My God, My God, Why have you Forsaken Me.

Last evening at Surfside Pres we had a wonderful communion service.  We focused on “The Seven Sayings of Christ from the Cross.”  After each saying was read, a pastor reflected on the meaning of the phrase, then that thought was closed with the leader saying, “We adore you O Christ and bless you.”  The congregation responded, “By your cross, you have redeemed the world.”  I especially focused on the fourth saying of Christ found in Matthew 27:45-46. This is where Christ screams out, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”

My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

At about the ninth hour, Jesus cried these words from the cross.  In the recorded history of Christ that we have in the gospels, the most common way that Jesus made reference to God was Father.  He called him Abba.  Dada. Papa.  The first words of a little child calling out to their Father.  Of his Father, Jesus said things like:

“Just as my Papa knows me, I know my Papa.”
“I and my Abba are one.  If you have seen me, you have seen my Abba.”
“The Da-da is in me, and I am in the Da-da.”

Not only did he speak of God using this intimate term of endearment, he also gave us permission to do so.  He taught us to pray, telling us to begin our supplication, “Our Father, who is in heaven…”

How scandalous it was among the religious community that Jesus should refer to God with such a familiar term.  Yet he never wavered from speaking to and about His Father with this reference of affection and intimacy.  Until now.  Until this terrible ninth hour so long ago.

My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

These very same words were penned in Psalm 22 as a prophecy of the kind of death that Christ would endure.  A psalm that was written 600 years before Christ was born.  400 years before Crucifixion was invented.  A psalm that describes, in intimate detail the horror of the cross, the agony of Christ on the cursed tree. The psalmist writes,

I am poured out like water,  And all my bones are out of joint;   My heart is like wax;  It is melted within me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;  And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.  For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

At 3:00 in the afternoon on that horrible day, at the moment of the most intense despair than any human would ever experience – a moment filled with more agony than any man would ever know – Jesus screamed these haunting words into the forlorn afternoon sky.  A man of sorrows.  Forsaken.  Crushed.  Stricken and Afflicted.  Wounded and Abandoned.  The Son of Man endured the very Wrath of God.  The Lamb of God bore our stripes and carried our infirmities.  He was pierced for our transgression.  The sin of all his beloved elect was laid upon him.  He gave his life as our ransom.  So then, God made him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf. Christ Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  And so it is that by His wounds we are forgiven and by his stripes we are healed.

My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?
Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

Jesus cried out the words of the forsaken, the abandoned, and the orphaned, so that we might be freed to say the word that he had taught us to say – Father, Abba, Da-da, Papa.  He became orphaned that we might become sons.

And so…We Adore You O Christ and Bless you, by your Cross you have redeemed the world.

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