Summary: I have made the statement over the past several weeks during this sermon series that the last words of a person are important words. I believe that as a person is nearing death, their final words are carefully chosen, deliberate and spoken for a specific purpose.
I have made the statement over the past several weeks during this sermon series that the last words of a person are important words. I believe that as a person is nearing death, their final words are carefully chosen, deliberate and spoken for a specific purpose.
And that is how I am approaching this sermon series. I believe that with all my heart that Jesus’ last words have been carefully chosen by Him; they were deliberate; and they have a specific purpose. And so, as Jesus hung on the cross, all those who were in the sound of His voice, experienced several teaching moments as Jesus spoke His last Words. And, the Holy Spirit knowing that generations down the road would need those same teaching moments instructed the writers of the Gospel to pen those words down for all to be taught. And so far, from those final words, we have learned first about how far forgiveness should be extended and then we were urged to seek out truth in a world full of lies.
Now, we come to our third phrase that we will be studying, and it comes from Mark 15:33-36. So, let’s see what we can learn from this phrase that we can apply to our lives in a sermon I have entitled: Dark Night of the Soul”.
Mark 15:33-36 (NIV)
33 At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama 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 One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said.
Jesus as He hung on the cross felt abandoned for the first time in His thirty-three years of life. Even during His ministry when His disciples did not understand Him and He felt alone, Jesus could always go talk to the Father in prayer. So, He never felt abandoned; He never felt left all alone; He never felt like it was Him alone against the world. That is until the cross; at this point He felt totally abandoned. Now, as He hung on the Cross if felt like even God had abandoned Him.
If you have lived any length of time, and if you have been a Christian any length of time, you know what it is to feel deserted by family members and friends; you know what it feels like when you were banking on God and it does not seem like He came through for you. You were counting on Him to answer your prayer a certain way, but He didn’t answer that way and you feel abandoned. And you have reached the place where you feel like nobody is on your team, even God.
That is how Jesus’ felt that day: abandoned. But He needed to feel that so He can be that perfect High Priest who has experienced everything that we experience.
Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.
And let’s face it; there are times we feel abandoned. And Jesus at this moment feels abandoned. And so, what does He teach us?
THERE IS NO SIN IN TELLING GOD HOW YOU FEEL AND THERE IS NO SIN IS TELLING GOD THAT YOU FEEL ABANDONED.
Jesus as He hung on the cross didn’t hold inside how He felt. He expressed it. He expressed it out loud and the Bible wants you to catch that because listen to what it says: “Jesus cried out in a loud voice.” The Bible also lets us know another way it was loud by telling us that people heard it. The onlookers said, “listen, he’s calling Elijah.” The Holy Spirit wants you to be sure you got this: Jesus said out loud how He felt, and others heard it. Yet, some people think we should never voice out loud how we feel especially if it negative about God. But here is the thing, whether we express our feelings or hold them within, God knows your feelings. Jesus expressed that He felt abandoned and the Bible is clear to tell us that He was without sin.
Also, when Jesus said: “why have you forsaken me?” He was questioning God, His Father. I hear Christians say that we should never question God. Let me ask you: “As a child, did you ever ask your mom and dad a question?” And certainly, as a teenager, I know that you questioned your parents because you thought that they were old and out of touch with what is going on. But you are still here; they did not zap you because you asked all those questions. And most of the time parents try to give you an answer even if the answer was “because I told you so.” My parents were big enough to handle my questions; and my God is big enough to handle my questions. And the Bible wants me to make sure I understand that when Jesus asked that question that He still was without sin.