Today we are going to talk about one of the hardest phrases to understand from the cross….
“My God my God why have you forsaken me?”
Someone who felt forsaken by Jesus was Martha, one of Jesus’ closest friends
Martha – Marie
Martha felt the sting of being forsaken, when Lazarus died she felt forsaken, she knew if Jesus had come that he could heal her brother. She had called for him early enough…Lazarus was still alive, but when Jesus delayed she felt forsaken…
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22Buteven now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
Can you hear the disappointment in Martha? “If only you had been here” How often have you been disappointed in God, thinking that he let you down, only to discover that he just had a different plan, and if you trust Him, it will always be a better one…
On a first reading of hearing Jesus say, “My god my god why have you forsaken me” it can sound disappointing or perhaps it was simply Jesus crying from his heart
“…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks
It would be easy to believe that this moment, above all the torture, rejection, and ridicule was the moment Jesus was dreading the most in the Garden…feeling the full weight of the sin of mankind, sense of the Father abandoning Him (even though he didn’t Jesus felt the neglect of utter abandonment) This is the moment Jesus was dreading in the garden
He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Jesus in His facetime with the father is saying, if there is any other way for me to rescue the world from sin, death, Satan, and hell, let’s go to plan B
Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”
Jesus simply agrees with the Father and says, if there is no other way for me to get eternal facetime with humanity other than to overflow my soul this way, then Let’s do it!
Jesus on the cross in this last moments of life, was not only feeling the physical results of the torture but was now feeling the full weight of your sin and my sin, the pressure of the enemy demanding that justice be served.
But even in this he presents us with hope…Let’s look at this scene
After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. 36Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. 37A sign was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
39The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40“Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and comedown from the cross!”
41The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! 43He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.
45At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned (forsaken) me?”
47Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
Let’s take a look at these fourth words from the cross
46At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God,why have you abandoned (forsaken) me?”
One of the important lessons for us to learn here is that Jesus was being honest, he was telling us really how he felt
How many times have we come to church and someone asks us how we are doing and we say “fine” but inside we know we are not fine.
Jesus was showing us that in our anguish, rejection pain, it is OK to be honest. Allow people to love you to bring healing…Jesus wasn’t afraid to get real, to get honest and say it like he felt it
My God, My God why have you forsaken me
Believe it or not, this is not as negative a comment as it may seem.
Young Jewish boys, much like our children in children’s church today, were given the task of memorizing portions of scripture…from Genesis to Malachi these young children were given the task to memorize and then recite large portions…fortunately many of them were songs
When Jesus was on the cross dying a song came to his heart that he had memorized, it was sown into his heart like a seed to sprout at just the right time Psalm 22:1
“My God, my God why have you forsaken me”
This song was a song of lament, a song that people would sing when they were suffering. Everyone would have recognized it as Jesus spoke.
This song like many we know, as it is sung all the words flood through your mind…think of it, if you sing the first few words of Happy Birthday, row row row your boat, or “this is the song that never ends”
The whole song is in your head as you sing the first line…this is a tough song of lament but prophetic of Jesus condition
All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”
Then verses 16-18
For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
17 I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
18 They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
All of this was happening to Jesus so as he thought of the song, he was watching it be fulfilled in front of him
BUT THEN and we don’t know this for sure, but it is safe to assume, these verses came to heart
All the ends of the world, Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. For the kingdom isthe Lord’s
And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust
Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive. A
posterity shall serve Him.It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,
31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,That He has done this.
This chapter ends with the promise of the cross…all the earth will turn to the Lord…HE HAS DONE THIS!!!
This song that He memorized as a child, sown into his heart tells the story, the suffering and then the victory.
As he said this words and proclaimed them from the cross, the lament was there but also because of the seed sown, the promise was there also..
In Jesus’ greatest time of suffering, a seed sprouted that gave Him hope…His Father was reminding Him that the anguish was worth it and that even this would turn for good.
While Jesus may have felt forsaken, like you and I do sometimes, like Jesus, we are never really forsaken…Paul wrote in Romans 8:31Jesus is always interceding for us, Psalm 139tells us that the Father is always thinking about us, and the Holy Spirit lives in us…Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4)
We can’t trust our feelings, we always have to believe God’s word
But there is another subtle truth I want us to grasp here. Just as Jesus had seeds sown into him that brought truth and life so can we into those around us
Husbands and wives what are you sowing into each other
Father’s and mother’s what are you sowing into your children that will bring a harvest later
What types of seeds are you sowing at work, school, with your friends?
Every seed brings a harvest…start sowing good seeds today, something that will last a lifetime and bring a great harvest
Today if you are going through something and your feel forsaken, allow someone to pray for you so you can see that you never are nor will you be….if you don’t have a relationship with jesus you are right now and the Lord wants you to know that you don’t ever have to feel that way again
Allow the Lord to fill you up with hope, joy, and the blessings of a lifetime