Summary: Jesus uttered three statements and then darkness fell. Then there was silence “until about the ninth hour”, 3 P.M. Darkness fell over the earth like a thick, hot blanket. And there was silence. Then just before He died, the Lord Jesus uttered again, sev
C R Brown
Series: Cross Sayings From The Christ
Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?
When you spend some time in the Word looking at the crucifixion, you soon find yourself consumed with emotion. At first glance, the casual reader might think the crucifixion lasted about an hour or less. But the Gospel writers with great detail tell us that the entire episode took up a quarter of a day. His hands and feet were nailed to wood at 9 A.M. He uttered three statements and then darkness fell. Then there was silence “until about the ninth hour”, 3 P.M. Darkness fell over the earth like a thick, hot blanket. And there was silence. Then just before He died, the Lord Jesus uttered again, several statements. Remember, there’s no such thing as surviving crucifixion. Death always comes.
Peter, an eyewitness, tells us that even though He was reviled, He didn’t revile in return. Isaiah tells us, “just like a little lamb before his shearers is silent” so he opened not His mouth in retaliation. In all, Jesus made seven statements from the cross. The first was toward those who crucified Him. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. The second was uttered to a thief hanging near Him and Jesus said, “This day you will be with me in Paradise”. The third statement was to His mother, He said, “Woman behold your son” and to John, “behold your mother”.
I. A Statement of Anguish (Matthew 27:45-56)
The fourth statement is the most anguishing of all and that’s the one Matthew records in Matthew chapter 27, verse 46. Called by one man the most staggering sentence in Gospel record, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” There was a thick darkness all around. It seemed as though nature bowed in sympathy as its Creator was put to death. It seems as though its heart is broken and it give no light. The darkness at the crucifixion of Christ represents God’s divine judgment on sin. The cross became the place for the pouring out of His wrath. Jesus was the recipient of divine judgment, God’s judgment upon sin. And in the darkness, out of that place where death existed, from that crown at Calvary, the words came. “My God! Why have You forsaken Me?” In Matthew 27:45, Matthew prepares the scene for us. (Read Matthew 27:45.) From noon until 3 in the afternoon there were two things present: darkness and silence. (Read Matthew 27:46.) Somewhere around three o’clock Matthew records Jesus makes this statement. There are three things I want you to see in this statement.
A. He Screamed the Statement
It’s not true of the other six statements, but it’s true of this one. Jesus screamed it. In verse 46, the words “cried out” are a combination of two words: to shout and it’s prefix is “up”. “To shout or scream up.” I6t is often used in Scripture for a guttural scream, a roar. In fact, Psalm 22 uses this word and renders it “roar”. Psalm 22 is one of the greatest of the Messianic Psalms. Look, please, at Psalm 22:14. This Psalm looks forward to the coming, the life, and the death of the Messiah. This is perhaps the most vivid account of Jesus’ person at Calvary. (Read Psalm 22:14-18.) You cannot deny that Psalm 22 is written about Messiah. In Psalm 22:1, the same words are found as in Matthew but given to us centuries before the Savior came. (Read Psalm 22:1.) A literal rendering of the word “groaning” is “roaring”. This same word used to describe the guttural roar and scream is used to describe the roar of a lion. Job uses it in his own book in his own account in chapter 3. In the terrible condition of his soul, Job describes himself as roaring or shrieking when his food was placed before him. (Read Job 3:24.) He said, “When that food was brought before me, my body cried out from the pain. I didn’t want food!” Now back to Matthew 27. That’s the word used for Jesus’ crying out. So in the darkness, picture it, there’s been silence then suddenly, abruptly there is the screaming from the lips of our Lord, “MY GOD! MY GOD! WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?” That seems to be the proper setting for the fourth statement Jesus gave.
B. Recorded Exactly As Jesus Said It
Notice that the statement is given to us exactly as Jesus said it. In fact, there is another sentence given to us in another language. The Holy Spirit has preserved it through the centuries in the transcribing of the text. The Holy Spirit made sure there is this original sentence in the original language, not translated into our language, “Eli, Eli, lama sabacth’oni!” Why does it appear like this? First of all, that is Aramaic and not Greek. Jesus spoke Aramaic; that was the tongue that He used. So we have reverted to the mother tongue of the Lord Jesus in this statement. Why? I believe it seems to capture the depth of feeling, the trauma that must have gone through the mind of Jesus at that moment. There’s nothing quite like the expressions of the mother tongue to get that feeling across. So He screamed this statement and it’s given to us exactly as He said it in Aramaic.