Summary: The question was asked by Christ on the cross and we often ask it as we look at the Easter Story, God Why Don' t you do something. The reality is that he was doing something
Matthew 27:46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
How many times have we asked ourselves the same question that Jesus asked as he hung dying on the cross? “God, why have you abandoned your son? God why don’t you do something?”
Surely if we had of been standing by watching as this man of peace, as the Son of God was humiliated in a sham of a trial, as he was scourged and beaten in front of a jeering crowd, as slowly the soldiers of Caesar stripped away the last remaining pieces of his human dignity. Surely we would have asked ourselves and those who stood nearby, “Why doesn’t God do something? How can God allow this to happen?”
And as they took this battered and bleeding Nazarene Carpenter and laid him against the roughly hewn cross, drove home those great dull spikes through his hands and feet and then stood the cross upright with the son of God suspended on it like a broken discarded marionette and dropped it into the hole prepared, jarring all of his body weight down unto those bleeding wounds in his hands. And there he was left, hanging between heaven and earth.
Surely as we watched this travesty of justice, surely the rage welling up inside would compel us to demand of the Almighty, “God why don’t you do something, don’t just let him die like some common criminal.”
Surely that question must have been on the lips of John, Mary, Martha and others who loved Jesus as they stood and watched, repulsed by what was happening but unable to turn away and unable to comprehend the injustice of what they were witnessing.
If you have ever watched the Passion of the Christ, then I’m sure you are familiar with the feelings of helplessness and frustration that seemed to overwhelm me when I first watched the movie. How could God have allowed that to happen.
And so his friends watched, totally helpless, unable to do anything for the one who had done so much for them.
We don’t ask in unbelief, instead it is as believers that we find our voice and demand “How? How could You allow your Son to die in such a horrible way?” It is only because we have so much faith in the power and justice of God that we find it so remarkable and difficult to believe that he chose to not to exercise that power.
The first thing we need to note is that God Could Have Done Something. Christ acknowledged that when they came to arrest him in the garden. The group that the High Priest sent to arrest Jesus was more like a lynch mob then a posse. You can just imagine the group standing in the flickering, smoky light of the oil torches. Unveiled hostility showing on their faces as they reach to seize the one who had displeased their masters.
And when the crowd attempted to grab Christ, Peter the brave, Peter the impulsive, Peter the insane drew a single sword and took a swipe and cut off the ear of one of the High Priest’s servants. Now all I can say is that it was lucky for the servant that Peter was a fisherman and not a swordsman, because I don’t think for a minute that Peter wanted to separate the guys ear from his head as much as he wanted to separate his head from his shoulders. You can almost hear Peter now, “I’ll hold them off boss you make a run for it.”
But Pete had misread the situation. He thought that Christ was helpless when that was far from the truth. Jesus set the record straight in Matthew 26:53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?
In the New King James Version it gets a little more specific. Matthew 26:53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
Now what Jesus was saying was “Peter if I wanted I could have a legion of angels, and you could have a legion of angels and John could have a legion of angels and Thaddeus could have a legion of angels and the other eight guys could have a legion of angels each to command.
And we’re not talking those cute little sissy angels people seem to be worshiping today. No we are talking big mean angels, angels with attitude, angels who could level the entire city of Jerusalem with no problem at all.
When we think of a legion we think of a place where old soldiers go to play darts, but this was a different type of legion. The legion that is spoken of here was the largest single unit in the Roman army and was comprised of six thousand men. Now I would suspect that seventy two thousand angels with a hate on could have done a pile of damage, even Christ conceded that.