With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. (Mark 15:37)
I have often wondered what this cry was about. In another gospel we are told Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” right before he breathed his last and died. In another we are told He also said, “It is finished” at that moment. Which did He say first? And did he cry one of these phrases?
Or did He just cry…as humans do when the pain is so great and there is nothing left to say?
I really do believe this cry was one of agony. I think it was a response to circumstances we can only imagine. But allow me the poetic license to suggest something else this cry represented.
Perhaps you have seen a movie battle where the charging general lets out a loud cry before spurring his horse and dashing off into the valley of death. You find it in every genre, whether it be set overseas, in the American Shenandoah, or the old West. The battle cry is a symbol of courage and defiance. It is a way of saying, “Even if we die, the cause is just and we must fight!”
So I like to think of Jesus’ last loud cry as a battle cry. I realize it may have just been a final gasp, mingled with agony and pain. But then, sometimes, that is the nature of a battle cry.
Here is what that cry represented:
…Jesus cried out, having fully absorbed our sin and shame. The Bible says, He became sin for us. It was hard. Let me rephrase that…it was humanly impossible. Only the God-man could have done it, and only someone who loved us with the love of God would have done it.
…Jesus cried out, as a show of force against Satan and His powers. We don’t always see the work of the Prince of Darkness, but we know this earth is one of the territories he desperately tried to hold. He really is a weasel…the lowest form of the lowest form. And when Jesus cried, in the midst of suffering everything Satan threw His way, He defied him.
…Jesus cried out, as a proclamation of victory. He would not proclaim the final victory until Sunday morning when He burst out of the open tomb. Jesus’ resurrection proved He was the One sent to wash away our sins. But the washing took place on Calvary, as Jesus cried out His last.
…And finally, Jesus cried a collaborate call to His Father. It was if He said, “We did it Father! The victory is won!” Well, in fact, He did say something like that… “It is finished! Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Maybe after Jesus said these things He let out one final, undefined but loud cry…as a punctuation mark at the end of everything.
We aren’t told exactly.
I just like to see it this way.
Dear God, thank You for proclaiming victory over sin and death. In Jesus’ name, Amen.