why
Jesus asks a question – last word of his life

Forsaken –
Absence of God
Pain rooted in human sin
Absence shapes
Jesus prays to the one who is absent

Me –
Intensely personal (Mt emphasizes, Bruner)

Resources:Vincent Taylor, Mark
Bruner, Matthew (2nd volume, The Churchbook)
Ancient Christian Commentary on the Scriptures, Mark
(Augustine, Ambrose)

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