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SEVEN WORDS FROM THE CROSS IV - A Cry of Anguish

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작성자 최고관리자 작성일15-12-29 22:56 조회745회 댓글0건

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*In preparing this lecture in series, I have gained a great spiritual insight from Erwin W.    Lutzer’s Cries from the Cross (Chicago: Moody Press, 2002).  

 

 <Mark 15: 34>

 The Cross was the meeting place between God and man.  It was also the place where the divine nature and human nature of Jesus came to a head.  It was the arena where the holiness of God and the ugliness of man dueled.  It was the forum in which the love of God and the sins of man argued.

 

 The fourth word of the seven words from the Cross amply shows this point.  Today’s scripture, which comes from Mark 15: 34, is no different from Matthew 27: 46.  In the original manuscript, in Aramaic, it reads “Eloi eloi lama sabachthani?” which translate into “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?”

 

 Perhaps no other phrase succinctly reveals the suffering of the human Jesus.  Some even interpret this phrase as Jesus’ utter disappointment in God and His subsequent, complete loss of faith.  They say that before He died, Jesus gave up His faith in God due to the despair He felt in thinking that God had abandoned Him.

 

  But this is a wrong interpretation.  This phrase does not indicate Jesus’ despair or lack of faith.  On the contrary, this phrase proves the realization of the promise of the Bible, which states that in order to save man from his sins, God must completely abandon Jesus.

 

 The fourth word of the seven words from the Cross uses words written in Psalms 22: 1.  My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?  Why are You so far from helping Me, and the words of My groaning?” 

 

 The cries of anguish from the author of Psalms, asking why God had forsaken Him, are not words spoken by someone without faith.  Quite on the contrary, it is a cry from someone who had much faith in and expectations of God.  Likewise, Jesus had vested too many expectations in God, and when all that human hope unraveled, He cried out to God.  In this phrase lies the human suffering of the 100% human Jesus Christ.

 

 But God knew that only by completely forsaking His Son Jesus could He realize His work of human salvation.  So when Jesus yells out to God asking why He had forsaken Him, He is not implying that His relationship with God is being forsaken.  The Father-Son relationship between God and Jesus still exists.  Even in the midst of this cry, God is closely related to Jesus, who is also 100% divine.

 

 However, in order to save mankind, the fellowship between God and Jesus was being temporarily being abandoned as one of the necessary procedure.  So, in truth, Jesus, who is God, is abandoning Himself on the Cross in order to save mankind!

 

 1 Peter 3: 18 speaks.  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”  Even though He was guilty of no sins, Jesus took on all of our sins and had to be abandoned by God even to His death.

 

  The three previous words of the seven words from the Cross all took place in daylight.  But the fourth word that we read today was spoken when the dusk had descended and the day turned dark.  Take a look at Mark 15: 33.  Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” 

 

 Jews thought that the new day began at 6 o’clock in the morning.  So the Jewish 1 o’clock translates to 7 o’clock in the morning.  According to Mark 15: 25, Jesus was crucified at the third hour, or 9 o’clock in the morning.  The three hours after Jesus had been crucified, the day was bright; yet, on the sixth hour, or noon, darkness descended on the whole land.

  This darkness continued until the ninth hour, or 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  In another words, until Jesus breathed his last breath at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the entire world was dark for three hours.  While the world was still encased in darkness, Jesus spoke His last four words.

 

 Of the six hours that He was on the cross, three was in daylight.  But the other three hours was completely dark.  Then why did the day turn into the night in the middle of the day?  Was this some solar eclipse?  This was not some natural eclipse phenomenon; rather, it happened by will of God.

 

In the Bible, darkness is always associated with God’s judgment towards sins committed by humans.  Therefore, when darkness descends upon the world in mid-day, it symbolizes God’s judgment towards unrighteous humans who have crucified the Son of God on the Cross.  It actually represents God’s anger towards the depravity of man.

 

 More specifically, this darkness also symbolizes God judgment on His Son, Jesus Christ.  What does this mean?  Jesus, who was crucified on the Cross, did not bear the Cross for His own sins.  He took on our sins and subjected himself, in our stead, the humiliation, suffering, and death that we all should have suffered for our sins.

  

 Therefore, we must never forget the words of Isaiah 53: 5-6.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

 

 It is true.  The three hours in which darkness encased the whole land was the time in which Jesus took on our own sins.  It is the time in which He suffered God’s judgment in our place.

 

 According to Exodus 10: 21, among the ten miracles that Moses showed the king, the ninth miracle was three days of total darkness that descended on the land of Egypt.  After this catastrophe of darkness, the tenth catastrophe, through which all the first-borns in Egypt was slain, took place.  As you all know very well, the people of Israel were spared of this tenth catastrophe by smearing the blood of sheep on their door frames.

 

 Let’s think about this.  While Jesus, as the Little Lamb, was bleeding to death on the Cross to save us from our own sins, darkness descended upon the land for three hours!  Just as He expressed His judgment and anger towards the people of Egypt through three days of darkness, God is passing judgment on our sins through three hours of darkness.  And do not forget that the Passover redemption through the blood of lamb, which took place after this darkness, is not some coincidence but a meticulous plan of God.

