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I want to invite you to Matthew chapter 27. If you’ve got a Bible with you this morning, if not, feel free to grab one in front of you. Matthew, chapter 27 is where we’re going to be, and we are going to go into a new series starting this week as it relates to Easter. Just so you know, if you’d like to just anticipate the road ahead for us, the church family, the month of March, we’re going to be diving into Resurrection Sunday, Easter, whatever you like to, to call that event. Um, but we’re going to deal with the statements of Jesus as he hung on the cross. Jesus gave seven profound statements while he was on the cross as it relates to the resurrection and the and the death of Christ. And so we’re going to be looking at that over the next few weeks, palm Sundays, the next Sunday following that is, is Resurrection Sunday. We do a large event afterwards as a church family at 1:00 this year. We’re going to be doing that in Willow Park. In the past we’ve done that in Wein’s Park. We take thousands of eggs. We scatter them all over our field. There’s prizes that are there. Kids actually can win some cash too, but we let our kids go crazy. We we feed you. By the way, if you want to come to that event, I want to invite you to bring either a dessert or chips.
All right, so we make it a simple meal. We usually fix hot dogs, hamburgers, something like that. And if you want to contribute to that. Chips or a dessert would help us out. And you can bring that. And we just invite family, friends, neighborhood, whatever. Thousands of eggs will be scattered. We’ll give directions in the following weeks on how to get there. So you can invite people. And I’ll tell you on that Easter Sunday for you as as parents, as adults, so you don’t miss out. We know that secretly as you watch kids going around getting those eggs, you just want to jump in on that. So, so to to help you with that craving to get that lucky egg, we’re also going to be giving away some, some things for for the adults as well. So you don’t want to miss the service because that’s where that will take place. Right. And so over the next few weeks, we’re going to be going through the series together on the statements of Jesus and the month of April. We’ll be focusing a series on on family, what God has designed for family, how to look at that from a biblical approach as it relates to to marriage, relationship of parents with children. And so that’ll be the month of April for us. And so that gives you an idea of of what to anticipate. But as it starts with, with this series relating to red letters, the statements of, of Jesus as he hangs on the cross, he makes these seven profound statements.
We’re going to be looking at just a couple of those each week. And I just want to start with the the simplistic approach to to what the cross represents for us as Christians. Explain why we make it as such a big deal for us, why it’s a reason to rejoice and then end. Why does that matter for us today? What is the big deal as it relates to me and my relationship to God? And I want to tell you, as I’ve studied for this, in preparation this morning, as I was going through this on the inside, I am pumped. I cannot contain just the excitement. The first song that we break out with today talking about the cross of Christ. I’m rejoicing in spirit after studying this and as we go through this together in Matthew chapter 27, I hope you join. Join me in that. And when we talk about the cross, as we think about what happened as it relates to the cross, I want us to connect in this first half in discussion. I want us to relate to this emotionally. God created us holistically as a being. He calls us to love him with all that we are, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Everything about you. I want us to understand what it means within, within the cross, as much as our minds can grasp it.
I don’t think everything that happens at the cross, we can completely conceive what takes place there. But as much as our our lives can relate to, what Jesus endures is important. Because as we relate to this in a personal way, on the end of this, I’m going to connect it to us theologically, and I feel we get much more from the text when we can relate to what Jesus endures here and in our human understanding, emotionally, mentally with our hearts. And when that happens, the idea of theologically what takes place impacts us in our core. It’s not just words on a page, it’s not just intellectual understanding. But when it comes to the cross, the the cross of Christ or the cross in general, anyone who was crucified, it was seen as as a horrific, despicable event. Jesus himself was mocked while he was going to the cross and the pain that he was to endure. So it’s not, not not that Jesus endures physically at the cross, but positionally in the way that he had identified himself before Israel, before this world. He he is mocked in that position as he is going to the cross. And if you look in chapter 27, beginning in verse 37, where I would start to point this out, but it happens even before in verse 27, where Jesus starts to be mocked.
