Matt 27:45-50 My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? 3/30/2003
#1. Darkness Over All the Land (Matt 27:45, Isa 53:10, Gal 3:13 John 15:6, Matt 25:30)
#2. The Prayer of Elijah (I King 18:30-37, John 17:2)
#3. All Things Were Now Accomplished (John 19:28, Isa 46:9-10, Matt 27:51-54, Isa 43:25)
Please open the sermon outline that is your Bulletin. There are valuable notes in between the titles. And now, please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, chapter 27:35 (2X). The title of the sermon today is: "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?" As you know, this is one of the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross. I intend to use one of those seven sayings of Jesus each time we have a Lord's Supper service. Perhaps you have noticed that we had already two of those, on September 29 and on December 29. Let us read here in Matt 27 how God orchestrated the events at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first thing we notice is that Jesus is called:
Matthew 27:35-36 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there;
M 27:37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Is this really true? Is Jesus really the King of the Jews? Does this mean that if I am a Gentile, that Jesus is not my King? Does this mean then that Jesus did not die for me? No! This is a gross error in interpreting the expression "His people". The angel said to Joseph in Matt 1:21, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins". And HOW shall He save His people from their sins? By suffering and dying for their sins on the cross, and by rising again the third day. That is how He shall save His people. In other words, all those for whom the Lord Jesus suffered and died are called "His people". His people includes a remnant from the Jews, and His people includes a remnant from the Gentiles. But are WE then also called Jews? Absolutely! God says in Rom 2:28-29, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God". Therefore, when Pilate wrote this accusation to be hung over Jesus' head, Pilate was absolutely correct. And then we read in Matt 27:38-44,
Matthew 27:38-39 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
Matthew 27:40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Matthew 27:41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
Matthew 27:42-43 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
Matthew 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
Those who were outwardly Jews reviled Him. They were circumcised in the flesh, but not in their hearts. Even the two thieves on the crosses next to Jesus reviled Him. Everyone was reviling and humiliating Jesus. In fact, Pilate was the only one who honored Jesus by writing the accusation over Jesus' head. Everyone else was humiliating Jesus. From where did Pilate get this wisdom? This did not come out of Pilate's own wisdom. God was influencing Pilate to write these words, so that these words became part of the Bible, the Word of God, and the words from God. Then we read: There was
#1. Darkness Over All the Land (Matt 27:45, Isa 53:10, Gal 3:13 John 15:6, Matt 25:30).
Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
It means that from about 12 Noon until about 3 O'clock in the afternoon there was darkness over all the earth, because that is what we read in the Gospel according to Luke. The entire earth was engulfed in darkness. Why would God create this darkness? God created this darkness to let us know WHAT the Lord Jesus had to endure in our place. From time to time I get questioned regarding my belief that Jesus suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell in His Soul. People want a proof of that.
Children listen to me. When I say "Equivalent", I do not mean "Equal". What is the meaning of the word "equivalent"? I have written that word on the board, so that you can spell it. Let me give you an example. Suppose that I am a butcher. I shop at the Farmer's Market and there I buy a cow for $500.
That cow is not equal to $500, but that cow is equivalent to $500. That is the meaning of equivalent.
This is mathematical symbol for "equivalent". In my example the equation is: "Cow" $500.
