My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

©Sean Hawkey/WCC

The crucifixion and the suffering that Jesus Christ went through takes us to the very root of our faith and helps us evaluate the status of our relationship with God and our sisters and brothers.

It is clear that, even as Lord Jesus was tormented, and tortured, he forgave the people who caused his suffering (Luke 23:34). In the midst of his anguish, he listened to the appeals of the criminal who was repentant and contrite and assured him salvation (Luke 23:43). Even in distress, he was concerned for the well-being of his mother after his death and entrusted her into the care of his beloved disciple (John 19:26–27). Just as he was dying, he declared his mission to have been accomplished (John 19:30), and with absolute trust in God, committed his spirit to God (Luke 23:46).

But his humanity was made evident as he expressed his thirst (John 19:28), and his sense of abandonment, as cried out in his mother tongue- Aramaic, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34). It is this suffering which he went through and in living out his humanity, even as God incarnate, that makes Jesus close to one and all. Even people who go through indescribable hardships, injustice and suffering, feel the solidarity with Jesus and derive hope and courage from his life, suffering, death and resurrection.

Is the passion week just a historical commemoration of what Jesus went through two thousand years ago?  Is the the pain and the suffering of Jesus a reality today?

Do I see Jesus crucified in the child who is malnourished, due to neglect and conflict? Do I see Jesus crucified, in the woman abused and hurt by her intimate partner? Do I see Jesus crucified, in the student who is excluded and victimised because of his or her race, caste, ability, or status?

Do I see Jesus crucified in the farmer who is about to commit suicide due to being trapped by and drowning in his debt due to expensive seeds and fertilizers, marketed by huge multinational corporations? Do I see Jesus crucified in the indigenous community displaced and impoverished by a large mining company, which has usurped and stripped the forests where they lived for thousands of years?

If I do not see Jesus in the ones who are suffering today because of our collective greed, insensitivity and sin, I cannot call myself a follower of Jesus. We are all part of the body of Christ. But if one hand of Christ is in the furnace today and the other in water, can we say that on an average, the body of Christ is fine?

Let us, with indignance and empathy, collectively mourn, with those who are crucified today, because of injustice and inequity. But let us not stop there. Let us follow Jesus, to put his good news to practice, sharing burdens and concerns of the world, and overcoming evil and greed, striving for the salvation and the liberation of the world.

About the author :

Dr Manoj Kurian is the coordinator of the WCC-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.

He is a Malaysian medical doctor, trained in Community Health and Health Systems Management. After working for seven years in mission hospitals in diverse rural regions in India, from 1999, he headed the health work at the WCC for 13 years. From 2012, for two years, he worked at the International AIDS Society as the senior manager, responsible for the policy and advocacy work.

He is an adjunct faculty at the College of Public Health, Kent State University, USA. Manoj is married and has two children.


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.