By Pastor Bill Morgan – Grace Churches
“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ Some of those who stood by, when hey heard that said, ‘Look, He is calling for Elijah!’ Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed and offered it to Him to drink, saying, ‘Let Him alone. Let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.’ And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and breathed His last. Then the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this Man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:33-39)
We have in this Scripture the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. All deaths are solemn events. Nothing in the whole history of a man is as important as his end. But never was there a death of such arresting moment as that which is now before us. In the instant that our Lord drew His last breath, the work of atonement for the world’s sin was accomplished. The Kingdom of Heaven was thrown fully open to all believers. All of the solid hope that a person might attain in this life is traced back to the giving up of our Lord’s life on that cross.
There were also two visible signs which accompanied our Lord’s death. One is the darkening of the sun for the space of 3 hours from noon until 3:00 p.m. The other is the tearing of the veil (curtain) which divided the Holy of holies from the holy place in the Temple. Both were miraculous events. Both were calculated to arrest the attention of the whole multitude assembled at Jerusalem. There were probably few homes in Jerusalem that first Good Friday evening in which people would not be saying: “We have heard and seen strange things today!”
What do you say when you read this historical event depicting God (the Father) forsaking God (the Son)? The Bible states that the Father bruised His Son! “Yet we esteem Him (Christ) stricken, smitten by God (the Father) and afflicted . . . . Yet it pleased the Lord (the Father) to bruise Him (Christ); He has put Him to grief.” (Isaiah 53:4,10) Our Lord’s tormenting cry on the cross came as a result of His Father turning away from Him for a moment of time when He punished His Son for the sins of God’s sheep so that reconciliation between God and man could be realized. The Apostle Peter, speaking of Jesus Christ states: “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)
Have you returned to God through the repenting of your sins and believing that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was the Son of God who died to pay the price of your sins? The centurion who stood by the cross was persuaded!! “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” We will suffer the punishment for our own sins if Jesus Christ has not substituted His life on that cross for our life! By faith alone we will be counted as righteous – the moment we believe who Jesus Christ is and what He offers to do on our behalf. Listen to what God the Father has done to His Son in order that we might be made righteous! “For He (the Father) made Him (the Son) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Our Lord died and was buried on Friday and He arose from the dead on Sunday to give full proof that He was the Son of God as He claimed – as Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
The entire Bible was written so that we would believe this truth concerning God’s Son and what He sacrificed for us in order that we would be forgiven of all our sins and be granted eternal life! “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this Book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31) That harrowing cry from a crucified Saviour is to inform us of the demands and the grace of a holy and loving God. May we each find mercy – there at the cross!