Summary: Christ went through a period of agony on the cross as He was separated from His Father. This sermon looks at the reason he was separated from His Father.
Today we come to the fourth week of our series on the Seven Statements from the Cross. Last week we saw Jesus entrust his mother to John, John would become her son, and her, his mother. We saw through their total obedience what kinds of sacrifice obedience can require of a family, spiritual and physical. The statement that we will look at today reflected an agony that the other statements didn’t seem to show. Even though throughout the whole process we know that He had to be in complete physical agony, this statement showed the complete mental and spiritual agony that He was in at the moment He made this statement.
The darkness that came over the land for those three hours had to have been an eerie feeling. I believe that darkness was not only a physical darkness but also a spiritual darkness. I truly believe that it was an act of God. Maybe it was a sign of judgment to the Jews for what they were doing. Some people might say, “Could it have not been an eclipse?” It could not have been an eclipse because the moon was full at Passover time. But it was in that third hour that Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus spoke it in Aramaic. Jesus probably spoke at least three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It is believed that Jesus more commonly spoke in Aramaic. It’s amazing when you look at Psalm 22 how it goes along with so much of the crucifixion story. The first verse of that Psalm was Jesus’ statement here. It has been suggested by many that Jesus was simply repeating that Psalm to himself as a picture of his own situation. Of course that Psalm ends on a very high note of trust and confidence in God. Just as this situation would end on a very high note three days later and Christ did know that. Bible scholar William Barclay said, “It is an attractive suggestion; but on a cross a man does not repeat poetry to himself, even the poetry of a psalm…” Then again this wasn’t any ordinary man. Jesus quoted scripture for everything else in His life, he certainly could have been again. But I do believe that at that moment that sins of the world were thrust upon Christ. In that time that he who had no sin became sin, it brought him separation from His Father. Sin separates us from God. Isaiah told the people in Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you.” His Father had hidden His Face from Him as He took on the sin of the world. It was an agonizing feeling for the one who lived in total intimacy with His Father, depending on Him each step of the way. How many times did we see Jesus trying to sneak off and be alone with His Father. How many times did He pray to His Father to seek the strength he needed. As painful as the physical cruelty of the cross was, I believe the pain of isolation from his Father during that time hurt him more than any nail piercing His skin. But I don’t believe the pain stopped with Christ, can you imagine how hard it was on the Father to have to turn away as His son paid the price for us. As this statement speaks of the isolation and loneliness that Christ was experiencing. I just want to remind you of the reasons why Christ was separated from His Father.