‘Final Words’ Chapter 4

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

The most important words ever spoken.

These words of Jesus from the cross are found in both the gospel of Mark and the gospel of Matthew; and in turn are originally from Psalm 22. And at least from a Christian’s perspective of the atonement, they are the most important words ever spoken, for they demonstrate God’s solidarity with humanity in suffering. These words demonstrate God’s solidarity with humanity in feeling godforsakenness.

How can God experience godforsakenness? That is the power of Jesus, the God-man, dying.

So you can imagine that I had high hopes for this chapter. And for one, brief, shining “godforsaken” moment, Hamilton gets his Moltmann on. Hamilton actually uses the term. He also does a good job in this chapter of connecting Jesus’ words with our contemporary experience of mocking others and being mocked by others. Hamilton reminds us (as he has each chapter) that we are part of the crowd crucifying Jesus. We are part of the problem. He even hints at the reality of communal sin, which I find very important. Too much of current Christian thought (or at least that which find its way into the broadest acceptance) focuses solely on individual sin and individual redemption.

I would have liked to hear more from Hamilton on communal sin and communal redemption. I would have liked a little less of (what I perceived as) Hamilton trying to soften the abandonment that Jesus felt.

How about you? What connected with you in this chapter? What left you wanting more?


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