This is PART 4 of the 7 PART Series titled “7 Sayings of Christ on the Cross”.
7 Sayings of Christ on the Cross – PART 4
Christ’s 4TH Saying - (Matthew 27:46)
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
At the sixth hour, which is noon, suddenly and without any warning, the light of the world went out. There was a total darkness that lasted for the next three hours. Both Jews and the Roman Soldiers must have been very troubled. It seemed that our Lord was silent for most of these three hours. No one was moving because of the darkness. What would happen next? The suspense was building. Perhaps some of the Jews remembered when their ancestors were down in Egypt in the days of Moses, God sent a darkness that lasted for three days and nights. How long would this darkness last? But then, in that awful darkness, in the middle of the afternoon, He did not address God as His Father, but rather addressed Him as God. Even greater than that, Christ was talking about God forsaking Him. While Jesus did not address His Father, He did call upon God. As man, Jesus cried out to God in obedience and love.
Jesus was not questioning the divine plan. The last Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in Matthew (Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1). Jesus, in His dying hour, quoted prophecy, expressed faith in it, and fulfilled it. He totally understood the Messianic prophecy of Psalm 22:1. Jesus quoted this from Psalm 22:1. Isaiah prophesied that Jehovah’s Servant would be “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). The Christ would be forsaken, not because of hard times and harsh conditions, but because “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Jesus was forsaken by the Jews, His disciples, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. When Jesus came, we read that “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). Jesus was forsaken and accused by the religious leaders of His day (Luke 23:10) “the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him”. After the leaders apprehended Him in the garden, His own disciples “forsook Him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56). It is certainly clear that no other experience of abandonment in His earthly sojourn came close to His being forsaken by His Father.
Though He had previously known only unbroken divine fellowship from all eternity, Jesus experienced the horrible abandonment of His Father as God poured out His wrath on His Son as He bore the sins of the world. In what sense was Jesus forsaken by God? God approved His work. He was innocent. He had done nothing to forfeit the favor of God. God still loved Him. Christ’s intense sufferings were caused by our sins being laid on Him and the manifestation of God’s intense hatred of sin to His soul. This had never happened before. Why did the Father turn His back on the Son? Because Jesus was bearing the sin of the world, and God cannot look on sin (Habakkuk 1:13).
The torture and agony of the those few hours were horrible for Jesus, but the temporary alienation from God the Father was the ultimate pain. This sense of separation was intensified because Christ—as our substitute—actually took upon himself the full weight of guilt and punishment for every sin that has ever been committed or ever will be (II Corinthians 5:21). We cannot even begin to comprehend the sense of abandonment that Jesus felt as He hung on the cross. Here we see God’s Son, the Creator of the universe (John 1:1-3), not only rejected by His creation, but also isolated from the One who is everywhere. No human ever endured such a strong sense of judgment and isolation from God. Even though He had never sinned, God made him “to be sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21). He was “wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: ” (Isaiah 53:4-5) and He gave “his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; I Timothy 2:6). He died forsaken so that we would never have to be forsaken (Psalm 22). By his suffering, He restored to those who trust Him a right relationship with God (I Peter 1:19).
This cry speaks of the separation of the sinner from God, the worst punishment of all. Christ was taking the place of the sinner on the cross and so experienced this terrible separation. The plea, “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” indicates that when Christ was made sin for us (II Corinthians 5:21), because of the terrible nature of sin, the Father turned His back on His Son. Jesus was forsaken by the Father that we may never be forsaken by Him. He cried out as an orphan that we may never feel like orphans. Christ was cut off that we might never be cut off from God and His grace.
Points to Ponder:
Because Christ was forsaken by His Father, God will never leave us or forsake us (Psalm 37:23; Hebrews 13:5).
Jesus experienced separation from God for the sake of others who would not need to experience that same separation.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to shed His blood and die on the cross for my sins. Because of Jesus sacrificing Himself to pay the debt for my sins, I’ll never be forsaken by You. In Jesus name, Amen!
Thank you for reading PART 4 of the 7 PART Series titled “7 Sayings of Christ on the Cross”. Please visit this website tomorrow for Part 5.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.