The Rev. R.J. Davis, of First United Methodist Church, spoke to the congregation at the latest installment of Lenten Lunch about understanding.
His meditation was on “He is calling Elijah,” which is one of the words spoken to Jesus as he died on the cross.
After reading Mark 15:33-36, Davis said that the words spoken by Jesus had great emotion, especially when Jesus cried out in a loud voice “EliEli, EliEi, lemalema sabachthanisabachthani?” which is translated to “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”
A bystander who watched Jesus hang from the cross translated this into “This man is calling for Elijah.”
At once, one of the bystanders to the crucifixion got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”
“What we see is an act of elicit emotions,” Davis said.
The Roman soldiers may have given Jesus something to drink, but if they did, they did it out of ignorance, and the Jewish leaders may have given Jesus something to drink, but if they did, they did it out of spite.
The bystanders waited because they wanted to see if Elijah would come and rescue Jesus.
“If Jesus was indeed special to God, Elijah would come and rescue him,” Davis said.
The Jews misunderstood Jesus’s cry for Elijah, because he was crying for God — not Elijah.
“Already feeling abandoned by God, he willingly gave his life, but no one seemed to understand or care,” Davis said during his meditation.
Jesus was crying for a thirst for God.
“This is evidence that God’s heart breaks for humanity,” Davis said, “and the question is, do ours?”
The words that Jesus spoke that day were not just for those in attendance, but for all generations.
This is a representation of a world that misunderstood, because the bystanders misunderstood what Jesus was staying on the cross.
Before Davis concluded his meditation, he left the congregation with a few questions to think about. They were, “Do you today seem to follow in the footsteps of Jesus?” “Like Jesus, do you thirst for God?” “Are you seeking to fully understand Him?” and “Do you accept Him today?”
“My invitation to you is to embrace and understand Him,” Davis said.