Seven words on the cross (4)

 

 

 

[Matthew 27:45-49]

 

 

 

                This is the fourth word Jesus said on the cross: “Eli Eli lama sabachthani.”

 

                Look at Matthew 27:46 – “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’--which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”  Here, “About the ninth hour” means about three in the afternoon (v. 46).  And when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, it means that He cried out to Heavenly Father with a loud voice.  Here, when Jesus cried out on the cross, it means that Jesus desperately cried out to Heavenly Father with all His might.

 

                About 700 years ago, the prophet Isaiah predicted that the Messiah (Christ) would not open His mouth: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth” (Isa. 53:7).  According to the word of this prophecy, not only did Jesus Christ remain silent during His interrogation and trial, but also when He was crucified, when it was dark all over the land from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm (Mt. 27:45).  Considering the words “the darkness came over all the land” (v. 45), we must think in connection with the words of Exodus 10: 21-23: “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.’  So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days.  They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.”  Looking at the 9th plague among the 10 plagues that God brought upon Egypt to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, there was “thick darkness” over all the land of Egypt for “three days” (v. 22), and the people could not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days (v. 23).  But what is interesting is that there was light in the land of Goshen, where all the children of Israel lived (v. 23).  Here, the fact that God sent thick darkness over all the land of Egypt for three days means that God punished the Egyptians.

 

                When Jesus Christ was crucified from 12:00 to 3:00 pm (Mt. 27:45), for 3 hours, there was no light but darkness came over all the land (v. 45) means that Heavenly Father punished His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.   Jesus Christ, the light of the world (Jn. 9:5), suffered the punishment of darkness for 3 hours on the cross (Mt. 27:45).  When Jesus was nailed to the cross, those passed by shook their heads and insulted Him (Mt. 27:39-40), and likewise the chief priests, along with the scribes and elders, mocked Him (vv. 41-43).  Even when the two robbers who were crucified together insulted Jesus like this (v. 44), Jesus did not open His mouth and remained silent.  Jesus, who had been silent for three hours, cried out in a loud voice, “Ellie, Eli, lama sabachthani,” at about three o’clock in the afternoon.  It means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mt. 27:46).  God, who brought down the ninth plague, darkness, for three days to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, sent the last, tenth plague on Pharaoh and his people, who had hardened his heart.  Look at Exodus 11:5 – “and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well.”  According to this word, God struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt during the midnight, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on the throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.  Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead (12:29-30).  This is what paid for the sins of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and his people.  Because their sins were full, God gave them such a punishment.  However, Jesus Christ was crucified even though He was innocent of any sin.  And when He was crucified for 3 hours from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm (Mt. 27:45), not only darkness came over all the land (v. 45), but also Jesus suffered the pain of being forsaken by the loving Heavenly Father (v. 46).

 

                The Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ was without sin: (2 Cor. 5:21) “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” (1 Pet. 2:22) “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth,” (1 Jn. 3:5) “You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.”  Although Jesus underwent many tests while living on this earth for 33 years, He did not commit any sin.  Jesus had no experience of sinning at all.  But why did someone who had no sin not only be crucified, but also receive the eternal punishment of being forsaken by Heavenly Father when darkness fell over the whole land for three hours?  The reason is for us.  In order to save us from our sins, Jesus was crucified in our place and suffered the punishment of being forsaken by Heavenly Father.  And in the end, Jesus died on the cross.

 

                What is interesting is that God sent the ninth plague of think darkness on the Egyptians for three days (Exod. 10:22), and the disobedient prophet Jonah also stayed in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights (Jon. 1:17), and Jesus, who was without sin, was not only in darkness for three hours on the cross (Mt. 27:45), but in the end, He was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Mt. 12:40).  Prophet Jonah described the belly of the great fish as “the depth of Sheol” (Jon.2:2), that is a place like a grave or “the pit”(v.6), that is the land of the dead, and just as Jesus said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Mt. 12:40), after Jesus was crucified bearing all our sins on the cross to save us, He was also in the heart of the land for 3 days and 3 nights just as the prophet Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days and 3 nights.  Just as God imprisoned the disobedient prophet Jonah for 3 days and 3 nights in a place like a tomb or in the belly of a great fish, the land of death (Jon. 2:2, 6), God put His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in the land of death for 3 days and 3 nights.  The Apostles' Creed expressed these three days in the land of the dead as “He descended into hell.”  In other words, Jesus suffered the pain of hell for three days in hell, which is truly thick darkness].  The reason is so that we, who should be eternally in the darkness of hell, live forever in the kingdom of heaven.  The reason why God, who cast out the disobedient prophet Jonah from the presence of the Lord (Jon. 2:4), cast out Jesus, who obeyed God even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:8), was cast out into eternal hell is to allow us, sinners who are enemies of God, to enter the eternal kingdom of heaven.  Jesus was humbled to the point that He descended to the heart of the earth in order for God to make us to be those who are of heaven (1 Cor. 15:48).

 

                This is the first verse of the gospel song “They Crucified Jesus”: “On that day, they crucified Jesus, with three old nails.  The hammer's sound was heard with my heart's tears.  The Blood washed my sin.”  Can we hear the sound of the hammer when Jesus was crucified on the hill of Golgotha with the three rusty nails?  Are we really hearing the sound of Jesus crying out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mt. 27:46)?  May God be gracious to all of us so that we can hear the cry of Jesus on the cross, his fourth utterance, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (v. 46).  So, I hope and pray that we can all give thanks and praise to God with all our strength, saying, 'At that time, we nailed Jesus with those three rusty nails.  I heard the sound of Jesus’ cry out resounding in my heart.  My sins were washed away with His blood.’