Why Have You Accepted Me?

[Photo: The Great Bear, Easter Sunrise (Michael Reavis Photography)]

Darkness falls on Jerusalem. A few stand nearby, watching. Christ hangs on the cross, weak and waiting. At last he cries out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27:46).

Year after year, his desperate outcry resonates with me. And each time I read Matthew 27:46, Andrew Peterson’s “Mystery of Mercy” plays and replays in my mind. Here are the lyrics:

I am the woman at the well, I am the harlot

I am the scattered seed that fell along the path

I am the son that ran away


And I am the bitter son that stayed



 

My God, my God, why hast Thou accepted me


When all my love was vinegar to a thirsty King?



My God, my God, why hast Thou accepted me


It’s a mystery of mercy and the song, the song I sing


 

I am the angry man who came to stone the lover

I am the woman there ashamed before the crowd


I am the leper that gave thanks

But I am the nine that never came



 

You made the seed that made the tree


That made the cross that saved me

You gave me hope when there was none


You gave me your only Son



 

My God, Lord you are


My God, my God, Lord you are…

Even in my moments of deepest despair, I can cling to the promise that God is close. Closer than my breath. He knows all too well my frailty and faithlessness, and yet he will not turn from me. No matter the shame of my sin or selfishness of my heart, he will not forsake me. Why? Because Jesus endured that experience in my place. He who was without sin or blemish found himself on a cross, forsaken and dying.

The crowd at the foot of the cross did not understand. They heard him cry out and said, “He’s calling Elijah” (Matthew 27:47). They offered wine vinegar to his dry lips and waited to see if Elijah would save him. Instead, Jesus gave up his spirit and made possible God’s desire for reconciliation.

It’s a humbling thought, one that causes my heart to tremble. It makes Easter Sunday shine all the more brightly. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, redemption is reality (Ephesians 1:7). No matter what trouble we find ourselves in, God will never leave or forsake us (Matthew 28:20). Praise God for such hope and grace.

As the Easter season fades into late spring and the busyness of summer, may we not take for granted the hope and grace we have through Jesus.

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