The events in the life of Jesus bring meaning to the events of our own. Theologians call this Identification with Christ. I call it discoveringYour Easter I.D.
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).
On the cross Jesus asked a desperate question of his Heavenly Father; not the question I would have expected, certainly not from the Son of God. I would have expected something more like the one he asked at Gethsemane—one directed to his disciples, such as: Why have you men forsaken me? I saved you from sea storms and sickness. Why in my darkest hour of need would you forsake and reject me?
But Jesus’ deepest question was not for the friends around him, but for a Father above him. These were the most haunting words Jesus ever spoke: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
This moment was the climax of Jesus’ life of identifying with mankind and humanity’s needs, the moment when he fully became all that we needed him to be. He not only bore our sins, he became our sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and called on heaven itself to unleash every ounce of punishment we deserved, not on us, but on him. The most terrifying component of that price was Jesus’ vicarious sense of separation from his Father. He identified fully. He felt what we surely deserved to feel.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
On the cross Jesus made an ultimate decision. The conflict of the cross was the unprecedented intersection of divinity and humanity. Heaven and hell collided with each another on Calvary and Jesus found himself caught in the crossfire fighting for our very souls. Yet he found a way to trust his Father through the torment.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”—When facing the worst the cross had to offer, Jesus braced himself with an incredible trust in his Father’s care. When his “spirit” became overwhelmed as he faced death, He committed his spirit to the one who alone could keep him safe.
Crucified with Christ: We identify with him
Jesus said that our following him would involve a cross of our own: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). In life, there are certain “crosses” to bear—certain hardships, conflicts and limitations. There is a big difference, however, between carrying a cross and being crucified on one, and the difference can be summed up in one word, nails.
In order to live to God and his purposes, I must first die to myself and my own. In order to be crucified with Christ, three “nails” must pierce my soul to the point of death.