But in verse 37 of chapter 27, you see these statements of Jesus that they begin to throw back into his face. And in verse 37 it says this. And above his head they put up the charge against him, which read, This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. And in verse 38, at the time two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left, and those passing by were hurling abuse at him, wagging their heads and saying, you are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. Save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. In the same way the chief priests also, and the scribes and the elders were mocking him and saying. He saved others. And he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel. Let him now come down from the cross and we will believe him. So they understood Jesus’s claims and the claims that Jesus made. They’re now they’re now reversing these claims and hurling them as insults as Christ. As he is enduring this pain and torture, they they mock him as king by by hanging a sign above his head. And Jesus declared his his authority as king. In fact, the father declared Jesus as king at his baptism. When he quotes Psalm chapter two. At Jesus’s baptism, Jesus identifies himself as Savior.
His his title, Jesus Christ is the saving King or the saving Anointed One. And they’re mocking him as Savior, saying he can’t even save himself. And and they mock his identity as as priests. When Jesus is proclaiming that he could destroy the temple and in three days build it again. And Jesus no doubt did at his crucifixion, when the veil was torn, the presence of God leaves the temple, and the Bible shares with us that it now indwells people. It’s no longer these this building, this elaborate building in which was built. Jesus now indwells his people. Jesus, we know, fulfilled these roles as prophet, priest, and king. He’s also Savior. And yet they they take these words in which Jesus expressed in his message, and they mock him in it positionally and not just positionally, as Jesus mocked. He’s also tortured physically. When you think about relating to this text as if everyone that you care about, the people that you’ve grown up around in your life, the ones that you’ve come to grow near personally if if you care about them, they are either absent from from this event or or they’re coming to you to mock you and spit in your face. And Jesus as he endures torture. Matthew 27 tells us some of these things in verse 26. He is lashed by the cat o’nine tails. It was it was this, this whip that that splintered out into these branches of nine extensions.
And on these extensions would have been bone of sheep or or these hard metal balls. And when it would hit the body, the, the metal ball would soften the flesh, and then the, the bone would tear into the flesh and expose it. And repeatedly you would be lashed until you were cut to your own bone and it would be exposed. Jesus is lashed. It tells us in chapter 27, verse 29 and 30, that a crown of thorns are embedded into his head, inches long, nailed into his skull. And Isaiah 52 and verse 14, it says, he is beaten beyond recognition in chapter 27 and verse 30 of Matthew. He is spit upon. He’s nailed to the cross in Psalm 22 and verse 14, it tells us his bones are out of joint or out of place. And the irony of all of this, as Jesus endures this pain at the cross, is that the creation? Is abusing. Its creator. Matthew chapter 27 and verse 45 and 46 is really want to what I want to focus on this morning. But as these events take place. In verse 45 of this passage of Scripture. It gives this description of the environment around as, as Jesus is hanging from the cross. And it says this in verse 45, now from the sixth hour, darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. Some translations will go ahead and tell you what time this is according to our clock.
But according to the Jewish clock, that’s the way this is translated. And so for the Jewish clock, the day began when the sun came up. That’s hour one. Typically that was 6 a.m.. And so when they give times like this from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, it’s six hours past 6 a.m., which is around noon. From noon to three. It’s describing this darkness that comes over the land. And no doubt, this event is the greatest event in history and at the same time is the darkest event in history. This event was was considered so dark that when you go back into history in the first century, not only do you find Christians writing about the event and the darkness that take place, you also find historians that aren’t Christians writing about this event that took place. There was a man by the name of Thallus and Flag and both considered historians in the first century. Neither of them Christian, who wrote about the darkness that existed over the world at the time Jesus was crucified. And just like anyone that denies. The identity of who Christ is, they attempt to explain it away. Apart from Christ. Can I tell you in my life, being agnostic or atheist before coming and placing my faith in Christ in college? One of the things that really helped me on my journey and expressing my faith in Christ and trusting in him, had nothing to do with the Bible.
