LENT: Midweek Lenten Service Sermon – THE FAITHFUL WORD, Matthew 27:45–46
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45–46)
- This is Jesus’ third word/statement from the
cross – it’s a different word…a word directed to the Father, a cry of
abandonment and the God-forsakenness the comes from sin – our sin which He
bears on the cross, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
- Some onlookers would have recognized the opening
verses of Psalm 22, the desperate cries of King David in his time of trial, My
God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, from
the words of my groaning?
- They would have remembered David’s prophetic portrayal of a crucifixion long before crucifixions were even invented.
- For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
- Jesus’ statement highlights the prophetic nature
of His death
- This is no accident, no simple miscarriage of justice, no quirk of history.
- His death is writ large into every page of the Old Testament, it’s the thread that connects the Torah and the Prophets and the Psalms.
- King David’s sufferings are an OT picture of Jesus’ greater suffering on the cross.
- This was the plan of God from all eternity that the world would be saved through the death of the Son of David, the Son of God.
- But several people listening misunderstood Jesus’
cry; they thought He was calling for Elijah, Eli, Eli…
- They offer Jesus a drink of sour wine and wait to see if Elijah comes.
- But it’s not a cry for help; it’s a cry out of the depths of death and despair that He’s experiencing for all of humanity.
- Jesus experiences our abandonment, our darkness, our sin, our death in His own flesh.
- He became the Sinner, damned under God’s wrath, cursed on the tree. He is the adulterer, the thief, the murderer, the idolater. He is us.
- He willingly offers Himself on the altar of God’s justice for Adam’s sin and rebellion and ours and making it His own as Paul says in 2 Cor 5, For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
- Some onlookers would have recognized the opening verses of Psalm 22, the desperate cries of King David in his time of trial, My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
- Jesus, as our perfect Substitute, takes our
place and experiences the silence and darkness and despair that comes from sin.
- Sin drives a wedge not only between us but between
God and us.
- In our time of darkness and despair, we cry out, My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? but the truth is we have forsaken God.
- Is 53 reminds us that, We all like sheep have gone astray, each in his or her own way.
- We have turned from God; God has not turned from us.
- Jesus is in all the places we cry out, Where
are You? Why have You forsaken us?
- Why does God permit this to happen? Why do the innocent suffer? Why does a just God permit suffering and a merciful God not prevent it?
- That’s the paradox of faith: faith prays to the God who is silent, who appears to have withdrawn, who appears not to be there.
- But yet, like David who prayed these words before Him, He prays.
- This is faith that clings to the promise of God, that calls out “my God” when all that you have is the promise of God.
- Remember this faithful word when God seems to
have forsaken you on your dark Good Friday afternoon.
- Remember this cry of the Son of God calling out to heaven in your place, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? and know that God didn’t abandon Jesus in death or the grave but gave Him victory over both and has given that victory to you through faith.
- As Paul reminds us in I Cor 15, O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- And again in Rom 8, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- You are reconciled to God in Jesus. You are justified in Jesus. You are safe in Jesus. And you are never forsaken.
- Sin drives a wedge not only between us but between God and us.
For Your suffering in the darkness, for Your cry of abandonment, for Your becoming our sin so that we in You might become the righteousness of God, for Your taking upon Yourself our alienation, our division, our estrangement, our death, we give You thanks, most holy Jesus. Amen.