Independence Baptist Church
P. O. Box 70 124 South Main Foristell, Missouri 63348 636-673-2180 August, 2001
The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross
The Fourth Saying – The Word of Anguish
By Wayne Reynolds, Pastor
The fourth saying of Jesus Christ while he was on the cross was a word of anguish and was taken from 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?" This passage fulfills the prophecy given in Psalm 22:1, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?"
No mere man uttered this cry. It was the God-man, Jesus Christ: the beloved Son of God. Matthew 3:17 records, "…Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." It is important to understand that Jesus was much beloved of his father. A father that loves his son will not lightly inflict pain on that son. But it was necessary that God turn his back on his beloved son. Jesus was taking the place of sinners, bearing their sin, and God could not look upon sin. Therefore God turned his back on his beloved son.
To better understand the torment Christ was going through, look at the word "forsaken." God was not merely refusing to shine brightly upon Christ, but actually forsook Him. Proverbs 8:30 states that Jesus was daily the delight of God. Literally, Jesus had been with God in his every endeavor. It is well realized that the trinity cannot be separated, but in God’s own majesty and power, it was here divided. Jesus Christ had no place with his father. Actually, God was separated from God. The impossible had happened. Great was the grief of Christ as he hung all alone upon Calvary’s tree, for he had never before been separated from his father. Who can ever understand the loss Christ was experiencing?
Christ uttered not a word when his disciples forsook him, or when the soldiers had mocked him, or when they undressed him and nailed him to the cross, or when they gambled for his garment, or when the thieves had railed on him. When all his earthly friends had vanished, deserted him, Christ had uttered not a word. But now His Father had forsaken him. Then and only then did Christ cry out in anguish. Christ looked to his Father for all his strength. And now that strength was gone. Christ was alone because he was bearing our sins.
Shouldn’t we, as saved people, constantly pray and have communion with our heavenly Father? As Christians, we should not mind when earthly friends forsake us, which they will do. But notice what Hebrews 13:5 states, "…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." The blessing we have as saved people is that God will never forsake us because Jesus Christ took our place in being forsaken.
Matthew 27:45 records that there was darkness over the face of the earth for three hours. This was not a natural darkness, but a super-natural darkness. This was not an eclipse of the sun!! There was darkness over the face of the earth because God had forsaken his son. God would not look upon his only begotten son because Jesus Christ was bearing our sins. God cannot look upon sin, and he would not look upon Jesus because Jesus was filled with our sins.
Another reason darkness was over the earth was because God would not allow any man to look upon his son as he bore the awfulness of sin. No man would mock the Son of God as he paid the price for our eternal redemption. The price Jesus paid for our eternal redemption was paid in the secret of darkness. No person can fully understand the price Jesus paid, for it was the price of eternity.
The darkness a lost person is in is a spiritual darkness. That darkness is so great that lost people are completely dead to the love, grace, and mercy of a most holy and almighty God. The Bible states in Ephesians 2:1, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:" The spiritual darkness that surrounds a lost person is so great it is described as if that person is dead in trespasses and sins. John 3:19,20 states, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." This spiritual darkness of lost mankind was made manifest in actual darkness when Christ was crucified. Lost people need a redeemer, and Jesus Christ is that redeemer. Acts 4:12 declares the eternal truth, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Genesis 1:3 records that there was light upon the face of the world on the first day, but the sun and moon and stars were not created until the fourth day, Gen. 1:14-18. How was light possible when there was no sun or moon? Because God is the light of the world! John 3:19,20
Because God is the light of the world, and Jesus was bearing the sins of the world, God refused to look upon his only begotten son. Jesus was crucified at mid-day, but God heard not. Ps. 22:1,2 states, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent". This depicts for us the awful truth of Romans 6:23, which states, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Man may be able to stand when all his friends forsake him, but he will not be able to find any comfort when the God of the universe forsakes him. People who die without Christ as their own personal Saviour will not be able to call upon the name of God for anything. God cannot look upon sin.
There is a difference in spiritual death and physical death. The first death is the physical death. This is when the spirit and the soul leave the body. The second death is when that lost soul is cast into the Lake of Fire that burns forever and forever. Rev. 20:14,15 declares, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
When God says something, He means just that. Many people today say God is a God of mercy, and would not forsake any of His creation. These people say God will not let anyone go to hell. But they are mistaken. If God is such a God of mercy that he could not harm human beings regardless of what they did, why did God turn his back on his only begotten and beloved Son? Vengeance was poured out upon Jesus, even though he was the Son of God. God is indeed a God of mercy, but he is also a God of vengeance. Listen to Romans 12:19, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." God poured out his vengeance upon Jesus because he was bearing our sins. Jesus had no sins of his own, but we do have sins. Jesus bore our sins. God will pour out his GREAT vengeance upon all those who refuse to accept the sacrifice Christ has made for them on the cross of Calvary.
To get a small idea of the torments Christ went through on the cross, think of an eternity in the Lake of Fire. During this time, a lost sinner will be in the process of paying for his sin. But he will never be able to pay the cost. The lost person in hell will never be able to pay for his sin because he is still a sinner in the Lake of Fire, and continually sins. Therefore he has more and more sins to pay for.
Notice, Jesus paid for an eternity of damnation in three hours. Can you measure how much torment Jesus endured that we might have everlasting life? Jesus died that grasshoppers, as Isaiah 40:22 describes us, might have everlasting life.
Also notice that Jesus asked a question in his cry. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Some might think that Jesus didn’t understand why God had forsaken him. But Jesus was not asking a question he didn’t know the answer to. He desired that we study and find the answer for ourselves. Jesus has already asked and answered that question. Turn to Psalm 22:1-3. Here Jesus asked the very same question, adding that he cried out in the "supernatural" night. But notice verse 3. Jesus says, "But thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Jesus knew the answer to his question before he asked it, because his Father is holy, and Jesus was bearing our sins.
When we read Matt. 27:47-49, we might ask the question, did anybody believe Jesus was dying for their own personal sinfulness? Matthew 27:47-49 states, "Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him."
Some will hear, and some will believe. Will you be among those that believe, or will you be among those that reject? Acts 17:22-31 gives the story of Paul preaching the gospel message at Mars Hill. At the end of Paul’s message, Acts 17:32-34 records there were three types of hearers. "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, (1) some mocked: and (2) others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 (3) Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them."
If you are lost, be sure to heed the warnings given by our Saviour. Jesus was forsaken of his Father that we might not have to be forsaken. Jesus paid our sin debt; we don’t have to pay the cost. Just as surely as the Israelites were healed from the snakebite when they looked upon the brazen serpent, you can be saved if you look to Jesus for salvation. But remember, a head belief is not enough. You must repent that you are a sinner and believe in Jesus Christ as your personal saviour from your heart.