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.