Summary: When Jesus cries out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me!" He admits he has been forsaken by the one Person we expected to be his supporter to the end. But God cast his vote with the rest and says, guilty.
One of the greatest paradoxes of history is the story of the young English sailor by the
name of Noble. His job was to deliver a large cannon from Portsmouth, England to
Boston in the Colonies in the mid 1700's. After two days on the ship HMS INTREPID,
they encountered heavy weather. Ensign Noble hurriedly secured the cannon thinking
these ropes should hold it, for it doesn't look like that much of a storm. But he was
wrong. It was so intense that the cannon broke loose and began to rumble across the
deck, and they could hear the sound of wood splintering below. Ensign Noble came on
deck just as the loose weapon was rolling toward two sailors who were busy trying to
untangle some sails. He threw himself in front of the cannon and stopped it before it hit
its shipmates, but both his legs were broken by the weight of the cannon. This is where
the saying "Under the gun" came from.
The next day, the entire crew assembled for a special ceremony as the captain of the
ship bestowed on ensign Noble his countries highest award for heroism. He was in great
pain as the cheers went up, and the captain pinned on the metal. But then the captain
called for silence, for he had a more solemn duty to perform. Since the young ensign was
the cause for the problem in the first place for not securing the cannon properly, the
captain pronounced him guilty of dereliction of duty and sentenced him to die before a
firing squad; the sentence to be carried out immediately. He had just become a hero for
saving lives, and then was shot for being guilty of endangering lives. What a paradox!
He was a hero and a condemned criminal at the same time.
This same perplexing paradox confronts us as we look at the cross. Is Jesus dying as
our hero saving us from the consequences of sin? Yes he is, and that is why we glory in
the cross. On the other hand, is he dying because he deserved to die, and was actually
guilty? Look at the circumstantial evidence against Jesus.
1. He was betrayed by one of his closest companions. It is suspicious when one of your
own inner circle betrays you. It hints at something being known that is not available to
2. The rest of his disciples fled and did not fight to release their master. There seems to
be great doubt about his claims when he is so treated by his core group.
3. The highest court in the land convicted him of blasphemy. These were the most godly
and learned leaders of Israel. If they can't be trusted, who can?4. The mob of common people chose a known murderer to be released instead of Jesus.
They wanted Barabbas set free and clamored for the crucifixion of Jesus.
Now this circumstantial evidence does not convince us because we know they were all
blind, and Satan was pulling their strings. They were mere puppets for the forces of evil
in their sinister plot to kill the only truly innocent man whoever lived. But then we come
to the fourth word of Jesus on the cross, and we are shocked for it seems that God, the
ultimate judge, has reviewed all of this evidence and agrees with the sentence. The
supreme court of the universe let's the lower court's judgment stand.
When Jesus cries out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me!" He admits he
has been forsaken by the one Person we expected to be his supporter to the end. But God
cast his vote with the rest and says, guilty. How could his sinless Son be so godlessly
guilty that he was worthy of the cross? How can our Savior hero be abandoned as a
guilty criminal? The answer is, Jesus became our substitute. He took our place and
became as guilty as the sinners he died for. Paul put it clearly in II Cor. 5:21, "God
made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the
righteousness of God."
What a paradox! The sinless one becomes the very embodiment of sin, and thus, is
worthy of all the judgment that sin deserves. Jesus was, in fact, guilty of the sin of the
whole world. He was God-forsaken because he was the object of all God's wrath on sin.
He was worthy of all that sin deserved, and this means hell and total separation from
God. The greatest punishment of history was inflicted on Jesus because he was guilty.
He was as guilty as the sin he bore, and he bore the sins of the world. You may never
have owed anybody a dime in your life, but if you take on my debts and the debts of