Tom Scott - 11/03/2018
Date: March 12, 2018
Due to the time change we experienced yesterday, the sun is coming up over my right shoulder as I write this E-study. Since I was a young man, there has always been something special about watching the sun come up over the horizon. Maybe it’s the promise of a new day that excites me. Maybe it is the reminder that God’s mercies are new every day. Maybe God wired me to be a morning person and the sunrise is His reward for getting up early. The darkness is driven away by the rays of the sun as they peek over the horizon.
It’s hard to image the darkness Jesus experienced on the cross as he hung there one Friday afternoon. For three hours he stared into the darkness which surrounded him. That is probably one of the contributing factors to Jesus cry there in Matthew chapter 27. In the midst of his anguish, Jesus would cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” That is a scream that some of us are all to familiar with. Yesterday, during the message, we talked about that fourth statement from Jesus on the cross. Here are five questions to help us reflect upon the message.
1. Can you describe a time in your life when you felt like God had abandoned you and what pulled you through that experience?
2. Often in times of tragedy, people will ask about the presence of God in those moments. As Jesus hung there on the cross, what would you imagine was going through his mind those three hours of darkness when Jesus appears to remain silent?
3. During those times when we feel like God has forsaken, abandoned, or ignored our request; we need to find the courage to move forward in our spiritual journey. Yesterday, I suggested that we need to hold on to our faith. What does the promise of Hebrews 13:5 mean for you today?
4. A second suggestion that I made was that we need to press on with our spiritual journey. Part of pressing on is to make sure we are taking care of our physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing. What are a couple of practices you engage in to ensure that you have the strength to press on when it comes to your spiritual journey with the Lord?
5. Along with holding on and pressing on, I would suggest that we need to pray on as a follower of Jesus’ example. While on the cross, Jesus was constantly lifting up his voice to God. Even in this fourth statement we find a prayer to His Father. What are some of the benefits to praying even in those moments of darkness which we experience in life?
This fourth statement from Jesus is powerful because a lot of us can relate to what He was saying. There have been times when we felt like God has abandoned us in our time of need or neglected to answer our prayers. Let me encourage you to go back to Psalm 22 and read again the words that Jesus was quoting from the cross. There is a powerful testimony to the fact that God is here with us today, even in those darkened moments when life seems to be coming to an end. Jesus is there inviting us to take a few more steps with him as he leads us into his glorious light. Let’s remain faithful to the finish knowing that God has something beautiful in store for those who complete their spiritual journey.
In His Service,
Introduction: For six hours Jesus endured the pain and suffering of the cross. It was during those last moments that Jesus would share his final words. This morning we are going to look at the fourth statement spoken from those wooden beams.
I. Where is God?
Are there times when we feel like God has abandoned us?
A. Ever felt abandoned?
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
B. He felt forsaken.
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
II. God was there.
Jesus felt the full weight of our sins at this moment in his life.
A. It’s the ninth hour.
The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.
B. It’s the darkest moment.
As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
III. God is here.
What should we do when those feelings of isolation from God flood our souls?
A. Hold on.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
B. Press on.
1 Peter 2:24
1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
C. Pray on.
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
Conclusion: Jesus now understands that feeling of abandonment that some of us have been through. He experienced that moment when he felt God had turned his back on him. God was there for his Son at the cross and He will be there for us at our crossroads on this spiritual journey He has mapped out for us.