33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. Mark 15:33-36

Darkness, inky black, thick, impenetrable darkness, covered the earth for three hours, the physical universe responding to the disrepair spawned by the unity Adam’s sin broke in the Garden of Eden. That said it all – and Jesus,was enveloped and enshrouded in it. What was happening in those three hours inside that darkness?

The rupture of ECHAD between Father and Son was slowly rising to a crescendo of agony – deep spiritual darkness that squeezed from Jesus’ parched and bloodied lips the cry that echoed round the cosmos – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Whatever David felt that caused him to pen those words centuries before, was intensified a million times for Jesus in those hours on the cross. How natural that He should cry out His agony in the words of Scripture! Only Jesus knows what it is like to be separated from the Father, even for those few hours. He bore it so that no-one need ever be separated from God again and yet…who really understands what that means? Here and there, we have glimpses of the massive significance of this ECHAD that Jesus treasured and protected throughout His earthly life and tried to impress upon His disciples.

This unity was the passion of His last recorded prayer on earth (except for His utterances on the cross), “That they may be one, Father, even as you and I are one.”

How important is ECHAD to you and me? What will we do and what will we need to sacrifice in order to protect unity in the community in which we live? Do we treasure unity only as long as it demands nothing from us? What about mutual submission? What role does that play in the way we live out ECHAD in the body of Christ? “This is the way the world will know that you sent me…ECHAD.”

Jesus shed His blood to the last drop, suffered the worst that humans could put Him through, felt the agony of aloneness in His darkest hour… and never faltered because unity was His ultimate goal, the unity between the Godhead and the universe and all its components including redeemed mankind, restored.

Sear this truth on our hearts, Father, so that, like the Master we are called to follow, we value and treasure ECHAD with you and with our family of believers above everything.

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Luella Campbell

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