My God…My God (Matthew 27:46)

Introduction

•  Seven times the Lord Jesus Christ spoke from the cross. First three last time at Lord’s Supper.

•  As cruel soldiers hammed in the nails – he said Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing .

•  While the Creator of all hung between heaven and earth He spoke to the thief crucified by His side and said in reply to his plea, and said – Today you shall be with me in paradise .

•  As He looked down and saw Mary and John – Woman behold your son….behold your mother .

•  At 12 noon when the mid eastern sun had reached its highest point, its zenith in the sky darkness came over all the land.

•  It remained pitch black until 3pm. – This was not an eclipse – Passover, full moon 3 hours.

•  Not too difficult to picture the scene as noon approaches – they are laughing and mocking, jeering and taunting.

•  But all of that suddenly dies down as the sky grows increasingly or instantly dark and the mockers are now silenced as they can no longer see the cross or one another.

•  This darkness is written of in pagan history. Experienced as far away as Egypt and noted in their writings.

•  Can you imagine the fear it must have cast over the crowds? Any good Jew knew that darkness was a picture of sin and judgment.

•  They had heard Christ speak of how men (John 3:19) loved darkness …speak of hell (Matthew 8:12 thrown outside into the darkness .

•  And as that visual aid, that picture of God’s wrath began to disappear the silence of Golgotha is broken by the fourth recorded statement of the Lord Jesus Christ from the cross.

•  The pathos of the words all the more when we have them recorded in the language that Christ spoke – Eloi, Eloi lamasabacthani – My God My God why have you forsaken me .

•  They are familiar words to us yet the most astonishing ever spoken. Someone has called this fourth cry as, the most appalling sound that ever pierced the atmosphere of this earth .

•  I say with Spurgeon as we come to examine it tonight – O that I had a tongue worthy of the subject .

•  Since I have begun to think on to prepare this address I have said with Robert Murray McCheyne – the more I meditate upon them the more impossible do I find it to unfold all that is contained in them .

•  An old preacher while preaching on these words urged his hearers – make a life study of that bitter and blessed question . As we study let’s note three things together.

1. Christ was Forsaken

•  Now let me clear away some false notions, the wrong interpretations about the Lord’s fourth cry

•  Some say that He simply felt forsaken and confused and that He was saying to God in a moment of depression – I feel as if you have deserted me .

•  They say that he was simply imagining this, or giving expression to his doubts wondering was God still there.

•  But that simply cannot be true – this was the most important moment of His work and ministry; this is what He knew was coming from all eternity. What He had set His face like flint towards.

•  How could he possibly have been confused? He knew exactly what was happening – accomplishing the redemption of sinners by suffering in their place – and if He was mistaken He was a sinner and not the Saviour.

•  So it wasn’t a cry of confusion.

•  Nor was it a cry for comfort reciting a psalm over and over and so delirious that He can’t get past the first line.

•  But that is not what the Bible says – His mind is crystal clear and notice v46 that this is a loud voice .

•  The people there that day said that he was calling Elijah – was that what was happening? Was He saying Elijah come and help me? NO

•  They heard the word Eloi, and they knew Elijah didn’t sound like Eloi, they knew Psalm 22v1, – and they knew what it meant just the same as you know what My God means.

•  Their interpretation was a mocking of Christ, pretending that they couldn’t understand. So it wasn’t a call for Elijah.

•  Nor was there any crack developing in the Godhead so that the Father and Son were separated. That is impossible – the Father and Son were still one in their being, in their wisdom, holiness, justice goodness and truth.

•  Nor was there any dissolving of the union of the two natures of Christ – for once He took on that human nature it was never dismissed or laid aside.

•  Let us not imagine either that the love of God to Him ceased or that God’s sustaining grace was wholly withdrawn – Isaiah 42:1 Behold My Servant whom I uphold .

•  Nor are we to think that He was forsaken finally – it was only a few dark hours that the cloud dwelled on his soul

•  So what was happening – well the only adequate explanation is that Christ was at that moment forsaken by His Father, the awesome fellowship of delight temporarily separated.

•  The words mean what they say – forsaken. Not just a feeling of being forsaking – but real, painful forsaking as He tread that winepress of wrath alone.

•  This was the most painful of all His sufferings – under all the other pains He uttered not a word, but this pierced Him deepest of all.

•  There is something mind jolting about that word isn’t there – forsaken – an extremely sad word.

