"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Psalm 22:2

Posted by Christine Nusse on Apr 6, 2007 | Categories: Seasons of the Spirit

What did happen to Jesus’ power from the moment he arrived with his friends in the garden of the Mount of Olives until his death on the cross? We can only guess, imagine perhaps. In the past, there had been at least one incident when people had seized Jesus and taken him away to stone him, and he had just “passed by them” and escaped. Why didn’t he accomplish something of the sort again, at this time?
I am wondering if what happened in the Garden that night, what is called Jesus’ agony, is not also an experience of power but of a very different kind.
It is known that the more someone is spiritually enligtened, -for want of a better expression,- the more he or she is compassionate, which means able to suffer with others, to experience someone else’s emotions of pain and also of joy. The more spiritual one is the more attuned to the presence of evil.
I do believe that Jesus, as a human being had indeed reached the summit of spiritual enlightment, had gone as far as any human being is able to go. Isn’t it his spiritual dimension, as a human being, which allowed him to perform miracles, to change the physical laws of illness and death, as well as to understand people to the core? His capacity for compassion must have been overwhelming to the people who knew him.
During his last hours of solitude and prayer, yes, Jesus was afraid to suffer and to die, afraid also for his friends and family. But his agony went far beyond. Through his own experience and feeling of failure, of fear, of abandonment, of betrayal, the whole human experience poured into him. His spiritual power allowed him to experience the depth of human suffering, the depth of our misery, the depth of our human allegiance to evil. Because of his power, he was able to emphathise in some mysterious way with each one of our own experiences of evil and pain.
At the end, this immense wave, left Christ with the ultimate temptation: despair. Not for himself only, but for us as well: “God has forsaken us, all is lost”. Nothing would ever change. Even if he had healed all the sick of Galilee and Judea, raised all the dead, convinced all he met, there would still be those multitude not reached, already gone, or not yet born. There would still be the whole creation groaning in pain, submitted to death and the weight of evil.
It is at that hour, I do believe, that our redemption was accomplished. There, at Gethsemani when Jesus turned away from despair and praid his prayer in complete darkness: “Thy will be done!”
The cross was the consequence of this letting go, a prayer fully lived all the way to its deadly end.

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