Jesus was crucified at 9 AM. He has been on the cross for three hours. Religious leaders have mocked and taunted him, the crowds have jeered at him, and even the thieves on the crosses beside him have hurled insults in his direction. His face is a mask of blood, sweat, spit, and pain. Every breath is a struggle, every movement is agony. White hot jolts of pain sear through his entire body, and no position relieves the pain.
The greatest pain is still to come.
The sky begins to darken, and soon a bright day is turned into dusk. Creation is in agony, the Creator is being killed. The darkness creeps over the land as the Father turns from the Son and begins to pour out his wrath on the Chosen One.
For the first time, Jesus experiences separation from the Father. It is more than he can bear. Jesus has been silent most of this morning, only speaking forgiveness onto those nailing him to this cross, but the Father turning away sparks a cry from Jesus' broken heart.
"My God, my God.....why have you forsaken me?" The cry rips through creation and stabs right into the heart of the Father. The cup has been given to the Son, and he has shouldered the burden of sin, guilt and shame. The spotless lamb has been blemished.
I watch this with amazement. The God of all things is on a cross, yet I know nails do not keep gods fastened to trees.
As I look at his eyes, I wonder, "Jesus, what is keeping you there? Why do you stay?"