•  A family get a little kitten for Christmas – by March it is tiger like, needing fed, scraping the furniture – they put it in a bag and forsake it at the side of the road.

•  Every now and then in the press there is a sad story – and elderly senile parent – family can no longer cope and they are left outside an A&E department with label – they are forsaken.

•  On a cold winter’s night a young teenage mother gives birth to a child – she can’t cope and forsakes the helpless infant among the rubbish in a plastic bag – forsaken.

•  A little boy is the only one in the family car that survives the impact –forsaken.

•  It is a fearful thing to be forsaken – and that is what the Lord Jesus Christ experienced.

•  The eternal Son of God forsaken by His Father who loved Him.

•  In the hour of His greatest need God the Father forsook His unique and now suffering Son.

•  He had experienced being forsaken by men and women – His only family abandoned Him, His disciples had all fled – forsaken, one who was especially close – Peter – forsakes Jesus with cursing; His fellow country men forsake him – crucify Him they cry.

•  And all of that abandonment pales into insignificance as the darkness dissipates over Golgotha and his cry rings out clearly – My God My God why have you forsaken Me ?

•  And as they nailed him to that cross He could cry Father forgive .

•  In a little while with His work done He will cry Father into you hands .

•  But now He can’t even say Father.

•  In all His work to date the Father was with Him – you remember at the grave of Lazarus – Father I thank you that You have heard Me. I knew that you always hear me .

•  From all eternity their fellowship was bright and glorious but now that unique communion was darkened bring from the Lord this cry – My God My God why have You forsaken Me ?

•  This was new for Christ – never had He missed His Father before, He had never seen a frown or a veil upon that blessed face before.

•  In the moment of the greatest agonies the light is gone.

•  I suppose the only way that we could try and put it in a picture – you know what it is like to be a brilliantly lighted place and then suddenly for the lights to go out – the darkness so deep.

•  The Lord Jesus had basked in the glorious light of His Father’s presence but now on the cross He is plunged into deep darkness, the blackness of separation, the pain of forsakenness, the agony of abandonment. Christ was forsaken.

2. Why Christ was Forsaken

•  You will know I am sure the account of Martin Luther’s efforts to study this verse.

•  He stopped eating, communicated with nobody, almost as if he was in a trance.

•  He grew weary, emaciated, worn out, and tired. His wife feared for his health.

•  He would pace up and down. He would sit staring at the page.

•  As he paced the room he was heard to have said over and over – God forsaken of God – who can understand it ?

•  One modern commentator is surely right when he comments on the cry – we cannot do more than walk in the shallows of this verse. We can never hope to plum all the ocean depths of its meaning. This cry is as deep as God Himself .

•  And yet we must try and put our toes into the edge of the ocean – for even doing that will bless us. And as Spurgeon said on this verse – we will adore where we cannot comprehend .

•  Now let us not imagine that the Lord didn’t understand what was happening. He knew perfectly. He knew from all eternity that this dark moment would come. This is what He had set His face towards Jerusalem for. His words simply a quotation of Psalm 22:1

•  The whole verse reads My God My God why have You forsaken Me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of My groaning .

•  The reformer Martin Bucer said that the word for groaning in that psalm is the howl or roar of a lion.

•  It is as if the Lord was saying – no words can express My agony – I will not speak but cry out volleys of groans – what pain He endured.

•  His why is like a sliver lining in a dark cloud – He knew that this was the way for saving sinners; that there was reason in what He was enduring. He knew that He would be deserted for a little while or the whole world deserted for all eternity.

•  That why was like a narrow window that brought light to his soul and He dwelt on it that we might dwell on it and bask in the wonder of His love.

•  What was the cause of all this?

•  Let’s step back a little and remind ourselves what God is like.

•  Psalm 22:3 You are enthroned as the Holy One .

•  I John 1:5 God is light. In Him there is no darkness at all .

•  In Habakkuk 1:13, Your eyes are too pure to look on evil .

•  God in all His perfect holiness cannot look on sin, His holiness so awesome, so consuming.

•  And what does the Bible tell us was happening at Golgotha ? An example, a martyr? NO

•  This One who hung on the cross was the sinless Son of God made flesh – never did or said or thought anything wrong, perfect in every way – Lamb without blemish .

•  Isaiah tells us what was happening – the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all .

•  Peter tells us what happened, He Himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree .

•  Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:21 God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us .

•  God took all of the sins of His people, those on whom He had set His choosing love and caused them to meet on His sinless Son as He hung on that cross.

