From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land. At about three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Matthew 27:45-46 (HCSB)

During His passion, Jesus endured so much emotionally, spiritually and physically.  The night before His crucifixion, Jesus spent the night in prayer enduring stressful agony as He sweat drops of blood.   When he endured 40 lashes from a whip with nine tails with sharp stone or glass embedded, He endured a beating that would have left most men so dehydrated they would have died.  Now, in the scriptures examined, Jesus reveals His spiritual agony.

He who knew no sin became the seeming personification of sin for us…

In the scripture cited, Jesus was quoting the first line of Psalm 22, a prophecy expressing the deep agony of the Messiah’s death for the world’s sin. Jesus knew that he would be temporarily separated from God the moment he took upon himself the sins of the world because God cannot look on sin Habakkuk 1:13. This separation was the “cup” Jesus had dreaded as he prayed in Gethsemane (26:39). The physical agony was horrible, but the spiritual alienation from God was the ultimate torture.

Perhaps the most awful thought of this moment can be helped by an illustration from the popular TV show M*A*S*H* which featured a stuffy character named Charles Emerson Winchester, III.  Hailing from Boston, Charles was the roommate of Benjamin Franklin Pierce, arguably the most popular character on the show.  In one episode, Pierce is anxiously awaiting word about his father, who had undergone surgery for a life-threatening condition.  Charles kept a vigil with him. He reveals to Pierce his envy of the close relationship Pierce and his father share in stark contrast to that with his own father, stating, “Whereas I have a father, you have a dad.”

Jesus, Himself, had a very special relationship with the Father.  In every instance when He addressed God, Jesus addressed Him as “Father.”  But, in this period of time, God placed every sin that was ever committed on Christ.  He who knew no sin became the seeming personification of sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).  God the Father hates sin so much that He could not even look on His only begotten Son.  In the very moment when the Son need needed His Father the most, God had to turn His back on Jesus.  And Jesus, who always addressed God as “Father”, had to call him “God.”

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…  1 John 3:1




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