My morning Scripture reading routine has been taking me through the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel.
Up until now I’ve been struck by the silence of Jesus in the face of his accusers. But today I read about his crucifixion and I was struck by his voice.
Jesus “cries out with a loud voice” twice in this short passage (Matthew 27:45-54).
Now that he is on the cross, Jesus cries out.
Not to defend himself, but to express pain and grief. To call out to his Father in the words of Psalm 22 (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – but also anticipating the promise of Psalm 22, which is deliverance and victory).
Jesus cries out because this is what humans do when they are in pain.
Babies know this. In their pain and distress they cry out. It’s an expression of need, of vulnerability. It is reaching out to other humans who perhaps can help me.
But we don’t like this. It’s why young people (especially boys) are told not to cry. We are allergic to vulnerability.
When someone else expresses vulnerability, it makes us aware of our own. And if we hate it or are afraid of it (or hate it because we are afraid of it), we will attack it or shut it down when we see it in others.
Don’t cry. Oh, you’re fine. Stop whining. I’m sure it’s not that bad. Lots of people have it worse than you.
But Jesus, the Truly Human One, shows us the way. He doesn’t raise his voice to defend himself or protect his ego.
Instead, he raises his voice and cries out because he is in pain and distress. He cries out because he is in need, because it hurts, because it’s hard.
In doing so, he models for us something about what it means to be human. To be human is to need others. To be human is to cry when things are hard. To cry when you’re in pain.
So I say we could use less anger, less defensiveness, less ego protection, less eye rolling.
Instead, more tears. More crying out. Especially when things are hard, especially when we’re in pain.
We follow Jesus in crying out, reaching out to others. And we follow Jesus in responding to the cries of others. It’s a key part of what it means to be the body of Christ.
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