The Ninth Hour Cry


. . .at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani?" (which means my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) —Mark 15:34

In Bible times, when people needed to emphasize something, they repeated the word that needed emphasis. Which is why Jesus often repeated words, truly, truly or verily, verily, when something he would say needed special emphasis.When a name was repeated twice, it carried with it a deep, intimate, and personal tie.

So when the Voice came from heaven while Abraham was ready to kill his son, Isaac, on the altar, the Voice repeated his name: Abraham, Abraham. That stopped Abraham while the knife was in the air. God stopped him from killing Isaac and a substitute sacrifice was provided.

When Moses was at the burning bush, the same Voice called out: Moses, Moses. That stopped Moses from coming any closer to the bush which burned, but did not burn up.

Samuel also heard his name called twice by the same Voice calling: Samuel, Samuel

When Jesus visited the home of Martha and gently chided her for her preoccupation with housework, he said: Martha, Martha. During the Last Supper, Jesus spoke to Peter and said: Simon, Simon.

Now on the cross in supreme agony, Jesus clung to the Father and cried: my God, my God. He longed for the intimacy he had known all his life, but was denied to him as he carried the sins of the world. Of the seven words from the cross, the first and the last began with the word, Father. But the closeness and intimacy were gone when he cried as from hell: my God, my God!

We will never know what he was going through when that cry pierced the air!

During the three hours of darkness, people were not allowed to look at the face that was marred beyond human recognition. It was mercifully veiled from human view. But this we know, he was abandoned so that we might be accepted. In abandonment he cried, "my God, my God" that in intimacy, we might know him as our Father. 

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