It was me skeptically thinking that the Bible was something fallible, written by men who just kind of took a guess at something that they created, and people started to follow. And it wasn’t until I started looking at extra biblical writings related to Jesus that I started to recognize there is something happening here. When you go back into the first and second century and you see the amount of people that aren’t even, aren’t even Christian, don’t even claim to be Christian writing about Jesus himself. It is. It is profound how many people have some sort of expression or reaction to Christ. And it was the study of of those circumstances related to Jesus that that started to to point to the validity of the Bible for me and help me on my journey, and some of which would be statements made by Thallus and Phlegon as it related to Christ in his crucifixion and the second century, there were two individuals, Origen and Julius Africanus, who got a hold of these. These writings by these individuals, and from a Christian standpoint, began to reflect back on the crucifixion of Christ. And this is what Julius Africanus said to to thallus in his statement. As a historian it said this upon the whole world. There came a most fearful darkness. Many rocks were split in two by an earthquake.
In many places in Judea, and other districts were thrown down. It seems very unreasonable to me that thallus and the third book of his histories, would try to explain away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun, for the Jews celebrate their Passover on the 14th day, according to the moon, and the death of our Saviour falls on the day before the Passover. But an eclipse of the sun can only take place when the moon comes under the sun. How, then, could an eclipse have occurred when the moon is directly opposite the sun? When the Jews would celebrate the Passover. They follow the lunar calendar, and according to the lunar calendar, it is impossible for an eclipse to take place in order to create darkness on the Passover. And Julius Africanus, as he’s reading the writings of thallus, as he’s trying to explain away the happenings of darkness over the world, his explanation is that it’s obviously an eclipse. Jesus can’t be who we think he is. It’s an eclipse. And Julius Africanus goes back to his statement and reasons through why this can’t be true, and why fallacies approach to this explanation doesn’t make any sense apart from. What’s happening to Christ. Origin, as he explained the same way goes back to and statements. Julius Africanus also commented on it, but this is what origin said. He said the darkening of the sun took place at the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus was crucified, and the great earthquakes which took place.
Fleg, and I believe, has written an account in the 13th or 14th book of his chronicles. And he’s saying, if you don’t believe what I. What I’m saying, you can go back to your own historians that don’t even acknowledge Jesus and just read from their account that this, this event impacted the world. And it still does today. And the beauty of all of this, as you think about what Jesus endures on the cross, both positionally being mocked by by those he had lived his life around both and physically being tortured to a degree that he’s unrecognizable beyond what any human being has, has ever faced. When, man. Was at his worst. God was at his best. And Jesus hanging on the cross, one of the most profound statements, he says. Father. Forgive them. I don’t know what they’re doing. Significance of this text as it relates to us in our being, as those who pursue after Jesus. There is importance with all that we are, all our heart, all our soul, all our mind. As we think about this Easter season, this Resurrection Sunday, to pour everything into this. Because if there’s someone that needs to rejoice over what Jesus has done, it’s you. Now, as we looked at what happened, I just want to explain and still connect to us emotionally as to as to why this took place.
And I want to do so as we look at at verse 46 and what Jesus says, why does this happen? Because in verse 46, Jesus asks the same question why? And he says in verse 46, about the ninth hour, which is 3:00, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, now feel this emotionally when it says, Jesus cries out, this text is relating to us emotionally and so and so. If you just read it as some theological concept, you miss the words. But what this text says, this word for cried is it’s saying to us that Jesus shouts this statement. Jesus is declaring this statement to everyone around the cross and not just those that are there. It’s written in Scripture as a declaration for all of us. So these words that he’s about to say need to ring true within our hearts. He’s screaming. He’s shouting with a loud voice. Ali. Lee. Lema sabachthani. Which means my God, my God, why? Why have you forsaken me? Why? Why did Jesus endure? The hardship of the cross. In this passage when when Jesus is crying out to God. I think one of the most profound things in this statement, as you think about the events of the cross, as Jesus endures the physical torture that people bring against him, never once does he complain. But it’s when the father forsakes him. He cries out. What uniquely happens here.
