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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Torment and Triumph

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
(Matthew 27:46 – ESV)

Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 that Jesus was crucified and resurrected in accordance with what the Old Testament had prophesied of. In Romans 1:1-4 Paul tells us that God used the prophets of old to show that the promise of the gospel was not a new thing. Jesus Himself stated in John 5:39 that the scriptures were about Him, and after His resurrection Jesus told the two disciples on the road to Emmaus that all the Old Testament essentially pointed to Him (Luke 24:25-27). And so it is no wonder then, to discover that this quote from Jesus, which seems such a mystery, is actually the fulfillment of a great Old Testament prophecy written by the hand of David. Part of the mystery of this verse, Matthew 27:46, is revealed by looking back at Old Testament scripture of Psalm 22.

Jesus, in quoting this first verse of Psalm 22, He was revealing that it prophesied of Him and how He would atone for the sins of man against a holy God. These words make manifest the agony and suffering that Christ was under as He is intimately and personally identified with the judgment of God upon man for sin. To suppose that He was merely complaining, or that He was unaware of the meaning of the words of that Psalm, is to completely ignore all His teachings on these subjects (Matthew 20:18-19). Christ knew He had to die for our sins, He knew the cup was handed to Him of God.

Forsaken, He was literally suffering the pangs of hell for us, an atonement that is beyond our comprehension. We cannot comprehend it but we can adore Him for it. I have often said that when we can see the heights of His holiness compared to the depths of our depravity, then we will know the measure of His love to us.

Jesus did not cry out over mere human suffering or despair. It wasn’t the physical pain that hurt so much, but the mental anguish, and the torment of His soul, that was the real suffering. That was what Jesus called the “cup” when He was agonizing in the garden of Gethsemane the night before. Many had been and would be tortured and placed on a cross to die, perhaps even other innocent men. But no other man would suffer for the sins of the world, the spiritual wrath of God upon mankind, placed upon Jesus at the cross of Calvary.

Christ spoke these words of seeming abandonment not because of His humanity as many suppose, but because God is illustrating that in essence, we were in the body of Christ (Romans 6:6-11). It was "we" who deserved to be forsaken of God, and to suffer. Our Savior was speaking on our behalf, taking that suffering as a substitute for us.

Act one of the great atonement drama, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ had been completed. In quoting Psalm 22, Jesus knew that He would rise again, and that His resurrection would bring our justification (Romans 4:25). Jesus was going through torment but declaring the triumph of the gospel. This wasn’t an uncertain cry but a very certain call.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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At 8:39 AM, Blogger Even So... said...

Hallelujah! What a savior...

At 1:05 PM, Blogger MrsEvenSo... said...

2Cr 9:15 Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Hallelujah! Amen!

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

I love it when you quote scripture, baby...


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