#1 Not only did the righteousness of God require that Jesus must suffer the equivalent of eternal damnation for our sins, and #2 not only must Jesus "make His Soul an offering for sin", according to Isa 53:10, and #3 not only had Jesus come under the curse of God, for "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree" (Gal 3:13), and #4 not only was Jesus "cast forth as The Branch into the fire", according to John 15:6, and #5 not only was Jesus forsaken by God as if He was left in Hell forever, but #6 Christ also had to suffer in the midst of a darkness that resembled the outer darkness of Hell itself, according to Matt 25:30. This darkness was for us the evidence that this entire world was in the clutches of Satan, and that Christ had to suffer the agony for our sins alone, all by Himself, abandoned by man and by God. God indicated hereby to us that the Lord Jesus in His Soul was suffering in the midst of Hell. But think of the marvelous consequences of this Atonement. God says that He placed all those whom He chose to salvation in Christ. We were in Christ before the foundation of the world. We were in Christ when He was conceived in the womb of Mary about 2000 years ago. We were in Christ when He hung on the cross enduring Hell for us. We were in Christ when He was buried in a dark tomb, and when His body was raised from the tomb on Sunday morning. And we were in Christ when He ascended into heaven and reigns from there as King of kings and Lord of lords. We are reigning there with Him, because we have become citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem. Since we have in principle already endured Hell for our sins when Christ suffered Hell for us, therefore God will never send us to Hell again, because we have already been there. God will never drag us before the Judgment seat of Christ, because we have already been there. But all these statements could not be true if Christ had not truly paid the full price for our sins. And when the suffering was most intense, at the end of the 3 hours of darkness, the Lord Jesus cried:
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 is amazing. God had forsaken Jesus. The heavenly Father, with whom He communicated for many hours, had abandoned the Lord Jesus, because He was laden with our sins, and our sins were an abhorrence to God. Notice how Jesus addresses Him. He does not address Him as "Father", but as the more general "My God". To be forsaken by God is the most frightful of all evils. To be forsaken by God means that we do not have green grass under our feet, and we do not have clean air to breathe; it means we do not have light from the sun and we do not have clean water from the rain; it means we have no clothes to cover us, and we have no pleasant temperature like in California, because these are all graces from God, free gifts from God, bestowed upon the just and on the unjust. But after this world has come to an end, God will no longer bestow such free gifts upon the unjust. To be forsaken by God is equivalent to Hell. This was the moment the concentrated wrath of heaven descended on the Lord Jesus, and He cried: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Here was a fire that burned infinitely fiercer than Nebuchadnezzar's furnace. These words of unparalleled grief reflected the fullest manifestation of Divine love, and it was the most awe-inspiring display of God's inflexible justice. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23), but the wages of sin is not physical death. Our physical death is only a shadow of the 2nd death. The 2nd death is really the wages of our sin. At the cross the Lord Jesus Christ received the wages of sin, which is the 2nd death.
The Atonement of the Lord Jesus must be viewed from at least 4 different vantage points. Let me list here 4 points. #1. At the cross man did a work: he displayed his depravity by taking the Perfect One, and with 'wicked hands" nailed Him to the tree. #2. At the cross Satan did a work: he displayed his enmity against the woman's Seed by bruising His heel. #3. At the cross the Lord Jesus did a work: He died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. #4. At the cross God did a work: God demonstrated His holiness and satisfied His justice by pouring out His wrath on Him who was made sin for us, in our place. To these four points I could add the following: #5 At the cross we see that Christ was made our Sin-offering, and there we remember that the sin-offering was an animal sacrifice that was burned in the fire. #6 At the cross then, we see that God "spared not His own Son" (Rom 8:32) when He hung there in the sinner's place. #7 At the cross Jesus had absolutely nothing to rest upon except His Father's covenant and promise that He would not leave His Soul in Hell. #8 At the cross we see that there was no way of transferring sin without also transferring its penalty. #9 At the cross we learn that this cry from our Savior was uttered that we might be allowed to know of what passed there. But there are consequences of us knowing all of this.
