Our Lord is involved in THE crisis which excels all other crises. He is on the cross. He is dying in fearsome and excruciating circumstances. At noon darkness falls over the whole earth for three hours. The darkness is emblematic of judgement. In Amos 8:9 we read of the judgement of God on His people “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord,“I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. Here is our Saviour bearing the judgment against our sins. And what is sustaining Him? It is the Word of the LORD. So we read And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).
He is dwelling upon that part of Word of the LORD which is totally appropriate to His circumstances. He is calling to mind Psalm 22 and makes David’s exclamation His own, which of course is what it was prophetically. This word meets Him right where He is. And this word also gives Him hope. I cannot but think that this scripture was used in his soul to bring forth the experience of Hebrews 12:2a. There we read For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame. I make this assertion on account of how Psalm 22 concludes with praise and delight in God. Thus the Word sustained him and the Word encouraged Him with hope.
By way of contrast consider the response of those standing by. They hear the “Eloi Eloi” and conclude that the Lord is calling Elijah. They were not people governed by the Word of the Lord; they ere rather governed by folklore. Sinclair Ferguson writes that “there seems to have been a popular religious belief in Palestine that Elijah acted as a kind of patron saint of sufferers.” The offering of wine to our Lord was presumably to sustain Him so that there was more chance of the intervention of Elijah to deliver Him from the cross (see Mark 15:36). Sadly, because their actions emanated from the wrong source they totally missed what was happening right in front of them.
What does all this mean for us? We need to examine, ourselves, as to what is governing how we respond to a crisis. We need further to be aware, though, that crises only reveal what we are relying upon. In a crisis we always default to what is motivating us in the day to day routine of life. if we are reading the horoscopes and the various prognostications of men, it will be those things which we draw upon in a crisis. However, if we a re meditating on the Word, as was our Lord’s habit, it will be this that sustains and encourages us. As an aside we also remember where the Lord went when he was challenged in the wilderness by Satan. He went to the Word. “It is written” was the basis for his response.
So let us be Psalm 1:2 people whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. And then we will be in the right frame of thought with the right source material to respond to the crises of life.