All the members of the Trinity were involved in the death of Christ on the cross. When Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?,” it revealed a dramatic mystery. Pastor Lutzer reflects on the wonder of the darkness and the question itself. What happened when the Father turned His back on the Son?
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” If you’ve been with us before you know that we are taking a journey into the heart of Jesus. We are looking at the words that Jesus spoke on the cross before He died. And today we come to saying number four. Now because there are seven, number four is the middle of the words spoken by Jesus on the cross. But it is the most dramatic, the most mysterious, the one that ought to attract our attention, the one that we ought to meditate upon often. I almost get chills thinking about what Jesus said when He was there on the cross, when He said, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
Now, by way of introduction, I have to make a couple of comments. First of all, let’s remember that we should not see God as angry. He is angry over sin but we should not think of God being the reluctant, angry deity and the Son being the loving sacrificial lamb. No, actually redemption was a part of the Trinity. They were united in redeeming and that’s why the Bible says that, “God so loved the world…” The Father also loved, even though His justice needed to be satisfied. And then something else that’s a little bit more theologically technical. Let’s remember that there was no break in the Trinity. It’s not as if their essence was somehow torn apart with this saying. There was a break in fellowship I believe but there was not a break in essence. So with that let’s contemplate the words that Jesus said there on the cross.
First of all the wonder of the darkness. Darkness came upon the earth at twelve noon. Now it says six o’clock because in those days that’s the way time was kept from six in the morning it began. So there’s darkness at noon. Why the darkness? Well darkness in the Bible is associated with judgment. And what we find is that during this time when Jesus was taking our sin upon Him, this was a special moment. No human eyes can even gain any access as to what happened and we can only speculate but if you can think of the torment of Jesus bearing our sin. Was it not Isaac Watts that wrote, “Well might the sun and darkness hide, and shut its glories in, when Christ, The great Redeemer died for man the creature’s sin.” Oh those three hours of darkness!
So that’s one of the wonders that we are introduced to. The other is the wonder of the question itself. “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” “My God, my God…” You should know that this is the only time in the New Testament when Jesus referred to God as God. Every other time He said, “Father.” And I can hardly wait to anticipate when we get to the end of the seven sayings. We’ll notice that in the last one Jesus says, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My Spirit.” The fellowship with the Father was back. But let’s think of the wonder of the question. “Why have You forsaken Me?” Well the reason that He was forsaken is that He was the greatest sinner that ever walked this planet. There was no sin in Christ. He was sinless but sin was laid upon Him. He became legally guilty of the worst possible sins you could imagine. And so in the midst of this, bearing the eternity of hell in three hours, what must that have been like? We can only speculate and we can think about it.
It’s so important, my friend, for us to realize that Jesus Christ suffered not just as man, though that was terrible. Crucifixion was terrible. But He also suffered as the God-man. If the God-man did not suffer. Like Luther said if only a man suffered we are not redeemed. But it’s the God-man who suffered. And Jesus bore our suffering of an eternal hell in those three hours. I also want to point out that this was not a cry however of distrust; it was a cry of distress. Notice this: He said, “MY God, MY God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” God was still His God but fellowship was broken. The human mind cannot grasp all that was meant and all that happened. Except let us remember it was God doing that for us that He might be just, justifying the ungodly. What a Savior we have.
Now this saying from the cross is so important that we’re going to pick it up again next time. Share with your friends. Encourage them to follow. And together let us continue to look at these wonderful sayings from the cross of Jesus Christ. And even today spend time, just go with God.