That it’s at this point. Jesus Christ. When I read this statement, I think to myself, man, if you ask me now, at what point are you going to cry out? I would say, well, in my pansy flesh, right? Way back. But it’s not until this moment that Jesus shouts and cries in a statement. And when you look at the way Jesus refers to the father, I think it begins to give us indication as to why. Because in Jesus’s statements. And we’re going to look at this in Matthew 26, in just a moment. But when Jesus is making this statement, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? You can note in the Gospels when Jesus refers to the father, it’s never it’s not. Excuse me, I shouldn’t say never, but it’s not in this generic term theos, which is God. And Jesus chooses a more intimate word. Abba. Father. This word of connection. In unity. And yet now at its most desperate point. No longer is the word ABBA. But it’s the term theos or god. What’s happening as it relates to Christ. For him to cry out on this cross and connection to the father. And I don’t think there is a theological expression or way I can describe what happens here on the cross for us to get it completely between Jesus and the father. And I thought this week, just just considering in my life anything I can relate to this as it relates to to death, as it relates to pain, as it relates to suffering.
And the best thing in my life I could come up with is what I saw my mother go through just a few years ago. You know, in my life I’ve had the fortunate blessing of not really being around many people within my family who have died. All of my grandparents, but one is still alive. In fact, just a few years ago, my great grandmother died. She was like about to hit 100 and she passed away. And a few years ago, my grandfather passed away and I had I moved to Utah a little over ten years ago. And when I moved from Utah, my mom did something very important for her, her parents. She actually got to a place in life where she had a little extra income, and so she bought a house for them close to her because as they got older and age, she that she knew that they needed care cared for. And as they got older, my mother, I watched my mother draw my grandfather closer. He eventually loses the independence, doesn’t have a license, but fortunately, the place that my mom was able to purchase allowed him to still walk within the small town that we lived in to all the places that he enjoyed. There were just a few blocks from the house, and so he began to to do that.
And eventually he loses that freedom to the point where where he got to a place in life where he needed some personal care. He he started to lose his mind a little bit, so much so that I remember the last time I saw him, the only, only words he could say was, I love you. And he would say it all the time. I love you, I love you. And. Eventually. He passed a few years ago and and I got to go in and lead in that funeral. And it just so happened that I had another speaking engagement on the East Coast a couple of months later, and I remember I went in for the funeral. I was there for the family for that week, and it was a time of rejoicing over what my grandfather was. He was a godly man and and at the same time weeping over the loss a few months later. Come home, and my mom is still enduring the hardship of that. And she had drawn her father close. And I just look at her. I’m like, mom, are you going to be okay? You could just see on her face and in her demeanor, she wore that loss. And all she said back to me after just a couple of months is she just said, there is this hole in my heart I just can’t fill. Her father that she loved as a girl, she just reflected back.
At times. Her dad would just pick her up in her arms and. And now that’s gone. You know, I think of that illustration and, and I’m not saying in that, that that Jesus has the same relationship with, with God the Father as, as necessarily we would look at it between between a parent and, and a child. But but there is something about that bond, that intimacy is there. There is a closeness that God created that relationship for. I know not all of us get to experience that, but that’s why God designs that relationship. And when Jesus is saying this in this moment, this word for forsaken. It literally can be translated abandoned. And so you think about in, in these moments what Jesus is saying about the father, the reason he’s screaming within his being, the reason he hasn’t complained to this point. But now but now he cries out, it’s it’s it’s in connection to the relationship to the father. It’s unbelievable what’s taking place in this moment. And when Jesus is saying this statement, he’s he’s prophetically stating what’s written in Psalm chapter 22 and verse one, this quote, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Is a quote from Psalm chapter 22. Jesus is fulfilling and and the Bible tells us this is one of the things that blows us away, that that is a reminder to us how important this this passage of Scripture is.
