By Warren Coe
FEB. 27, 2005
1. This past week was 25th anniversary of U.S. Olympic hockey team’s triumph over Russians. Those who watched 1980 game still hear Al Michaels call.
- “6, 5, 4, do you believe in miracles?”—then roar of U.S. fans at Lake Placid.
- It was a David & Goliath type story. College kids defeating professionals.
- No names with slightly above average hockey skills playing with heart & unity.
2. In Tuesday’s edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the sports writer interviewed not players of this historic event but sons of players, to view Miracle on Ice thru eyes of next generation
- One young man knew of dad’s accomplishment but had few details.
- It wasn’t until he saw a documentary he grasped significance
- That American democracy won out over communism & the cold war.
3. As Chris Harrington & Ryan Suter whose dads played on 80’s Olympic team described that amazing game, my memory & emotions were stirred up.
- Memories of watching the game on TV & jumping up & down when game ended.
- Memories of my friend Randy Sampson standing in the living room at medal ceremony.
- Through the eyes of someone else I lived in the glory of that historic win.
4. World-wide church of Jesus Christ is preparing to celebrate the greatest wk in human history—Passion Wk. To capture sobriety of event, the ancient church established Lent.
- For 40 days from Ash Wed to Resurrection Sun Christians are/were encouraged to fast & repent
- Lent is a time of serious spiritual reflection upon Christ’s great sacrifice.
- How can we capture & sustain marvel & wonder of Christ’s sufferings & death?
1. Like capturing glory of 1980 U.S. hockey game, we look at it thru the eyes of someone else. This morning I invite you to revisit Golgotha & Christ’s sufferings.
- But not through the eyes of Peter or John or the other disciples.
- I invite you to look upon the wonder of the cross thru the eyes of Jesus Christ!
- Enter into his heart & soul to rediscover the greatness & wonder of Calvary.
2. Our study centers upon the 4th word of our Lord when he spoke during his crucifixion in Matthew 27:46 —My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?
- Seven times Jesus spoke from the cross. Father, forgive them..., Today, thou shall be with me in paradise, Woman, behold your son…, My God, My God, I am thirsty, It is finish, Into thy hand
- Each time the character, the purity & the soul of Jesus is on display.
3. As we approach the 4th statement, we’ll resist the temptation of self-centeredness; asking what does it mean to me. A reason church is so weak is the inordinate self-focus
- Pastors are nagged by experts to preach felt needs & be upbeat & relevant
- Unfortunately, it flattens out the shape & contours of God & his glory.
- Felt needs preaching trivializes our Lord, His Cross and the Word.
4. But even if we were tempted to ask What does this mean to me today? We can’t! For Jesus suffers alone. His cry is an agony no human can share.
- Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher in 19th century said, I do not think that the records of time or even of eternity, contain a sentence more full of anguish
- Calvin 200 yrs earlier considered words of Jesus as an expression of grief beyond any torture Jesus had ever known. Words can’t be applied to you & me.
- To make shine what has become lackluster & boringly repetitive, we see Calvary through the words Jesus cried out.
I. JESUS’ WORDS REVEAL HIS DESPERATION V46
1. Notice that his desperation is real. His cry is audible. It is loud. It is filled with consternation & vexation. Never in his life had Jesus felt so desperate.
- In the garden Jesus wrestled with God’s will, but obediently submitted to that will.
- At his trial, before Pilate & at the crucifixion Jesus did not show dismay or agitation.
- Now with raised voice he cries out, My God! My God! Jesus’ Desperation is real.
2. His desperation coincides with a strange phenomenon of nature. V45 the sky darkened. 2 facts stand out. #1 the darkness is supernatural; at noon, the zenith of sun. #2 The event darkened all land. Greek word gyn could mean Judah or Palestine or earth
- The gathering darkness announces something horrific & terrible.
- What is happening is unclear to the human mind but Jesus knows.
3. In His desperation he pleads with God & He does not blaspheme God. Here is 1st time Jesus addresses deity as God not Father. This is a prayer of one who is utterly helpless.
