Summary: This sermon in the fourth in the series. 1. This is (Not) a cry of DISILLUSIONMENT 2. This is (Not) a cry of PHYSICAL SUFFERING 3. This is a cry of FULFILLED PROPHECY 4. It was a cry of REALITY
We have spent the last three weeks considering the sayings of Christ upon the cross. Up until this point we have witnessed the awesome grace and mercy of our Lord as He prayed for forgiveness - as He promised salvation - and as He made provision for His mother.
Today we will look at what I consider to be the most difficult of the seven sayings. Please follow along with me as I read:
When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" which is translated, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, "Behold, He is calling for Elijah." Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down." Mark 15:33-36 (NASB)
Have you ever felt forsaken?
In a hospital room in a major city a little girl lies quietly. She has a strange form of cancer. The strain is so rare that it has her doctors are baffled. No one knows how a girl so young could become so sick - so quickly. Although they do not say it, the doctors doubt she will ever see her tenth birthday. The little girl’s mother tries to be brave, but it isn’t easy. In her heart she wonders, “Why has God forsaken us?”
In another city a mother stirs when the alarm clock rings - it's 5:30 A.M. Another day is beginning. She slips out of the sheets and tiptoes to the bathroom. Quickly she showers, dresses and gets breakfast ready. Mean while three children sleep quietly in the next room. Before 7:00 A.M., all four of them will be on their way — the children to a day-care center - the mother to her job. At the end of the day she picks her children up. They go home - have supper - then it's bath time followed by bed time. With the children safely asleep, the mother relaxes in front of the TV. After a few minutes, she goes to bed. 5:30 in the morning comes all too soon. She sleeps alone. Her husband left her 2 1/2 years ago. Alone with her thoughts she considers her life and asks, “Why has God forsaken me?”
Not many miles away a middle-aged man sits with his head in his hands. Today had started like any other day. Get up, go to work, do your job. Then at 2:45 in the afternoon, his boss called him into his office. “Charlie, I’ve got bad news.” Just like that it was all over. After 16 years, 4 months and 3 days - it was over. Over with nothing left to show for it except a pink slip. How will he explain it to his family? Here he is with a mortgage - two kids who want to go to college, and no job. In anger — Yes anger — he cries out to God, “Why have you forsaken me?”
Have you ever felt forsaken?
It was Friday morning in Jerusalem. It seemed like just another day - but not this day. Death was in the air. The word had spread to every corner of the city. The Romans planed to crucify somebody today. A crowd gathers. They head to Golgotha - also known as Skull Hill. The Romans like that place because the hill is beside a main road. That way lots of people can watch the crucifixion. On this day a man named Jesus is to be crucified along with two criminals. Word spreads like wildfire.
At first the crowd is rowdy and loud. They cheer - they laugh - they shout - they place wagers on how long the three men being crucified will last. It appears that the man in the middle will not last long. He has already been severely beaten. He is an awful sight to behold.
But then it happened. Darkness fell upon all the land. It happened so suddenly that no one expected it. One moment the sun was out - the next moment it had disappeared. It was not an eclipse. It was not a dark cloud. It was darkness itself - thick, inky-black darkness that fell like a shroud over the land. It was darkness without any hint of light to come. It was chilling blackness that curdled the blood and froze the skin.
No one moved. No one spoke. Not a sound broke the dark silence. Something eerie was going on. It was as if some evil force had taken over the land. It lasted for three long hours. It is clear the end is near. Jesus is at the point of death.