Summary: Even as Christ bearing the sins of the world separated Him from His father while on the cross, so do our sins separate us from God until we have a saving personal relationship with Christ.
a. This morning as we continue our series The Gospel in the Seven Sayings of the Cross we focus on Christ’s fourth statement made from the cross.
b. In the statement we will evaluate today, Christ demonstrates that sin separates us from God, leaving us feeling empty and lonely.
c. That emptiness can only be filled by one person, Jesus Christ. If we don’t accept Him, we will be empty and lonely until we are called home and our soul leaves this earthly body.
Loneliness is a growing problem in our society. A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the most lonely group in America is that of college students. That’s surprising! Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly.
To point out how lonely people can be, Charles Swindoll mentioned an ad in a Kansas newspaper. It read, “I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5.”
Swindoll said, “Sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But the person was serious. Did anybody call? You bet. It wasn’t long before this individual was receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship”
e. So today we want to look at what causes that emptiness and loneliness, what are its consequences, and how do we fix it.
2. The prelude.
a. Matthew 27:45 tells us there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour; that is until about 3 P.M.
b. While Christ was hanging from the cross, nature wrapped itself in darkness to mourn this travesty, a darkness that delivered God’s divine judgment on sin, poured out on our Savior bearing the burden and curse of a multitude of sins that were not His.
c. And yet as He does so, He reveals to us something of the mystery of spiritual suffering.
d. For in the climax of His suffering, he speaks words of utter and complete loneliness.
e. Then, at the pinnacle of these dark hours, an awful cry escapes His lips.
3. Savior by choice, not by chance.
a. If anything should impress on you the significance of what Christ did on our behalf, as if that was not enough, is that He did it willingly.
b. John 10:14 – 18 records these words of Jesus regarding His willingness to die on our behalf, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
c. The key statement in that passage is this, “…I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”
d. He was pure, without sin; and yet He willingly died for sins He did not commit.
e. Read Matthew 27:46—And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
f. Christ has just shown those present at His crucifixion, and now us, that God cannot tolerate and cannot be in the presence of sin, not even when it is borne by His own son.
g. So if Christ has been separated from God because of bearing sins He did not commit, how can we be any less separated for bearing sins we have committed?
h. At this moment in the crucifixion, the sins of the world were placed upon him.
(1) Read 2 Corinthians 5:21—For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2) This verse is one of the most important in all of Scripture for understanding the meaning of the atonement and justification.
(3) But, we should not ever misinterpret Paul’s statement here. Christ didn’t become sinful at this point.
(4) God the Father made Christ to be regarded and treated as “sin” even though Christ himself never sinned.
(5) Our sins were placed on Him, but they were not in Him—God made Him to be a sin-offering on our behalf.