Recently, a stray cat had a litter of five kittens behind my house (in that place where I store all sorts of wonderful stuff that “may come in handy one fine day”). A few days later, I discovered that they had all moved out, except for this one grey-striped kitten. I left it alone thinking that its mommy would soon be back to carry it off when the coast was clear. The next day, it was still there and no sign of the mommy or the other 4 kittens. I took a closer look under the pile of ….er… wonderful stuff, and was immediately greeted with the cutest blue eyes you have ever seen. It gave a weak wail as I picked it up and held it in my hands, wondering what to do with it. The wails became louder when I put it down and as it looked around, its mewing was really tugging at my heart.
Now, I have had cats as a kid and know all about cats and am familiar with all catty behaviour. But I have never had to look after one so young that it had to be bottle-fed! The little feller was now mewing really loud, desperately calling out to its missing mommy. I moved away, hoping mommy cat would hear the pleading “mews” and rush over from wherever she was hiding, and come collect her lost baby. Anxious hours of pitiful wailing went by without any sign of the mother cat.
That did it. I decided to adopt it. I scooped up the shivering kitten into my hands and with the expert help of the missus, spoon-fed it some warm milk. It quietened down and then surveyed my hand thoroughly before curling up comfortably in the palm of my hand. I carefully laid it in a hastily prepared bed (actually just an empty paint bucket, lined with rags). Immediately it sprang up and again began its plaintive mewing. So, putting my hand inside the pail, I let it cuddle up against my hand again and waited till it was really fast asleep, before slowly withdrawing.
The next day it repeated the whole shebang again. Several times!
What to do? Probably will go on like this for a couple more weeks before it can manage by itself. But it was hard on the heart to watch that poor feller straining its wobbly head, searching and mewing pitifully as soon as it awoke. How much it must be missing its mommy! What terrible thoughts could possibly be going through that tiny head? At less than two weeks old, it would have known nothing other that the nourishing milk, the familiar warmth, the comforting fur and the reassuring licks of its dear mommy. And it’s all suddenly missing now, when it is most needed! I could almost feel the little kitten’s desperate agony. “Mommy, mommy! Where are you? Why have you abandoned me?”
It brought to mind another similar cry which I rarely hear more than once in a year, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46.
Ever wondered about that particular quote, preserved in the original dialect? Why did Jesus use the word “why”? Wasn’t he aware of the sequence of events that were to take place during that fateful Passover festival? To understand this scenario, we have to take a journey back in time. Waaaaaaay back.
Since the beginning of time-less eternity, there was One who has always been with the Only True God, existing in the form of GOD, (like a living hologram of the unseen GOD), sharing in God’s all-embracing Fatherly love, adorned in the celestial glory of an Anointed One and reigning as Lord over all of creation. There had never been a moment when he existed apart from GOD. Yet he never entertained any thoughts of equality with his Father, but always remained completely submissive to the will of the One and Only True God.
For a brief 33-year period in our human history, the Only True God sent this Anointed One over to this sin-ravaged time-space-matter-world of ours, stripped of all his divinity and all his regal glory and placed him in a fragile, undignified, severely restricted earthen body similar to the broken, messed-up ones that you and I live in. He was given the name Yeshua (pronounced Jesus, in English) by his earthly parents who fed, cleaned, changed, bathed, circumcised, carried, played with, nurtured, disciplined, taught and raised him just like all of us. Yet the Only True God never abandoned Jesus, even in this disgustingly pathetic form of an earthly creature. In fact on several occasions, He even proclaimed Jesus, as His Beloved Son, stamping His Divine approval in no uncertain terms. Jesus too proclaimed that his Father - the Only True God - lived in him and that he was a full reflection of GOD.
When Jesus travailed in the garden in his final hours knowing what lay ahead, he submitted himself completely to his God’s will, in the assurance that his God was in him.
Jesus hung on the cross in his tattered, bloody 33-year old flesh-and-blood body and with his lung-powered life teetering in the balance in TOTAL submission to GOD’s will, and then the unexpected happened! Something snapped and Jesus suddenly felt strangely alone! Painfully it dawned on him - the constant assuring presence of his God, had silently left him! His God had suddenly abandoned him! He was forsaken by his God and Father! Hence the heart-rending cry, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?”
But why did the Only True God forsake His Anointed One, the one whom He called “My Beloved Son”?
The clue lies in this verse:
“GOD made him who had no sin, to be sin for us….” 2 Corinthians 5:21
You see, GOD has zero tolerance for sin. He will not even look upon it. Sin is not mere acts of breaking GOD’s laws. Sin is essentially an attitude of rebellion against the Sovereignty of GOD – a refusal to acknowledge an Almighty Creator’s supremacy over the creature’s will. Therefore sin kindles His uncompromising wrath. Jesus was anointed to drink the cup of GOD’s terrifying wrath. He knew full well that the beasts in priestly robes would have him tortured and killed. He knew within 24hrs he was going to die a horrible, humiliating death. He knew that GOD would raise him up from the grave, to return to his former glory as Lord over all. He was aware that he was predestined for all this even before the foundation of the worlds. But he never expected that righteous wrath to be accompanied by a turning away of his Father’s face. Never before had Jesus ever lost sight of His Father, the Only True God. That must have really crushed his heart more than all the false accusations, lashings, humiliation and even the slow torture of hanging on nails in the midday sun! GOD, his Father abandoned him. And that broke the heart of the Lord of all creation.
Yes, THAT’s what Jesus my Saviour went through for my sake! And that’s why the wine and the bread are so sacred to me. They are not just edible symbols of the horrendous physical sacrifice that Jesus offered on my behalf, but also solemn reminders of the terrible abandonment he suffered so that I - a blur, undeserving worm, 1,956 years down the line, in a land far away from the cross – may, through him, be forever reconciled with his Father, who is now my Father, and his God, who is now my God.
Hallelujah to the Only True God, the Most High, the Almighty One, and to Jesus the Lord!
And the blue-eyed cutie? Fast asleep as I write this, blissfully unaware that its mewing had brought to my remembrance, this wondrous truth of the great love that the Only True God has for me and of the obedient, selfless sacrifice that His Anointed One has offered on my behalf, for my eternal salvation and reconciliation.
“THIS is eternal life: that they may know You – the Only True GOD – and Jesus, the Anointed One whom You have sent.”- John 17:3