Summary: A message to explore the internal agony of the Savior as He hung on the Cross.
Text: Psalm 22:1-8
The Prayer of the Cross: Here we find in the narrative a vivid portrayal of Christ’s isolation, the abandonment of His Father with which He endured upon the tree. Some of these words were spoken from the cross, others were the substance of internalized prayer offered in the face of His darkest hour.
This is Jesus’ third utterance upon the cross, when He felt the Father turn His back on His own dear Son as Jesus’ soul was made an offering for sin. The Sin-bearer, now soiled with the sin and made a sacrifice, and the object of the ire of God and man, thus is made a curse and brought to an open shame.
Context of the Prayer: At the time of Jesus’ cry “Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani,” darkness covers the earth. As evidence that One so notable hung on the cross, the midday becomes as midnight.
Historically, this great eclipse and prevailing darkness struck terror in to the hearts of those that lived through it. Eusebius and other early church fathers record of that day that men felt as though the end of the world had come, and divine judgment would swiftly fall. No doubt this terror prevailed in Jerusalem as well.
Not even the darkness and thunderings assuage the cruel mockings of the wicked sons of men about the cross.
I. The Isolation of the Cross: Witness the strong cryings of Christ to God as a model for our prayers
A. Hear the questions of His pure and undefiled heart (v.1 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?)
i. Why hast thou forsaken me?
1. What is the cause?
2. Why the estrangement? You had always found pleasure in me. “Behold, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.”
3. We have ever been one, and now I know thou hast left me.
ii. Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
1. Will you not even give ear to my prayer?
a. The vile sinner, with a heart as black as night can cry unto God and God will hear his feeble plea.
b. But for the Saviour there was no such hope.
2. Hear my persistent cryings until my voice has no more strength.
B. Hear the isolation thus felt by Christ upon the Cross (v.2 “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.”)
C. Hear the consolation of His faith in the nature of the Father (v.3-5 “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.”)
II. The Shame of the Cross: Witness the depth of the abasement of Christ as a foundation for our hope in prayer
A. See how the Spotless Lamb feels in the midst of His agony (v.6a “But I am a worm, and no man”)
i. Defenseless as this lowly creature. Unable to protect myself from the injustice of other men.
ii. Considered good for nothing but to be trodden upon.
B. See how few were willing to stand for Him (v.6b “a reproach of men”)
i. Men did not want to associate with Him, not even to be seen with Him.
C. See how He was esteemed among His own (v.6c “and despised of the people.”)
i. The people although recipients of His good works, still despised Him.
1. They despised His goodness.
2. They despised His words.
ii. They esteem their own sin and sinful ways.
D. Hear the scorn the Saviour endured in the face of His prayers (v.7-8 “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord to deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”)
i. It was no secret to any that knew him and yet did not claim Him, that He trusted on the Lord, and that He delighted in God. This speaks to Jesus’ disposition in the presence of others. How one must have felt that the Son lived in constant communion with the father.
III. Application: The Hope of the Cross: He was forsaken so that we may be reconciled and thereafter always trust in God’s fidelity toward us.
A. Hebrews 4:14-16, “Seeing we have a great high priest,
i. He not only officiating the sacrifice in the office of High Priest, but He BECAME THE SACRIFICE.
ii. He suffered as a transgressor under the law, in our stead, to grant us the liberty to be able to approach unto God and be reconciled, and as a child of God, to bear the right by birth to come before the royal throne time and time again.