It says in first Peter chapter one, talking about those who proclaim the coming of Jesus and angels. It says this seeking to know these these prophets who are proclaiming Christ. They were seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating, as he predicted, the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. And then it says this in verse 12. Things into which angels long to look into. I mean the angels themselves watching God bring this redemption for mankind. I can’t can’t help but even fathom and be amazed by by a God who gives his life. For you. My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me? Why did it happen? What does this phrase mean? In Matthew chapter 26, I think it begins to paint a backdrop to a complete understanding of why Jesus is crying out in in Matthew 27, the way that he is in chapter 26. Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. He’s he’s got the cross before him. He’s praying to the father. And it says this in chapter 26 and verse 39. And he went a little beyond them. And he fell on his face and prayed, saying. My father. For it possible? Let this cup pass from me. Yet? Not as I will. But as you will. Jesus later praised My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? What? What do these passages mean? Well, just for clarification, when Jesus is making this prayer, I don’t think Jesus is saying, you know what? I don’t want to go to the cross.
That’s not what he’s saying in verse 26. In fact, in Mark chapter two and verse 20, Jesus tells people that he’s he’s going to leave them at some point. Jesus entire life was about his death. Jesus knew the cross was before him. Hebrews tells us, for the joy of the cross, he or for the for the joy of what was ahead, he endured the cross. Jesus’s life was found in his death. Everything in the Old Testament was to foreshadow the one who would come to give his life for us. In fact, the entire sacrificial system, an animal was losing its life on an altar as a foreshadowing of the one who would come, who is the lamb to give his life for us, the father. When Jesus is being baptized, John the Baptist, he declares, Jesus is coming. He says, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He’s indicating that this lamb would give his life for our sins. Jesus’s purpose was found ultimately in his death. The atonement for sin. And so when Jesus is making this prayer, let this cup pass from me in chapter 26. He’s not saying, I don’t want to go to the cross. So what does he say? In the context of this chapter.
Jesus has just gone into the upper room with his disciples. And they celebrated the Passover. Partook of communion. And the same thing that we honor as as a church, the points to the death of Christ. When they would celebrate the Passover. There was times throughout the meal where everyone would drink from one cup. And Jewish custom was that they were to drink deep from the cup, meaning the cup would go around the room and everyone would take the deepest gulp they could from this cup. And as the cup began to diminish in what it contained, at the bottom of this cup was bitter herb. The last person to drink this cup. Had also swallow the bitter herb. And you weren’t allowed to let this cup pass. Until. You drank deep from it. When Jesus is praying to the father. He’s reflecting back. It’s a communion. The price he’s about to pay for your sin and mine. And it’s time for him to drink from this cup before he can let this cup pass. And at the bottom of this cup is the bitter herb. Jesus is about to take the last drink and representation of sin. And as Jesus prepares to swallow this cup, he’s praying to the father for the strength to let this cup pass. God, let me drink deep. God, let me pay for this sin. And when Jesus is hanging on the cross, he is drinking this cup, this atonement for our sin.
It’s not happening in the garden. It doesn’t happen in any other ways. Jesus isn’t one of several ways. Jesus is taking the depth of this drink on the cross for our sins. Listen, the rest of Scripture says this. And when you ask the question, why does it happen? Listen to these verses in second Corinthians 521 he made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God. And first Peter 224 I think describes it beautifully. He says this he Himself bore our sins in his body. Listen on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. For by his wounds you are healed. In first John chapter four and verse ten, it says, and this is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. This word for propitiation gives this idea that God has wrath, and he is pouring this wrath on sin. And this wrath in Jesus God has has perpetuated it in Christ. Meaning God’s wrath has been satisfied in Jesus. And not only has it been satisfied. But this word for propitiation also means you have been reconciled. And so what Jesus is saying on the cross, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus is identifying for us that he has taken the wrath of the father on sin, of of sin upon himself.
And the wrath is being satisfied, because on the cross Jesus will say to telesti, which is paid in full. Why does it happen? Jesus. As forsaken. And the father. Drinking deep from the cup. For the reconciliation. Of those who put their faith in Christ. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. My mom and her father losing his life or moving on in eternity, I should say, and present with with Christ according to the faith that he proclaimed he, he, he has been separated from from my mother. That’s what that’s what death is. Death is separation. That’s what the Bible talks about separation. And when you think about Jesus on this cross being forsaken, he is taken the penalty of sin. The wages of sin is death. It’s not ceasing to exist. It’s separation. There’s something that’s taking place here between the father and son that causes Jesus to cry out, that has never been experienced so deep within his soul. He is shouting it for us to understand that he he alone is making this payment. Not in a garden, not anywhere else, not by any other god or any other means, but he himself. The significance of what Christ has done. John Piper says says it this way. To be forsaken by God. Is the cry of the damned.
