Sermon:
"FORSAKEN" - What a haunting word that is! - a word which literally means, according to Merriam-Websterís Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition): "To renounce or turn away from entirely - to abandon!" A young wife scanning the family home computer files discovers romantic e-mails sent by her spouse to another woman - she has been forsaken or abandoned by her husband! After thirty years of loyal work on a factory production line, a worker discovers the proverbial "pink slip" in his or her paycheck - he or she is forsaken or abandoned by "big business"! An elderly couple in an assisted-living facility finds themselves alone in their room on Easter Sunday - no cards - no calls - they have been forsaken or abandoned by their family! Nothing, however, my brothers and sisters, compares to being forsaken or abandoned by almighty God!

At the crucifixion site, atop Golgothaís Hill, at the end of the Calvary road, the entire countryside was bathed in darkness - it was the noon hour - and it was an unprecedented darkness that hovered over the land for a period of three hours! Then, at approximately 3:00 oíclock in the afternoon, a voice rang out with a loud cry - it was the voice of Jesus, the Christ - and, my brothers and sisters, in the Aramaic language, he cried what is interpreted as: "My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" It was a painful cry, for Jesus had been hanging voluntarily upon the "Old Rugged Cross" for approximately six hours! Somewhere approaching the hour of 9:00 oíclock in the morning, that particular day, the first "Good Friday," Jesus, the Christ, had made His stumbling way to the peak of Golgothaís Hill - the place of the skull - only to have a Roman soldier place Him upon the wooden cross, nailing first one hand; then, the other hand; then, both feet to that ugly wooden execution tree! There was nothing pretty about it - Jesus, hardly recognizable as a human being - due to the flogging and scourging He had undergone earlier - was suffering extreme agony - and, my brothers and sisters, He didnít have to do it - but, He did!

There He was, stretched high and wide, unknowingly placed by Roman soldiers in the very position for which He came to this planet called "Earth" - as Mediator between almighty God and mankind - both male and female - "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!"

If you were able to travel in a time device back to that day, you would have been able to hear the many sounds that competed for your hearing in that place - you would have heard the Pharisees mocking Jesus - perhaps, you would have heard the clanging of swords in their scabbards, that day - but, certainly you would have heard the groanings of dying men - yet, Jesus hardly spoke at all! When Jesus does open His mouth and utter sounds, He gives those who are killing Him those inseparable "twins" - grace and mercy - "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" He gives His mother a son - the "beloved" disciple John - the only