April 2, 2003
4th word - "The word of Abandonment"
INTRODUCTION: Christ our Savior suspended on the cross cries out with a heart felt cry: "My God, why have You abandoned Me?" To understand these words is to understand not only what the cross preaches but also what Jesus hanging on that cross offers for a lost and dying world.
1. These words express the extent of Jesus' suffering.
A. Jesus endured enormous physical agony. Jesus endured a most shameful death. The Old Testament Scriptures remind us of the curse: "Cursed be anyone who hangs on a tree" Thus the sufferings Jesus endured from God were even more profound.
Roman citizens were exempt from crucifixion. It was reserved for the vilest of offenders. Crucifixion would take days for death to become a reality. It could take a week before crucifixion would run its full course. The cause of death by crucifixion was asphyxiation; a slow, methodical excruciating form of torture. Pain, dehydration, hallucinations were all accompanied this mad form of capital punishment.
B. The silence of God and nature demonstrate how profound the death of God's only begotten Son would become. The sun hid its face - there was a total eclipse of the sun from noon until 3 PM as darkness covered the earth.
C. What are we to make of all this? What was God the Father doing as His Son was dying? The Father was actually turning His back away from His Son. The Father abandoned His Son so that He would not have to abandon you for He bore your sins in His own body on the tree that dying to sin you might live unto righteousness.
2. Then there is the cause of Jesus' sufferings.
A. On the cross, abandoned by God and by man Jesus Christ was made sin for us. He carried our sin; He became sin for us. At the cross we see the great exchange all of the world's sin including your own is placed on the shoulders of Jesus. Jesus became sin for us. At the cross the Father accepts the Son's sacrifice and removed your sin, stills the Father's anger, and forgives your sin.
B. Thus, all of the world's sin was poured out on Him. "In Adam we have all been one; one huge rebellious man. We all have heard that lonesome voice that called us when we ran" Jesus became the world's substitute. All of the world's hatred, misery, sins and guilt have been transferred to the Son of Man. If the world's sin has been transferred to Him what else remains on you? There can be only one thing left -the Lord's innocence, righteousness and peace.
CONCLUSION: At the cross the Father abandoned the Son so that you and I could never experience being abandoned by God. Thanks be to Jesus for this most precious gift.