Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me, the last known words of our Lord while He was still in the flesh. Many have tried to understand what Jesus meant when He quoted Psalm 21:1 while on the cross and there are countless complex linguistic studies to back the many theories. I think maybe the answer is more simple, perhaps death is not possible in the presence of the Father. The appointed time for Jesus to die in the flesh had come and in order for that to happen God the Father was forced to withdraw. For the first time in His life Jesus could not sense God’s presence.
Is it possible that God’s power is just too great to allow death in His presence? In the old testament, the priests were required to perform an elaborate ceremony to cleanse themselves if they became defiled from touching the dead. In the new testament, the dead became alive in the presence of our Lord. When Jesus touched the leper He was not made unclean, the leper was made clean. Lazarus walked out of the tomb alive. When God’s Spirit rejoined Jesus in the tomb, He too was again made alive. According to Matthew 27:52-53, “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”. God’s presence brings life and healing, not death.
I wonder if the same occurs in the lives of people who are dying. I was pondering this as I prayed and waited for Tricia’s treatment to be completed in the oncology lab. The pall of death is heavy there, you can feel it. Could it be that God’s Spirit has withdrawn a bit from those who are there? It is written in several books of the bible that a man’s days are numbered. When our time on Earth nears it’s end must God withdraw his power from our presence so our flesh can die?
I am of course not saying that everyone who is sick has done something to cause God’s presence to depart and not all sickness is unto death. The rain falls on the wicked and the just and we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However I believe that everyone can benefit from actively seeking the power of God’s presence.