•  My sin, your sin fellow Christian laid on Christ and there He suffered the penalty for our sin as though it were His own – the penalty of separation from God.

•  Willingly He bore our sins and was treated as the sinner in our place.

•  That is what was happening. He was forsaken to satisfy for our sin of forsaking God.

•  The punishment for forsaking God – to be forsaken – and Christ took that in our stead.

•  In grace God provided the means to satisfy His own justice – His only unique Son.

•  Fellow Christian – your sin He laid on Christ, put to His account, treated as if they were His, God saw your sin in Him and punished Him in your place.

•  Your worshipping other gods – work, family, sport, self God saw in Him and treated Him as a worshipper of false gods

•  Your idolatry – clinging to own ideas God saw in Him and treated Him as an idolater.

•  Your profaning of His name God saw in Him and treated Him as a blasphemer.

•  Your Sabbath breaking God saw in Him and treated Him as a Sabbath breaker

•  Your dishonour of mother and father God saw in Him and treated Him as a dishonouring son.

•  Your murderous thoughts and words God saw in Him and treated Him as a murderer

•  Your adulterous thoughts, wayward look God saw in Him and treated Him as an adulterer.

•  Your stealing from God and robbing of others God saw in Him and treated as a thief.

•  Your lies, half-truths God saw in Him and treated Him as liar in your place.

•  Your coveting of what others have God saw in Him and treated as a coveter in your stead.

•  This is the very heart of the gospel, what makes Christianity so unique – God giving His own son as the immense sacrifice in the place of others – treated guilty in the place of many.

•  He died as a substitute – all we like sheep have gone astray each of us has turned to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities . The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him .

•  Eloi, Eloi lamasabacthani – He was in hell for my sins, separated from light and love for me.

•  Forsaken for a while that we might be received forever.

3. What it Means for us that Christ was Forsaken

•  Doesn’t it remind us how terrible sin is?

•  We live in a world that makes light if sin, little flaws in our character, we smile and overlook.

•  God hates sin, it repulses Him – He cannot look for one moment on iniquity, He must punish it.

•  Sin is a serious business.

•  The person not a Christian is in grave danger. Your family, friends, colleagues.

•  When God saw sin in rebellious angels they were cast out.

•  When He saw sin in Sodom and Gomorrah it was punished.

•  When He saw sin in His own dear Son, though it was not His own sin – it was punished.

•  Why we must take the gospel to this town, plead and pray – sin is so terrible, the consequences so grave and there is only one safe place in union with the Lord Jesus Christ.

•  If Christ has not borne our sin we must bear it ourselves and find eternal separation in hell.

•  And for the Christian – how terrible our sin – it was our sin that caused that agony to be laid on Christ. Yours and mine.

•  Our lies are not trivial, our wrong thoughts not un important – they put them to death.

•  Let us not play games with sin, hold it to our bosom – what pain it brought to Christ.

•  Wouldn’t we imagine someone very strange to have a family member murdered and to take the murder weapon and treat it like some wonderful thing and keep with us. Cast it away, want nothing to do with it – so let us be done with sin then.

•  Doesn’t this cry of our Lord as our substitute remind us how much we owe Him – our all.

•  Is He asking some hard thing of you – what is hard compared to this?

•  Reflecting on the cross should change the Christian’s life, stir us up to love Him more and more who first loved us.

•  That is one of the reason this supper – that we would grow in grace, walk closer.

•  But most of all this cry speaks to us of the love of God, of the wonder of salvation

•  For the Christian there is not the slightest grain of punishment for sin due to us – Christ has taken it all, nothing left to pay.

•  Sometimes we look back on our lives – feel such shame – so many things that we did that were wrong.

•  We think if only I could put the clock back, if only I could erase that record of sin.

•  Jesus Christ did that when He cried My God

•  All your guilt has gone, there is no condemnation, He will never bring it up again; every sin erased.

•  And the broken bread and poured wine that we will partake of on Sabbath day is Christ saying to every believer I was abandoned so that you could look into that happy face of God and say Father.

•  I was separated so that you could hear my Father’s voice – never will I leave you never will I forsake you; you are precious to me.

•  This is the gospel that we will celebrate on Sabbath Jesus forsaken so that sinners could be held daily in the arms of a loving heavenly Father.

•  The Bread and wine crying out Eloi, Eloi, lama sabbachthani, My God My God why have you forsaken me

•  And we will whisper back – it was for me; he died in my place; took my hell that I would have his heaven – thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.