Jesus’ Words from the Cross – Part Two:
(Note – these meditations on Christ’s Words from the Cross were written by the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon).
The Fourth Word – Anguish: (from Matthew 27:46)
At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
I have chosen this subject that it may help the children of God to understand a little of their infinite obligations to their redeeming Lord. You shall measure the height of his love, if it be ever measured, by the depth of his grief, if that can ever be known. See with what a price he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. This was a very remarkable desertion. It is not the way of God to leave either his sons or his servants. His saints, when they come to die, in their great weakness and pain, find him near. They are made to sing because of the presence of God: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” Dying saints have clear visions of the living God. Our observation has taught us that if the Lord be away at other times, he is never absent from his people in the article of death I remember, also, that our blessed Lord had lived in unbroken fellowship with God, and to be forsaken was a new grief to him. He had never known what the dark was till then: his life had been lived in the light of God. Do you not think that the amazement of our Lord, when he was “made sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:21), led him thus to cry out? For such a sacred and pure being to be made a sin-offering was an amazing experience. Sin was laid on him, and he was treated as if he had been guilty, though he had personally never sinned; and now the infinite horror of rebellion against the most holy God fills his holy soul, the unrighteousness of sin breaks his heart, and he starts back from it, crying, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
He bore the sinner’s sin, and he had to be treated, therefore, as though he were a sinner, though sinner be could never be. With his own full consent he suffered as though he had committed the transgressions which were laid on him.
The Fifth Word – Suffering: (from John 19:28-29)
Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, “I thirst.”
Jesus said, “I thirst,” and this is the complaint of a human being. And yet, though he was Lord of all he had so fully taken upon himself the form of a servant and was so perfectly made in the likeness of sinful flesh, that he cried with fainting voice, “I thirst.” Jesus was proved to be really man, because he suffered the pains which belong to manhood. While thus we admire his condescension let our thoughts also turn with delight to his sure sympathy: for if Jesus said, “I thirst,” then he knows all our frailties and woes. The next time we are in pain or are suffering depression of spirit we will remember that our Lord understands it all, for he has had practical, personal experience of it.
The Sixth Word – Victory: (from John 19:30)
Jesus said, “It is finished.”
This shout of triumph rings with all the freshness and force of when He spoke it. The satisfaction He rendered to the justice of God was finished. But next, the Savior meant that the satisfaction which He rendered to the justice of God was finished. The debt was now, to the last farthing, all discharged. The atonement and propitiation were made once and for all and forever—by the one offering made in Jesus’ body on the Tree. There was the cup, Hell was in it, the Savior drank it—not a sip and then a pause—not a draught and then a ceasing. He drained it till there is not a dreg left for any of His people. The great ten-thronged whip of the Law was worn out upon His back. There is no lash left with which to smite one for whom Jesus died. The great cannonade of God’s justice has exhausted all its ammunition—there is nothing left to be hurled against a child of God.
Once again—when He said, “It is finished,” Jesus had totally destroyed the power of Satan, of sin and of death. The Champion had entered the lists to do battle for our soul’s redemption against all our foes. He met Sin. Horrible, terrible, all-but omnipotent Sin nailed Him to the Cross. But in that deed, Christ nailed Sin also to the tree. There they both did hang together—Sin and Sin’s Destroyer. Sin destroyed Christ and by that destruction Christ destroyed Sin.
The Seventh Word – Contentment: (from Luke 23:46-49)
“And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man.” And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.”
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I couldn’t find the sermon Charles Spurgeon preached on this last Scripture, so let me close today with a comment of my own. In light of the other words that Jesus spoke on the Cross – that is, because Jesus was forsaken by God so we will never be, and because He said that the work of salvation was finished, this final word offers the Christian encouragement and hope. When we die, it will be with the same confidence and assurance that Jesus had – “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” I don’t have to wonder or worry, but I have a promise from God, that on the day I die, I KNOW that I will be in Heaven with my Lord.
Like Charles Spurgeon said, “As to my sin, I hear its harsh accusings no more when I hear Jesus cry, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” I know that I deserve the deepest hell at the hand of God’s vengeance; but I am not afraid. He will never forsake me, for he forsook his Son on my behalf. I shall not suffer for my sin, for Jesus has suffered to the full in my place.”
Pastor Chris Jordan