The Gospel of Mark, the first of the Gospels to appear in written form, presents Jesus going to his death in utter desolation, draining the cup of suffering given him by his Father.
His enemies viciously reject him; his disciples mostly betray him or desert him. Only a few remain as he goes on his way.
His cry from the cross is a cry of faith mingled with deep fear and sorrow: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
As we read this Gospel, taut and fast-paced, we share with Jesus the dark mystery of unexplained suffering that all of us face in life. Yet, this mystery leads to life, a risen life. The desolation Jesus experienced takes many forms, some quite hidden from what people see. Yes, the cross can mean physical pain, but suffering may also come from spiritual and psychological situations.
Jesus reveals that God can be found even here: “In Mark’s account, Jesus dies with a wordless scream that echoes from that dread hill, splitting the veil of the temple and igniting faith in the centurion’s heart. This unlikely witness sees in the manner of Jesus’ death for others the true revelation of God. The sight of the Crucified Jesus triggers in him the full first confession of faith expressed in the gospel: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (15:39). A startling revelation–God’s power revealed not through staggering prodigies but in a selfless death motivated by love.” Donald Senior, CP
Donald Senior’s beautiful account of Mark’s Passion narrative can be found here.
Here’s Rembrandt’s account of the Crucifixion.