#4 (The “7 Last Sayings of Christ” Series)
"CRY OF SEPARATION!"
TEXT: Matt. 27:45-49
INTRO: The last words of a dying man are usually considered the most important; our history books are full of the last sayings of great men and women. They are sometimes full of great faith and at other times they are full of great fears and anguish. With Jesus we see the same thing.
Jesus hung on the cross from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and during the first 3 hours His 3 recorded sayings are full of great faith:
1. "Father forgive them...." [PARDON]
2. "Today you will be with me in paradise." [PROMISE]
3. "Woman, behold your son....behold your mother..." [PROVISION]
At noon however there is a dramatic shift; at the height of the day it suddenly becomes very dark and the 4th recorded saying of Jesus is dramatically different from the previous ones that were full of hope, instead we hear our Lord cry out "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" [PAIN].
Suddenly we face the great cry of separation that is the result of bearing sins, a separation that every sinful man knows but a sinless Jesus had never known before. In taking our sins upon Him for a moment He suddenly experienced the horrible sense of darkness that crowds into the human heart. Jesus was fully embracing our humanity and our pain and the full price of sin which was separation and death.
Fortunately this was not the final saying of Christ, and the anguish here will later find a more joyous utterance in the victorious cry of "IT IS FINISHED" [POWER] … but that is another message. For now, we must explore the anguish of sin and the pain of separation that it brings.
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us in Christ's 4th saying from the cross that sinful man is separated from God. The cry and anguish of our heart can only be turned to joy when we come to the one who bore our sins, and through His cleansing we can finally have fellowship with a Holy God.
I. THE DARKNESS 27:45
A. Supernatural! 27:45a
1. Dramatic changes occur in nature as the Creator now takes on the sins of the world ... darkness suddenly covers the land at !
a. This was no solar eclipse since Passover is ALWAYS at a full moon stage, it is impossible to have a solar eclipse at this time, only a lunar eclipse can happen this way. During a full moon the sun and moon are opposite each other from earth therefore the darkness at was not natural in origin, it was supernatural.
b. It also could not have been a solar eclipse because the darkness lasted from to , this is impossible in a solar eclipse because darkness in a solar eclipse can only last minutes, not hours.
c. It could not have been a fog blanket either, fog usually forms at sunset or sundown when the air is cooled before being warmed by the sun and this was at noon when the sun is highest and most likely to burn off any fog, it is very rare to see fog at noon anywhere!
2. All creation is responding to the creator's suffering, a great testimony by itself that Jesus was who He said He was!
3. As darkness covers the land the world itself convulses with an earthquake, the only one indifferent to the crucifixion of the Creator is sinful man himself!
a. Perhaps sinful man was so accustomed to darkness that he didn't recognize the significance of these moments.
b. Jesus bearing our sins brought about darkness both physically and spiritually, it was the moment of anguish!
4. Jesus is at this moment becoming our sin bearer and taking the penalty of sin in His own body that we might be set free.
a. How could those standing by miss this great act of love here?
b. How can WE miss the great love of Christ today, many still ignore Jesus' sacrifice today!
5. “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for another.”
ILLUS: Nikolai Berdyaev, who abandoned Marx for Christianity insists that neither history nor theology nor the church brought him to the Christian faith, but a simple woman called only Mother Maria. He was present at a concentration camp when the Nazis were murdering Jews in gas chambers. One distraught mother refused to part with her baby. When Maria saw that the officer was only interested in numbers, without a word she pushed the mother aside and quickly took her place. This action revealed to Berdyaev the heart of Christianity – and what atonement means. -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 35.
B. Spiritual 27:45b
1. If we don't see the anguish of sin we can't appreciate the awe of salvation!
2. The physical darkness here mirrored the spiritual darkness of the human race. Without Christ the world would stay covered in darkness, but it would have been an even greater darkness than physical, it would be spiritual darkness!
a. Even today many are so busy in life that they cannot see the darkness of their own soul.
b. But Jesus understood that this darkness needed to be conquered and He was the only one who could do it for us!
3. While many ignore the spiritual darkness of this world we must not as God's children. Do we feel the anguish in our hearts that Jesus felt when He realized how dark the world really was?
a. We must guard our hearts against getting used to this darkness, for if we do we will lose our passion for evangelism and reaching out to sinful man!
ILLUS: Finding his newly-appointed pastor standing at his study window in the church weeping as he looked over the inner city's tragic conditions, a layman sought to console him: "Don't worry. After you've been here a while, you'll get used to it." Responded the minister, "Yes, I know. That's why I am crying." – Source Unknown
b. Jesus understood that He must die to destroy the darkness that hung over the human race; do you realize what He has done for you?
4. Man's greatest problems are not poverty, lack of education, disease, or political oppression; it is SIN that is man's greatest problem!
a. This is why Jesus died; there was no other way to remove the cause of sin and the curse of sin.
b. The anguish of sin can be heard in Jesus' cry here!
II. THE DESOLATION! 27:46
A. Search! 27:46a
1. Christ's cry of separation here reflects the anguish that man experiences when he bears his sins!
a. Sin separates us from God.
b. This separation is real, and if we were honest about it we would acknowledge that it leaves us with an aching loneliness in our hearts!
(1. Many people try and cover this loneliness by filling their lives with all kinds of distractions.
(2. Yet, underneath all the activity in our lives, the anguish of spiritual desolation is still there unless we come to Christ!
