Summary: A message about one of the last phrases spoken by Christ; "Why have you forsaken me?"

Why Have You Forsaken Me

Series: The Last Words of Christ

Brad Bailey – February 24th, 2008

Last words can often hold special significance. We can think of the last words spoken at the end of any conversation. They tend to define what lies between the two parties. The last words between a child and parent before they part can be so important. And ultimately we may think of the last words spoken before one passes away.. Perhaps you have sought a final word or even expression of love or forgiveness or blessing word with a family member before their passing.

Today we are going to begin with the first of four Sundays in which we focus on hearing afresh the last words of Christ before his death upon the cross…. concluding on Good Friday. We’ve chosen not to follow the order in which they were stated as they each speak for themselves.

Let us hear a portion of what was at hand as Jesus was crucified… and the words that culminate from the events.

Matthew 27:35-46 (NIV)

35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 "He saved others," they said, "but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ’I am the Son of God.’" 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. 45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

These may be the most profound words ever spoken.

If we really consider what is at hand in this moment… we begin to see that this moment underlies the grand drama between God and those whom He created in His image comes to a moment beyond imagination…a moment that reflects the reality that those whom God created to be his own… had given themselves over to another… and the darkness and destiny that had come into existence…and the price that is paid.. As I’ve sat with these words over the past week… I’ve begun to realize they reflect a cosmic cry… that echoes throughout all of time and space.

Early American history has a battle call that is referred to as “The shot that was heard around the world”… well this is the cry that was heard throughout the all that exists and all eternity.

And I begin to see the challenge that what is declared in the words of this cry must penetrate our dangerous familiarity with simply hearing and accepting that ‘Jesus died for us.’ While such words may be true… I believe that we have reduced something of cosmic proportions down to a propositional phrase that over time can easily run right past our hearts.

Never have I felt so incompetent to comment or expound on the words that God speaks through the Scriptures. For these are the words of a cosmic scream… that transcends our ability to fully grasp.

What lies in these words is more than words… more than something we can simply study and analyze. You cannot dissect a parent’s pain in the loss of a child… nor a child’s loss of a parent. How often when news commentators report of such tragedies… do we feel that they are striving to give new facts… when perhaps we just need to stop and face the feelings?

> So I simply want to help us truly hear this cry again… not simply to understand but to feel the reality at hand. … to hear these words in our hearts and souls..

At the center of this cry lies it’s defining reality…. that of being ‘forsaken.’

“Forsaken” means to abandon – to withdraw companionship, protection, or support from somebody; to Give Up - to give up, renounce, or sacrifice something that gives pleasure. (Encarta Dictionary)

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