The Fourth Last Word From The Cross
The Fourth Last Word From The Cross:
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
What would be the worst thing in the world for you? That thing that you would want to happen least in your life. Discuss.
Recap last three weeks.
Jesus was crucified at 9am in the morning. Now remember last week we said that at the time when Jesus was talking to His mother and the disciple John it was between 9am and 12 noon
- Week One – Father forgive them for they know not what they do – Forgiveness
- Week Two – Truly I say to you, today you will be in paradise – Salvation
- Week Three – Dear Woman here is your son, and to the disciple he said “Here is your mother” – Compassion
This is the first phase of Christs suffering – a time when He is nailed to the cross, where He is ridiculed, hated, abused and in agony as his wounds become swollen as his blood struggles to circulate throughout His body as He hangs limp on the cross, fever and exhaustion gripping Him. He struggles to breathe as he heaves himself up on the nails to take a full breath. This is the physical phase of His suffering. Yet He is at work even on the cross, even in His agony, He is at work.
- He asks forgiveness for his enemies
- He opens paradise for a repentant thief
- He assigns his beloved mother to John the apostle
Now the time has moved on to between noon and 3pm. Christ is still on the cross and about to enter His second phase of suffering and anguish
Read Matthew 27:45-46 – From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (Which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)
What does the text say happened during this time? It went dark.
What’s the unusual thing about this darkness? It is in the middle of the day.
Could there be a natural explanation for this darkness? Well, let’s see what some have proposed.
An eclipse maybe? First thing to understand is that no natural event is mentioned in the scripture, if there is a n earthquake it says so, if there is a flood it says so. If the moon passed in front of the sun, it probably would have said so. The other problem with this idea is that at the time of the darkness the Passover feast was occurring. (This was the feast to celebrate and remember the time when the Israelites placed the blood of a lamb on their doorframes so the angel of death would pass over their house).
The Passover feast always occurs on a full moon. At this time the Earth is between the moon and the sun. An eclipse can only happen when the moon is between the earth and the sun.
The other problem with this idea is that a naturally occurring eclipse of the Sun can only last about 7 and a half minutes, which is a long way from the 3 hours of this darkness.
So to get an idea of this it means the moon would have to jump 500,000 Kms, stop its spinning motion so as to stay still for 3 hours and then jump back the 500,000 kms to where it was before.
What significance, if any, does this darkness have? The darkness was a miracle to display Gods judgement. Darkness is a familiar symbol of punishment and judgement in the OT.
Exodus 10:22-23 – One of the 10 plagues of Egypt where God casts his judgement on the Egyptians
Isaiah 13:9-10 – this is a day described a cruel, with wrath and fierce anger. And the sun is darkened.
Amos 8:9 – A reference to a time when Christ will come as the ultimate judge
Joel 2:28-32 – When talking about the coming day of the Lord – one described as dreadful for those who will be judged without receiving Jesus.
And there are many more instances.
When Christ was on the cross God poured out His wrath at this time and the one he poured it out on was his son Jesus Christ. Christ was paying for the sins of the world. He was giving his life as a “ransom for many” (Matt 20:28)
The judgment, suffering and punishment that we would have endured on the final, terrible great day of the Lord, the last day of history was concentrated and placed on Jesus in the space of a few hours.
The darkness at the crucifixion represents God judgement on sin
2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. This was so that we could be right with God.
Now what time did the darkness end? 3pm
What were Christ’s words at this time? “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” (Which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)
How does Jesus speak these words? Loudly. This is the only statement made from Jesus on the cross where he actually yells out. The Greek word here is often used in scripture in indicate a scream or a roar. This is where we find our word to describe Jesus fourth last sentence from the cross. Anguish.
Can you imagine what it would be like to take the sins of the entire world upon your shoulders? WOW. We have enough trouble just looking after our own sin. We have enough pain and anguish when we do something wrong before God (And if you don’t you better check how much you hate sin). How do you think you would go with everyone’s sins laid upon you? A heavy burden to carry.
Why did God leave Jesus?
It is often said that moment when Christ bore the sins of the world, God looked away. He could not look upon the sin that was upon His Son and at this time Jesus was in His greatest anguish. This was a time when the eternal Son was separated from the eternal Father. Never before had Jesus experienced this separation and it caused Him great anguish. This fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 22
What can we learn?
- My God, My God….. In spite of all His suffering He did not waiver in His faith.
- It shows us the awful consequences of sin. We live in a time when if we mention that someone is a sinner we are called religious fanatics. But that does not make it any less true. Sin is all around us and the cross shows just how awful is it to God, where He would die in our place at the hands of sinful men to save us from the consequences of it.
- It shows that sin must be punished. This is why Christ hung on the cross, as punishment for our sins. We know God is a loving God but He is also perfectly Holy and Just. He is the pefect judge. If we wver hope to enter His kingdom the sin that we bear must be removed. This was done at the cross for all those who receive Christ as the one who has exchanged your sins for His life.
- It demonstrates for us the love of Christ. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Are you in anguish when you are separated from God? Do you cry out to Him in a loud and desperate plea.