Our God is merciful: the fact that He has provided a Savior proves it. The fact that He invites us to believe on Him is an evidence of His mercy. The fact that He has been so longsuffering with us, and that He has borne the insults of our sins proves it. But if we continue to be in rebellion against His law we are put on notice that there is a limit to God's longsuffering. The time of mercy will soon be ended. And in the Day of Judgment God will avenge the mercy we have scorned. If God "spared not His own Son" when sin was found on Him, what possible hope is there for anyone who dies in his sins? Then,
Matthew 27:47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
Matthew 27:48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
Matthew 27:49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
Matthew 27:50 ¶ Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
What were they doing when they gave Him vinegar to drink? Well, they were fulfilling Scripture. But they also were humiliating the Lord Jesus. Verse 49 says that they expected Elijah to save Him. Just imagine. Could a human being take God off the cross? Clearly, they were speaking of Christ as those who had a mind of unbelief. They that stood around the cross were mocking Him. They said among each other, "This man calls for Elijah". Now, from the many sayings around the cross, why did God choose to put this saying in the Bible? When people hear the name of Elijah, what is the first thing that comes to their mind? It was the event when God kindled a fire at Mount Carmel. Put a sticker here in Matthew 27, and please turn to the prophecy of I Kings 18:30 (2X).
#2. The Prayer of Elijah (I King 18:30-37, John 17:2)
In about 870 BC Ahab ruled over the Northern kingdom of Israel. Ahab was a wicked king, and he had married a wicked Canaanite princess by the name of Jezebel. Therefore God sent the prophet Elijah to this wicked nation with the message that there would be neither dew nor rain for a number of years. After 3½ years God sent Elijah again to the nation of Israel to announce the coming of rain. Elijah summoned the king, and his 450 prophets of Baal, and all the nobles of Israel to Mount Carmel. There at the top of Mount Carmel Elijah proposed a contest between the powers of Jehovah and of Baal. Elijah would have an altar with a bullock on it, and the 450 prophets of Baal would have an altar with a bullock on it. Neither side would put fire under the altar. The God who answered their prayers by fire would be the true God. All the people agreed. The prophets of Baal were first to call on Baal, but there was no answer. Then we read in I Kings 18:30,
1 Kings 18:30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
1 Kings 18:31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
1 Kings 18:32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench
about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
1 Kings 18:33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
1 Kings 18:34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
1 Kings 18:35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
Kings 18:36-37 And it came to pass at (
time of) the offering of the ( evening) sacrifice, that
Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Jehovah God of Abraham, Isaac, and of
Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that
I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy
word. Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that
Thou art Jehovah God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back
From the NT we know that all the OT sacrifices were pictures and shadows of the atoning death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Elijah prayed like the Lord Jesus prayed in the upper room, just before He went to be bound and be crucified. The name Elijah means, "My God Jehovah". Elijah's words in verse 36 are: "Let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel". Both Jesus and Elijah prayed that God would glorify Himself on this day in a very special way. And we know that God granted that request on Mount Carmel, as well as 900 years later on Golgotha. Secondly, Elijah prays: "Let it be known that I am Thy servant". The Lord Jesus is known as "The Suffering Servant of Jehovah". He was the Suffering Servant of Jehovah to pay for the sins of His Elect people, "that He (Christ) should give eternal life to as many as Thou (the Father) hast given Him" (John 17:2). Thirdly, Elijah prays: "I have done all these things at Thy word". It means that all the actions of Elijah were in obedience to the instructions he received from God. Jesus also prayed that He may successfully complete all that the Father had given Him to do. Fourthly, Elijah prayed: "That this people may know that Thou hast turned their heart back again". God is the one who turns our hearts to Jesus, and God does that for everyone of His Elect. And God answered by:
