Summary: The fourth in a series on the seven sayings of Christ on the cross.
NOTE: After much study and reading, the line sometimes blurs between which thoughts are mine and which ones come from someone else. Having said that -- thanks to Ray Pritchard and C.H. Spurgeon.
Today we continue looking at the seven final statements Jesus made on the cross . . . Seven statements that reveal the heart of the Savior.
Importance of context > the story of God’s love for us and our need for Him
So Far >>
* “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)
* Today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
* Woman, behold your son. John, here is your mother. (John 19:26-27)
Today >> 4th cry from cross not a statement but a question . . . one of the toughest questions – “Why?”
Matt 27:45-46 (NIV)
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 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?"
This is a tough passage, for it may spawn more questions than it answers . . . The biggest being how could God abandon his own son?
It is said that 16th c. theologian Martin Luther once sat in his study for hours to meditate on this passage. For hours he sat oblivious to the world around him. Finally, someone heard him say, “God forsaking God . . . no one can understand that” and he went on about his business.
The great 19th c. preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, preached a message on this passage and said, “I think I can understand the words, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" as they are written by David in the 22nd Psalm; but the same words, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" when uttered by Jesus on the cross, I cannot comprehend, so I shall not pretend to be able to explain them.”
This is one of the most difficult passages of Scripture, yet it is one that, when viewed a little more deeply, should offer us hope.
There’s not a whole lot here to peel back as far as the language is concerned other than to look at the word forsaken.
• God-forsaken place / God-forsaken land a place no one wants to be
• Literally means abandoned, left alone, deserted
Did you ever feel abandoned as a kid?
Once when I was about 5, I was with my mom shopping at Sears. I remember doing what a little kids do when they’re bored of shopping – I started hiding and weaving in and out of the clothes racks – always staying close to where my mom was. Finally, I popped out one time and she wasn’t there. I looked both ways down the aisle and she was nowhere to be found. So, I did the only thing a 5 year old could do – I began to wail and cry. It was a horrible, lonely, terrifying feeling.
Keep the setting in mind here. Not only has Christ endured the all the pain / suffering / humiliation of the trials / mockings / scourging / crucifixion, but it has just been dark for 3 hours in the middle of the day. Three hours in seeming isolation. Three of the brightest hours of the day turned to the three darkest hours of night.
Some have suggested that these hours of darkness were when the Father literally turned his back on the scene and the sun was no longer able to stay lit without the radiance of God’s glory.
Some have called it the shadow of God’s back.
Whatever you call it, it was obviously the loneliest time in the life of Christ. Notice the change in the relationship – Jesus always addressed God as Father, but here he has become as distant as a sinful man crying out to his God.
In the midst of this cry we are able to catch a glimpse into the depth of Christ’s suffering on the cross. His physical pain was torturous. Emotionally he was worn out. But spiritually was where the real pain and suffering were. The spiritual agony of taking on the sin of the world was more than anyone should have to endure.
At this moment, Christ was not the beloved Son in whom the Father was well-pleased (Matt. 3 / Matt. 17), but instead he was now the object of God’s wrath. At this moment Christ was becoming the atonement / payment for our sin.
Rom. 6:33 – “The wages of sin is death…”
Every sin you and I have ever committed … every bad thought … every slip of the tongue … every act of disobedience … every time we’ve given someone the stink-eye … every time we’ve made that cutting remark … every time we’ve allowed our eyes to dwell on something that doesn’t glorify God … every sin was piled on the back of the Savior.