And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?” That is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
In both the gospel of Matthew and Mark (15:34) these words Jesus utters before he dies are recorded. I found special significance this week in these words as I looked at them in light of Romans 3:21-26. I usually read from the English Standard Version, as it is my favorite and one of the most literal translations. However, for one of my Bible Study Groups I find the Serendipity Bible works really well so I was reading it this week. As I read verse 25 of Romans 3
25 God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-
I noticed that there is a footnote after the word atonement that says God presented him as the one who would turn aside His wrath, taking away sin, through faith in his blood. And isn’t that just what Jesus was saying in his last words? That as he became our sacrifice, he was forsaken by God. That perfect union He had with the Father was broken because of our sin, and the Father had to turn His face away. How utterly devastating that is. Jesus became our sin. And that is the pain and horror of Good Friday.
Praise God that it doesn’t end there. The resurrection of Sunday morning proves that the sacrifice was accepted, and that Jesus has been restored to right relationship to God the Father, that he is seated at His right hand, and therefore we too are restored to a right relationship with a Holy and Righteous Father who can not tolerate sin. The cross means we have been saved, and the resurrection means we have been restored! Praise God, what a week it is. Glorify the one and only risen savior and Lord. The only man in history who died, was buried and was raised again to life and was seen by many witnesses! He deserves it, he earned our praise and gratitude forever!