Insight on Christ’s Last Words

I take absolutely zero credit for the following, I just wanted to share because I find it to be such a delightful insight into our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – concerning the last words he spoke before dying on the cross for our sins. The credit, as far as I understand, goes to a brother-in-Christ, Robert Gipson.

“When Yeshua was dying on the Cross, he uttered, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” meaning, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

There have been varying interpretations as why Yeshua said this. Some have argued he said it because at that moment – on the Cross – he genuinely felt (or suddenly realized) that God had abandoned him – and therefore God must indeed have abandoned him….and therefor Yeshua must NOT have been the Messiah. This interpretation has been presented by some non-believing Jews, and also by some atheists.

It’s really hard to blame them for this interpretation, since this utterance by Yeshua – on it’s face – certainly doesn’t seem to support him being the Messiah. On it’s face, it casts doubt on Yeshua being Messiah.

Possibly for that reason, some in the early Christian church developed a rationalization (an apologia) for why Yeshua uttered those particular words: They argued that yes – God actually did abandon him at that moment – but He did so because at that very moment, Christ took on all the sins of the world; all sin in the world was suddenly absorbed by, and concentrated in, one man.

And, so the argument goes, this was unbearable for God to look down upon – so God abandoned Yeshua at that moment; as if this momentary abandonment was a necessary part of God’s plan. Modern Christian denominations, from Roman Catholics to Baptists, still teach this explanation.

But there is another explanation.

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” is the opening verse of Psalm 22.

Please read Psalm 22 in its entirety Written circa 1,000 B.C., it prophecies the Crucifixion in eerie detail. “They pierce my hands and my feet” “They cast lots for my garment.” “I am encompassed by dogs”. In Biblical times, “dogs” was a term that Jews used for pagans (e.g. Romans).

Now think for a moment.

Who were the audience that came to watch Christ die, and who heard him utter those fateful words?

They were the scribes and Pharisees, the elders of the temple – the very Jews who wanted him dead, and who came to watch Him die. These were “pious” men who knew the scriptures. As our Lord slowly died on the Cross, the prophecies of Psalm 22 (“they cast lots for my garment,” etc.) were being fulfilled before the very eyes of onlookers, but they didn’t realized it; they “had eyes but did not see”.

Christ had to awaken the onlookers. How could he do this? Well, he certainly couldn’t say much, as he was dying of asphyxiation. He couldn’t say, for example, “Behold! They cast lots for my garments. Behold! They pierce my hands and my feet! (etc…) Behold! The prophecies of Psalm 22 are being fulfilled before your very eyes!” No, he couldn’t say anything like that.

Instead, he just recited the opening verse of Psalm 22. The greater significance of this is that in those days, the Psalms were not numbered (numbering came much later). At Christ’s time, when Jews read various Psalms in the synagogue, each Psalm was known by its opening verse.

So, when Yeshua cried out, “Eli, Eli lama sabachthani,” it was the equivalent of crying out “Psalm 22!”

Then, and only then, would those learned men make the mental connection between the things that were written in the Psalm – and the things that were unfolding before their very eyes. Christ uttered those words to awaken and convict them. Even as he was dying, he was still teaching.”

Why Christians Should Stop Worrying About Coronavirus

A few weeks ago, there was a large snowstorm threatening some of the midwest…including Wisconsin. We were told we were going to get around sixteen inches of snow. My father-in-law filled up his snow plow, got extra salt, and salted the driveway in preparation for a wicked ice and snow combo. My grandmother was stressing out about being stuck indoors. I was annoyed because the snow was going to ruin plans that I had made.

Everyone I knew was dealing with their emotions about the storm, so when it came time to bunker down….we waited…and waited…and probably got 1-2 inches of light fluffy snow. The meteorologists were embarrassed and all apologized for getting it wrong and scaring us all. 

Thankfully it was nothing like the snowstorm that loomed over the Northeastern states last December. People were told to prepare to stay indoors for a few days & that’s exactly what most people did. The stores were packed up until a few hours before the storm was predicted to hit. The only shelves that weren’t emptied were the aisles that held any type of fresh, frozen, or canned produce. It ended up dropping over two feet of snow and people on the news sounded so shocked and angry that it actually did snow.

I’ve noticed a trend when it comes to the threats that hover over our lives – it divides us into two main groups. The Worriers and the Whatevers. I’m guilty of going back and forth on both groups and this potential Coronavirus pandemic concern has certainly triggered some Worriers in myself and all of the people I’ve talked to. The Worriers are buying masks in bulk and stores are struggling to keep them in stock. There’s even a list of prep stuff circulating online – cough meds, goggles, gloves, pantry items, weapons, and so forth.

The other group, the Whatevers, are pretty self-explanatory in. If a Worrier starts talking about their Coronavirus fears, the Whatevers response is…”Whatever”, “No big deal”, “I didn’t die from ebola”, “the flu virus should be what you’re more concerned with”.

The Worriers are letting fear guide them and are missing out on living life and enjoying the things in front of them. The Whatevers are scared too, they’re just trying to not let that fear control their lives and are visibly apathetic to the uncontrollable situation happening.

I’m going to pause here to remind you that the news we watch and read will ALWAYS give us information to stress over. Weather, health concerns, politics, crime, recalled lettuce…there is and always will be an endless supply of things to have anxiety over and events to prepare for. And we all find ourselves preparing our minds and homes for stuff that we hear about…but what if we turn on the news tonight and our local newscaster told us viewers that Jesus was expected to come back this week?

I can picture the two groups responses to this information so clearly. I can picture some people cleaning their homes, buying a nice outfit, cooking a big meal in the kitchen, selling their belongings, opening their Bibles for the first time, dragging their family to church when the last time they attended was the Christmas service, clearing their browsing history, deleting mean comments they’ve made on Facebook posts, and maybe quite a few running around outside screaming at passerby’s about how they need to repent before they go to hell….or they’d shrug their shoulders and say “Whatever”, “Probably not“, or maybe even comments about how our “sky daddy” isn’t real.

The key point here is that scripture is our local forecaster and they’ve already told us that Jesus is coming back soon. We’ve already been told how the end of the world will happen and we’ve already been told to stop worrying and stop prepping & start storing our treasures in heaven! 

I think a huge reason we don’t know the exact time Jesus is coming back because He doesn’t want us waiting around, wasting valuable time & He doesn’t want us to be fake about it. Even though He knows our hearts & no matter how much your home and body for His arrival, your heart will look the same.

Don’t fall into the trap of the Worriers or Whatevers group. Threats to our lives will always be there, yet society is so concerned about dying from the Coronavirus, a car accident, cancer, a hurricane, a snowstorm, and World War 3 when they should be more concerned about dying without knowing the Savior and about their neighbors dying without accepting Jesus into their lives. 

Leave the fear, apathy, and earthly preparation behind and join the Welcomers group. Forget about what your house looks like, how much money is in (or isn’t in) your bank account, or whether your hair looks nice. Stop stocking up food and start stocking up on the Holy Spirit. Focus on what’s in your heart. Open your arms wide to your neighbors and love them as you’d welcome and love on Jesus. Live each day by being the Light and spreading the Good News to anyone who will take the time to listen. Put your love for Jesus on display in every area of your lives despite anything that may be threatening the type of life we currently live.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14

“So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.” -Acts 6:2

“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.” -Luke 8:25

“Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” -Revelation 15:4

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter” -2 Thessalonians 2

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” –John 3:16 NIV