2. How tragic that people will fill their lives with everything but Christ!
ILLUS: Donald Gary Barnhouse, pastor of the Tenth
St. Presbyterian Church in the heart of
Obviously, the noisy disturbance had put a damper on the attitude of worship within the church. Barnhouse, however, seizing the moment in dramatic fashion, lifted high the communion cup and shouted, "Glorious, glorious, Jesus drank the dregs for all of us. Glory be to God there is no more for us, for on the cross He drank it all alone." -- Adapted from Margaret N. Barnhouse, That Man Barnhouse, p. 201.
3. As the weight of our sins bore down on Him, He cries out the searching question of the lost ... the search for God!
a. The anguish of separation from God that sin brings causes the heart to cry out for God!
b. BUT ... to cry out to Him will not leave us disappointed, for there WILL be an answer!
c. Though full of anguish Jesus was still able to say, "MY God, MY God…"
B. Separation! 27:46b
1. Like David's cry in Psalm 22:1 where this saying of Christ's is quoted from, the burden of sin brings the sense of isolation, of being forsaken!
a. For Jesus this was foreign to Him, He and the Father had always been one, had always had fellowship, and so this sense of separation if even for a moment due to bearing our sins brought a great anguish to His soul!
b. How much more tragic it is when sinful man who is so accustomed to having no fellowship with God fails to respond to the light of the world!
2. The greatest tragedy is when sinful man would rather stay in darkness instead of coming into the light, yet many do!
ILLUS: When the Bastille, a castle-like prison in
3. We do not have to live our lives separated from God, through Christ our sins can be forgiven and our fellowship with God restored; why would anyone not want this!?
III. THE DESECRATION! 27:47-49
A. Sarcasm 27:47
1. Though demonstrating the greatest love for sinful man, there were those around the cross of Jesus that responded to Him with sarcasm and ridicule!
a. Many still use the name of Christ mockingly today!
b. To so many people Jesus' death and His Gospel is nothing more than a cruel joke.
2. How blind and foolish those around the cross of Jesus were and how foolish and blind so many people are today!
a. They didn't even want to hear Jesus' words though Jesus spoke these words with "A LOUD VOICE," they claimed to hear Jesus calling out for Elijah instead of "MY GOD" which is the translation of "ELOI."
b. Certainly they heard, but only what they wanted to hear! Sin makes us deaf to God's truth.
3. The very one that could save them they were cursing and mocking in ridicule, if only they knew!
ILLUS: Many years ago a poor cripple was cruelly nicknamed "Old Rattle Bones" by a group of boys on the street. The ringleader named Freddie was quite worried, however, when the man headed straight toward his home one day. Because his friends were with him, the boy tried to hide his anxiety. "Go on, Old Rattle Bones," he shouted, "see who cares if you talk to my mother." The man said with sadness as he continued on his way, "You wouldn't call me names if you knew what caused my condition." Arriving at his destination, he was welcomed by the boy's mother. She told her son to come in also. Turning to Freddie, the man said, "Years ago when you were just a baby, your nurse took you out in your carriage for a ride near the river. When she let go of the handle for a moment, it suddenly began to careen down the hill. Before she could catch up with it, the buggy had plunged into the water below. I jumped into the river and after a difficult struggle brought you safely to shore, but I left before anyone could ask my name. The water that day was frigid, and it aggravated my rheumatic condition. Now, 10 years later, I can scarcely hobble along." Freddie hung his head and began to cry. "Thank you for saving me. And forgive me for calling you 'Old Rattle Bones.' I didn't know who you were!" – Source Unknown
4. But what about you? Are you any different? Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If not ... how are you different from them?
B. Shortsighted! 27:48-49
1. One soldier offers Jesus the usual drink of a Roman soldier, a type of vinegar or sour wine that was a common beverage of Roman soldiers. He offers this to refresh Jesus so He can remain a little longer before He dies, perhaps in the hopes that Elijah might come and they can see a miracle!!!
a. If only they could see the miracle IN Christ!
b. How like many in this world, they don't realize what a prize Jesus is, instead they ignore the valuable gift we have in Christ!
c. All this world wants is something spectacular, but what it needs is a savior!
2. They have no idea what treasure is in front of them ... so they wait to see if a lesser treasure like Elijah will show up!
3. Christ is the greatest treasure the world has ever been given, and though right in our presence so many missed the true value of Christ!
ILLUS: A gem dealer was strolling the aisles at the
The stone has since been certified as a 1,905-carat natural star sapphire, about 800 carats larger than the largest stone of its kind. It was appraised at $2.28 million.
It took a lover of stones to
recognize the sapphire's worth. It
took the Lover of Souls to recognize the true value of ordinary-looking people
like us. -- Wanda Vassallo,
4. Will you let the greatest treasure of all time slip through your fingers?
5. The anguished cry of separation led to the victorious cry of salvation ... you cannot know the second one without experiencing the first one!
6. Christ is waiting to end your cry of separation, for He made a way back to God through Himself. Don’t turn away from the one who loved you and bore your sins so you can have His salvation!
CONCLUSION: When Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" it was not just the cry of physical pain but the anguish of separation that sin brings between man and God. Jesus in taking upon Himself our sins felt what we know - separation, "He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in Him" II Cor. 5:21. Will you end your separation from God today; Christ made a way for you ... come!