- His predicament has no earthly solution. Jesus appeals to the only one who can help
- It is common to hear people say Oh, my God or My God. While the 3rd Commandment warns not to take the Name of the Lord in vane.…
- Usage of this phrase in this manner belittles, even mocks the desperate cry of Jesus.
4. So shocking is Jesus’ desperate cry that even the non-Christians have a sense that something is dreadfully wrong; that a crisis of epic size is confronting Jesus Christ.
- Its like parents reaction when child cries out in pain, we focus all attention
- Or being in a crowd & someone is injured & cries out. We look for the person in need
- Jesus is desperate. His cry holds attention. All eyes are upon figure on cross
II.THESE WORDS ARE SPOKEN BY A FORSAKEN PERSON V46
1. As 6th hour approached & the sky darkened, Jesus cries to God, Why have You forsaken me? Jesus’ anguish plunges to its greatest depths.
- What is happening? Most people believe Jesus was the victim of perverted justice.
- Romans crucified 30 thousand men in Palestine—Jesus is one of them. Yet history remembers this one.
- Why? The answer, God’s Word.
2. The sin of Adam & Eve caused their fall & ours. Ro5:12
- After the fall God gave veiled promise Ge3:15. Bruised - Crushed! Prophet Isaiah predicted a human lamb as a sacrifice for sin in Is53.
- These prophecies pointed to one person! Only one man could wipe sin away
- Only one of the 30 thousand crucified by Romans died for sins of World. Jesus Christ!
- Jesus’ despair is connected to his sacrificial work because of sin & righteousness.
3. What was this work? Ga3:13. 1st Christ was made a curse. . 2nd, He was made sin. 2nd Corinthians 5:21. A judicial transaction was made. Sinless Christ was judged or punished in our place
- Darkness announced div judgment. Darkness is symbolic for judgment.
- Is5:30; Amos 5:20; Zeph 1:14-15 Day of Lord; a day of darkness
- The Cross is a place of divine judgment, where sins of world were vicariously poured out on Chrsit
4. But Jesus says he is forsaken. Why? McArthur calls the cross a place of sovereign departure. Hab 1:13 God turns away. He strikes down his son.
- What is it like to be forsaken by God? Envision Hell & wrath! This is what hell is like.
- Christ is separated from his Father. He Knows it. He cries out.
- A Divine & judicial transaction is taking place. Jesus is a sin offering. Forsaken by God.
What are the lessons of this 4th & painful word Jesus speaks from the cross? Let me share four lessons.
1st Jesus shows how to face life when we think God has forsaken us
- Jesus wields the Word and prayer. Mt 27:46 is a prayer based on scripture.
- The two most powerful weapons against crushing defeats of life is Word, prayer
- In face of spiritual battles, victory is assured if these two weapons are used.
2nd lesson is this; sin is real & deadly! On account of sin Christ was put to death. So wicked & vile is our sin condition that only the death of God could save.
- Most people don’t believe this is true. We are convinced we are just a little bad
- We are products of our environments. With a little more education or social service we can change.
- The death of the infinite, sinless son of God is the only payment for our sin tells of our badness
3rd lesson, that Christ would let himself be submerged into the boiling pot of divine judgment must evoke our reverent obedience.
- Bodey, In the cry of Jesus is a powerful motivation to righteousness. 2P2:24
- Isaac Watts, Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
- Obedience isn’t feigned or forced but willing surrender to our Savior
4th lesson, for Jesus to be forsaken of God on our account is such a stupendous event that we must rejoice with every fiber of our being!
- 1st Peter 1:18 & 1st Peter 4:13 and in great consummation we will rejoice Re19:7
- At Christ’s death & resurrection the flood gates of joy were opened & joy spilled out.
- And this joy should characterize every believer; Coming together with the body of believer should be joy-fests!
We have probed the infinite with a surface treatment; for who can understand fully the anguish of Jesus’ soul when he became our sin-bearer
- It is said Martin Luther spend days fasting & contemplating this topic. His conclusion? Who can understand? It is a mystery
- But conscious requires we warn non-Christians of the fate for those who reject this truth.
- Jesus words from the cross strike a solemn warning. Bodey, If God would forsake his perfect son on account of our sins, what will happen to unrighteous who have forsaken so great a salvation.