THE FOURTH WORD FROM THE CROSS: ANGUISH
Sermon shared by Norm Beckett
Summary: When we feel most betrayed, Jesus understands, for he experienced total abandonment. When we feel most alone, the truth and reality is that we are not.
Series: Easter Series
Audience: General adults
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"At about three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?" which means, "My God, My God why did you abandon me" (Matthew 27: 46).
Out of the darkness comes a loud cry. A piercing cry. It is not a cry against God, it is a cry to God. At that moment Jesus was alone, more than anyone could be.
Therefore, we visit the fourth word from the cross tonight, "My God, My God why did you forsake me?" These words express a reality, these words present a question, and these words require an answer.
Jesus knew what it was to experience desertion, his family had done so, he came unto his own, but they recieved him not, the disciples fled, now God deserts him. For Jesus who lived in constant relationship and communion with his Father, this was the cruelest blow, a blow beyond description. God did forsake him!
Our faith fails us, and then we think that God has left us, interestingly, our Lord’s faith did not falter for a moment, for he says twice, "My God, My God." The double expression in the words "My God, My God" reveal his unhesitating faith. Charles Haddon Spurgeon suggests that Jesus seems to be saying, "Even if You have forsaken me, I have not forsaken You". Jesus’ hour that he had been moving towards had come and he faced it knowingly.
Why was Jesus forsaken? The answer clearly must be that we might never be forsaken. That we might always know the presence and help of God. "And I will be with you always" (Matthew 28: 20). Matthew who records the extreme loniliness of Jesus ends his gospel with this promise of eternal companionship. Never, ever are we alone in our most darkest moment. Never, ever are we alone in our suffering. Never, ever are we alone in the midst of our pain.
God turned against his son at that moment, so that he would not turn against us.
When we do feel alone, abandoned, deserted, afraid....., let us learn from Jesus’ example, he cried, "My God, My God." Let nothing drive you from your faith in God.
When we feel most betrayed, Jesus understands, for he experienced total abandonment.
When we feel most alone, the truth and reality is that we are not.
When darkness seems to hide his face,
I trust in his unchanging grace.
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