The seven last words of Jesus cry out, “You are unforsaken by God!” But tragically we don’t hear them that way.
We need a new vision of the cross of Christ. We need fresh wording for Jesus’ message of unfailing delight.
Because if we’re not care-full the horrible suffering and darkness of the cross obscure the floodlight of God’s love from our hearts. This is why many people cringe at Lent.
Because of Christ, you can know God’s lavishly generous attitude toward you and every person on the planet: “You are my lovely daughter and I delight in you! You are my true son and I am so proud of you!”
On the cross Jesus Christ is healing your sin and shame, he’s removing your forsakenness. Because at times we all feel too bad, too broken, too needy, not successful enough, or not attractive enough to be delighted in by anyone.
Every year at Lent, Kristi and I get up close and personal with Jesus as he carries his cross and is lifted up on it to be crucified. We meditate on each of the Gospel scenes in Soul Shepherding’s Unforsaken booklet. We saturate ourselves in the words that we all long to hear from God:
You are unforsaken!
You’ve sinned but you are forgiven!
You feel like a failure but you are a success!
You feel ugly but you are beautiful!
You feel unwanted but you are passionately loved!
Truly, you are unforsaken by God!
The cross of Jesus is all about him showing us that we are unforsaken. It’s the message we desperately need to hear and trust. It’s what Jesus is saying to you in each of his last seven words as he’s dying on the cross. Let’s revisit those words and hear them fresh and new:
1. All your sins are forgiven. (Luke 23:34)
2. Your most hopeless situation can be Paradise. (Luke 23:43)
3. Your worst pain is comforted. (“Woman, behold your son…”, John 19:26-27)
4. When you feel forsaken you’re not. (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)
5. Your deepest thirst is satisfied. (John 19:28)
6. At your death you can come fully alive. (“It is finished!”, John 19:30)
7. Always the Abba of Jesus is there to hold you. (Luke 23:46)
Lent starts next week on Valentine’s Day. Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day don’t seem to go together, but in the true and historical spirit of each they’re actually a great match.
For Lent and Holy Week we would love to give you the gift that has blessed and transformed our lives for eternity: with Christ at the cross you are unforsaken!
For two thousand years pilgrims have been walking the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem and in Christian retreat centers around the world. In Unforsaken we’ve put this same journey into 68 pages of pictures, passages from the Gospels, and prayers.
We’ve led hundreds of people on this crosswalk. You meet Jesus. Tears flow. Smiles come as the Sunlight breaks through the darkness. Heaven opens to you and your friends!
When we do our prayer walk through Unforsaken during Lent we’ll be thinking of you. We hope you’ll join us!