Eloi Eloi Lema Sabachthani
Over the past four weeks we have been examining the Famous Last Words of Jesus from the cross. We have been struck by the fact that Jesus' first words were spoken directly to the needs of the people who were there with Jesus on that day. He spoke words of forgiveness, hope, and care. Last week we saw Jesus cry out for the first time something for himself when he said, "I thirst." Those words spoke loud and clear that Jesus was human and suffered the effects of the beating and crucifixion that He was enduring. The life was physically draining from His body. Yet in His weakness, he can sympathize with us. Today we continue our study by looking at Mark 15:33-34. And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
We believe that Jesus was hung on the cross around the third hour of the day, or 9 am. His first words were focused during the first three or so hours of His crucifixion. Then around noon, everything went pitch black. Darkness filled the land. Is anyone here afraid of the dark? There is something mysterious about the dark that causes many of us to be a little more on edge as the light fades and darkness comes. We don't know exactly what caused the earth to go dark, but I am sure that it was directly related to what was happening on the cross and it culminated in the last words of Jesus that we will look at over the next three weeks. Mark records the Aramaic version of Jesus' words, which would have been known to the people milling around the cross. It was three in the afternoon, the darkness had been thick, the suffering intense. Then Jesus cries out. It is a prayer of anguish. A prayer of one that had been forsaken!
This was the only time he spoke to his Father as "God" rather than "Father." This change in address signified the break in fellowship between Father and Son. Many desire to lighten the ramifications of this statement by saying that Jesus just felt forsaken, but was not really forsaken by God the Father and God the Spirit. But John Calvin was right in saying that Christ's soul had also to experience the full effects of judgment: "If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual...Unless his soul had shared in the punishment, he would have been the redeemer of bodies alone." In consequence, "he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his should the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man." We should not think that the Father and the Son became separated in their "being" or "essence." When the Father forsook the Son, the Trinity did not divide in two. This was a break in fellowship, not a breach of the fundamental unity of the Father and the Son. When we see Jesus forsaken on the cross we can understand why he did not want to die. Jesus Christ has felt your pain, and worse. No one else has ever felt the shock that Jesus felt, in his innocence, when he was forsaken by God. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"-- (Galatians 3:13, ESV)
JESUS WAS FORSAKEN AS HE TOOK OUR SINS UPON HIMSELF, BUT HE WAS NOT FORGOTTEN.