1 Kings 18:38 Then the fire of Jehovah fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
1 Kings 18:39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, Jehovah, he is the God; Jehovah, he is the God.
1 Kings 18:40 And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
What has fire to do with all of this? The fire of the Lord always has to do with Judgment. It is symbolic of Hellfire. The judgment of God, or the wrath of God, is manifested as Hellfire. Here on Mount Carmel the fire of Jehovah fell upon the sacrifice that was upon the altar. It signified God's approval of the sacrifice that was on the altar. Keep in mind now that this sacrifice was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. There at Golgotha it was a sacrifice, which also carried God's approval. But where was the fire at Golgotha? The fire of God burned within the Lord Jesus, in His Soul. The fire from the Lord on Mount Carmel clearly tells us that the wrath of God was poured out upon the Lord Jesus Christ, because He was laden with the guilt of our sins. This was the fire of the wrath of God upon our sins. The same fire consumed Nadab and Abihu, who offered strange fire in the tabernacle. Their sin was immediately dealt with because they were appointed priests of Jehovah God. But since they were not God they were consumed in an instant. This tells us that the wrath of God on the Lord Jesus was as fierce as Hellfire. He stood guilty for a great deal more sins than Nadab and Abihu were. That is why on Mount Carmel the fire of the Lord fell on the sacrifice, the bullock, representing the Lord Jesus Christ. The fire also fell on the wood, which is the same word as tree, which represented the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The fire also fell on the twelve stones representing the Israel of God, which means that we were totally identified with the Lord Jesus in His death and in His resurrection. The fire also fell on the dust, because the dust represents our human bodies, which are made of dust and return to dust. It indicates that these human bodies we presently have will be done away and will be replaced by glorified bodies of a heavenly nature. The fire also fell on the water in the trench, which means that the Gospel with which we presently surround the cross of Christ will also be done away, and will be replaced by a more perfect understanding of God's Word.
Please turn now to the Gospel according to John, chapter 19:28 (2X), where we read:
#3. All Things Were Now Accomplished (John 19:28, Isa 46:9-10, Matt 27:51-54, Isa 43:25)
In John 19:28 we are entering at exactly the same point in time as in Matthew, where they gave Jesus vinegar to drink. In Matthew we see it from the vantage point of man, who continued to ridicule and humiliate the Lord Jesus. The apostle John shows us the same scene from a different vantage point. It is from the vantage point of God. It begins with these memorable words:
John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, "I thirst".
After this, means after the 3 hours of darkness, after Jesus had gone through the pit of Hell, and after He had cried out: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Then we read: "Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished". What was accomplished? Well, what was God's purpose in nailing Jesus to the cross? All that was now accomplished. Every sin of every one of the Elect was now paid for. Can we then also say that every sin of every one of the Reprobate were now passed by? Absolutely YES! Does God know every one who will be born into this world down to the end of time? Absolutely YES! God says in Isa 46:9-10, "For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure". Our God not only knows the end from the beginning, He declares the end from the beginning, and He will do what His counsel declared to be done from the beginning until the end of time. Therefore God knows every one of His elect by name, and He also knows every one of the Reprobate by name. Everything was now finalized, signed and sealed in blood. It was as final as if Judgment Day had already arrived. That is why Friday, April 3, in the year 33AD, is called the first Judgment Day. From this time forward all of history is the outworking of this, which was signed and sealed in blood on the cross. Please turn again to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 27:51 (2X). And that is why we see in the following verses of Matt 27 as if the final Judgment Day has arrived. There was a great earthquake, and the rocks split, and the saints received their glorified bodies and went to be with Christ, and the unsaved people acknowledged that Jesus Christ is Lord. We read about all this here in Matt 27:51-54,
Matthew 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
Matthew 27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Mt 27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
Were they really converted because they saw the signs? No way! This is not the way God saves people. God saves people by first making them see that they are in need of a Savior, and then by giving them faith. And when we have received that faith, we know where to put our trust. We put our trust in the cross of Christ. We put our trust in the fact that Christ paid the full price for all our sins. We put our trust in the words of the Bible. When God says in Isa 43:25, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins", we believe that this is true.
Where really do you put your trust in? Can you say, with the saints of the past 200 years, the words that reflect your trust in the cross of Christ?
· Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee; let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure: save from guilt and make me pure.
· Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy law's demands; could my zeal no languor know,
could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; Thou must save, and Thou alone.
· Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling; naked come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace; foul I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.
· While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyelids close in death, when I rise to worlds unknown,
see Thee on Thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.
These are the words of Hymn # 388, which we are going to sing about 15 minutes from now.
Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.