What Jesus is expressing. He is literally experiencing hell on earth. Sometimes when we like to think about heaven or hell, we just we sort of picture it as location within our mind. But far beyond location. Heaven or hell has everything to do with the gracious presence of God. What makes heaven heaven. As the presence of God. If you’re in heaven without God, that is not heaven. It’s his presence, his gracious presence, and what makes hell. Hell is the wrath of God apart from his grace. And what Jesus is experiencing on this cross is the wrath of God apart from his grace. Jesus is enduring this. And that’s why John Piper says, to be forsaken by God is the cry of the damned. And so when you think about the context of this passage, the intimacy of God, this is what someone wrote. Every circumstance bespoke the anger of God. It was a bitter herb of sin. And there was no countering voice this time. No word came from heaven to remind him that he was God’s Son and greatly loved. No dove came down to assure him of the Spirit’s presence and ministry. No angel came to strengthen him. No redeemed sinner bowed to thank him. He was abandoned. Why? Why? First Peter two says. Verse 24, he became sin who knew no sin. Why? For you. For you. This is rejoicing within our hearts, because the suffering in which Jesus expresses in his life at this moment in physical torture, meant nothing but the separation from the father cried in such agony, why would you go through this? Jesus? For you.
And for us to come to a text like this and say things like, well, Jesus is just one option for you in your life, is to undermine or undermine everything that has to do with the beauty of the cross. To say that there was any other place in which atonement takes place for our sins. Is to undermine the beauty of what the cross is about. But listen to this by embracing it. This is. This is what it means for you in your position with God. Romans eight and chapter 31. Paul’s reflection then, because of what God has done, he’s saying this. If God is for us. Who can be against us. I mean, when you consider what Jesus is expressing on this cross for you, if you just stop and think, has anyone ever compared and love for you in this world? Where else would you ever go to be loved this much and experience a God who cares about you this much? I mean, what could even compare in the amount of love in which Jesus is expressed here in the depth of his soul over the loss that he is experiencing. And Paul on that. Remarks. If God is this passionate for me.
Who is against us. The Psalms say it like this In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? I mean, do you know how much I’m loved? And do you know how much God looks after me and God knows what’s going on around me? Do you know what Jesus paid? Just so I have the opportunity to to place my faith and affection with all I am back to him. Do you know if this kind of God, if this is the concern that he expresses for me? I mean, what can this world throw at me that God can’t handle? In Hebrews 13 five it says this. Got us sad. Never. Well, I leave you. And never look at this. Will I forsake you? Jesus takes your place. He he experienced forsaken by the father, so that he could say in Hebrews 13 that you yourself would never be forsaken by him. What kind of love pursues you this way? And to what degree could you ever hope to experience a greater love than this? So in your heart when you consider the extent of what Easter is about. The joy within our souls is to never undermine this cross by saying there is some other way, because if there was any other way, I can guarantee this morning Jesus would have never endured what he endured for you and me. A lot of passion. So what’s our hope? Don’t take shame in it.
Don’t hide it. Don’t undermine it. Don’t cover it over and pretend, because Jesus on the cross himself shouts this within his very being. And this is what I think about the Easter season. This is the reason why I wanted to start here this morning, is that I believe it is the love of God that compels us to love and live for him in return. And so when we grasp this with all of our being, all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, it takes the affection of everything that we are as human beings, and we can place it towards the beauty of what Christ has done for us. Because now, in the resurrection of Jesus, no longer is this horrific event defined by by just the death on the cross, but now it’s defined by life eternal, found in Jesus. It has gone from the most despicable, darkest day in history to everything that we will rejoice over from now into all of eternity. And when you lean into it. This Easter season. All that you are. And all that he has done. It gives your heart reason to rejoice and praise in Christ. Thank you for letting me be a little passionate this morning. But this is something with our hearts we should never let go.