  

 Let’s return to today’s scripture and take a look at the cry of Jesus.  “Eloi eloi lama sabachthani.”  The Aramaic word ‘Eloi’ is similar to ‘Elijah.’  Therefore, according to Mark 15: 35, those who stood near the Cross mistakenly believed that Jesus was calling for Elijah.  They thought that Jesus was calling Elijah to request salvation.

  

In fact, Elijah is the greatest prophet of the Old Testament who did not see death; rather, he rode on a chariot of fire to ascend into heaven (2 Kings 2: 11).  So, according to Mark 4: 5-6, Jews believed that moment before Armageddon, Prophet Elijah will return to restore the people of Israel.  Because of this reason, these people believed that Jesus was calling for Elijah. 

  

According to Mark 15: 36, on man takes sour grape wine, or fermented wine with vinegar, and soaks it with a sponge to put it on a reed to have Jesus drink from it.  He did not do this out of some sympathy for Christ.  According to verse 36, the reason for this is to ridicule and harass Jesus by seeing if “Elijah will come to take Him down.”

  

 But the important thing to get out of this episode is that Jesus was not calling for Elijah.  As the Son of God, He does not need to call for Elijah and ask for salvation.  He is a Greater Being that Elijah He is the Son of God.

 

 Instead, Jesus was crying out to God, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  Pay attention to the fact that throughout the Four Gospels, this is the only instance where He is calling God ‘God’ instead of ‘Father.’ 

 

 ‘Father’ is a very familiar term of endearment that express the father-son relationship of God and Jesus.  ‘God’ is a term that is much more distant than ‘Father.’  Then why is Jesus, at this moment, calling out ‘God’ instead of ‘Father?’

 

 By calling out ‘God,’ Jesus is showing that by taking on our sins, He has become a sinner like the rest of us and He has been abandoned by His Father, God.  This shows that this close father-son relationship was severed.  It means that only the cold, formal father-son lineage now exist between God, the fair yet stern Judge of man’s sins and His Son Jesus, who have taken on the sins of this world on His two shoulders.

 

 Let’s take a look at this word ‘forsaken.’  Jesus was completely abandoned by God on the Cross.  He was forsaken.  Just as a husband might abandon his wife, or children abandon their parents, God abandoned Jesus.  This does not mean that God had forsaken His own Son; rather, He had forsaken the mankind, whose sins have been borne by the human Jesus.

 

 Therefore, the Jesus being forsaken by God is ‘representative forsakenness.’  His forsakenness does not represent His sole forsakenness.  We were also forsaken by God for our sins.  This forsakenness represents God’s anger and judgment towards us for our own sins.

 According

to Nahum 1: 6, Prophet Nahum expresses God’s anger towards man’s sins as such: “Who can stand before His indignation?  And who can endure the fierceness of His anger?  His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.” 

 

 If God gets angry as such towards our sins, then Jesus has taken on God’s anger in our stead.  By being crucified and dying on the Cross, He has suffered through the great anger of God to save us.

 A man had to stand before a judge for a traffic violation.  The judge fined him $100 for his violations.  But since he was poor, this man had no means to pay the fine.

 

 The judge, who took pity on this man, did something that he did not have to do.  He rose from the bench, took off his robe, then stood before the defendant’s chair.  Then he took out a $100 bill from his wallet and paid the man’s fine.

 Then the judge went back to his bench, put his robe back on, and received the fine that he himself paid on behalf of this man.  Then the judge said to the man, “Thank you for paying the $100 fine.  You are cleared of all charges, you can freely leave as you wish.”

 Remember that the crucifixion of Christ when He suffered on the Cross and was forsaken by God is exactly like the episode I just described.  When we had to pay the fine, when we were deserving of executions for our sins, we could not afford to receive our punishment.  So God, who loves us, sent His Son Jesus to us to have Him pay our fines for us.  God made Jesus die on the Cross for us.

 

 So when Jesus was forsaken by God, God had forsaken Himself.  God abandoned Himself to prevent us from being completely cutoff from God, when we deserved to be cutoff.  So believe the fact that the Cross is the true, vivid expression of God’s love.

 

 Let’s wrap up today’s sermon.  A man who had nothing to do with God his entire life was dying in a small hut.  As his breath shortened and his death neared, he asked his daughter for a favor.  He asked that the candle on the table be extinguished.

 

 His daughter answered, “Father, no.  You cannot go in darkness.”  But the father was stubborn.  “It’s okay.  I want to die in darkness.”

 

 As he wished, this man lived his entire life in darkness and died in darkness.  What a tragic life!

 

 Those who live in Christ are no longer living in darkness.  When Jesus was crucified, during the three hours of darkness, He received in our stead the judgment of God.

 

 Besides, Jesus, who became the light of this world, has driven back the darkness and allows us to live in the light.  So 1 John 1: 5 speaks.  God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

 

We all must now live in the light and die in the light.  Jesus, who cried “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” has taken on God’s judgment on our behalf.

 

 Therefore, we must no longer live in darkness.  Through the Cross, the world of darkness has ended.  In the light, let’s live while loving our Lord and our neighbors.  Amen.   

 

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