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? –Matthew 27:46
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? –Psalm 22:1
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. –Isaiah 53:3
As I was taking time this week to prepare my Children’s Church lesson about (as I shudder sometimes to call it) my Easter Lesson (I personally prefer calling it Resurrection Sunday) some things struck me and I want to share them over the next few days as God allows.
The truth about the crucifixion is that people usually suffocated and after the terrible beating Jesus received on our behalf (Isaiah 53:5) the torment is for us not Him and He did it looking forward with joy (Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. –Hebrews 12:2) and those who will be saved we are the joy He was looking forward to seeing. But I digress, and while hanging on the cross every time He took a breath He had to pull Himself up with His nail-pierced hands and push up on those nail-scarred feet and draw a breath in to survive a few more minutes. The pain to say the least had to be excruciating but he took the time to say seven things and we will look at one today:
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why such a terrible cry of complaint?
That Christ’s being forsaken of his Father was the most grievous of his sufferings, and that which he complained most of. Here he laid the most doleful accents; he did not say, “Why am I scourged? And why spit upon? And why nailed to the cross?’’ Nor did he say to his disciples, when they turned their back upon him, Why have ye forsaken me? But when his Father stood at a distance, he cried out thus; for this as it that put wormwood and gall into the affliction and misery. This brought the waters into the soul, Ps. 69:1-3.[i]
Because God is holy, He cannot overlook sin. On the contrary, He must punish it. The Lord Jesus had no sin of His own, but He took the guilt of our sins upon Himself. When God, as Judge, looked down and saw our sins upon the sinless Substitute, He withdrew from the Son of His love. It was this separation that wrung from the heart of Jesus what Mrs. Browning so beautifully called “Immanuel’s orphaned cry”[ii]
Jesus paid a terrible, hard price for our sins. There is a thought that says grace is cheap. No it is not. It is free for us but a price had to be paid. And it opened the door between God and man that we may have a way of salvation as John so succinctly puts it:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. –John 3:16
Let’s keep the focus of Easter where it belongs. It’s not about a bunny, eggs, or candy. And while family is good, and I enjoy what time I have with them it is still not what this holiday is about. It is about Jesus and what He did for us.
[i] Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (
Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.
[ii] William MacDonald; edited with introductions by Arthur Farstad, Believer’s Bible commentary: Old and New Testaments [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (
Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by William MacDonald.