Why Hast Thou
7 Last Sayings on the CROSS series
Text: Ps. 22:1-19; Matt. 27:41-50 (45-46)
Aim: To reveal the reason for
Christ’s cry on the cross.
Today, we view once again Calvary. We stand
at the foot of it and cast our gaze at the three crosses. We notice that
Calvary if anything, is a place of contrast. At Calvary we see:
A true man of
peace – Lord Jesus Christ AND men of war – the soldiers.
Here we see the
World’s hatred for Christ AND Christ’s love for the World.
Here we witness
the Son of God dying so that the sons of men can live
At this time,
angels of a holy God were weeping, while the Devils of Satan are rejoicing.
It was at
Calvary, we see a thief rejecting the precious gift of eternal life, while
another was accepting it.
Here at Calvary,
Christ’s life is lost, so that our life might be found.
At Calvary we see
the depth of sin AND the heights of divine love.
At Calvary, our
Saviour died and salvation was born.
darkness fell so that the light might shine in the hearts of those who visit.
Here at Calvary
we see God praying AND the crowd cursing.
At Calvary we see
man at his very worst AND God at His very best.
Up to our Scripture reading Matthew, Jesus
has already spoke three times.
1st – He offered up a
prayer for the forgiveness of his enemies – “Father forgive them they know not what they do.”
2nd – He gave the words of
salvation for a dying thief – “Today,
shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
3rd – He put forth a request
for to John for the care of His mother. “He
saith unto his mother, ‘Woman, behold thy son!’ Then saith he to
the disciple, ‘Behold thy mother!’ And from that hour that disciple
took her unto his own home” (John 19:25-27).
Shortly from that moment we pass on into Darkness, Desolation and Death. Darkness fell at the “sixth hour” until the “ninth hour.” The Jews
divided their day into two 12-hr. segments beginning to count from 6 am.
Reckoned according to Hebrew time, this would be 12 noon to 3 in the afternoon.
are not talking here about an eclipse of the sun – Passover was celebrated at the time of the full moon, this is when
the moon is opposite to the sun! So the darkening of the sun could not be the
result of the natural phenomenon of the moon passing between the earth and the
This darkness was noted by one at least of
the pagan writers. Phlegon, a Roman
astronomer, speaking of the 14th yr. of the reign of Tiberius, which
is supposed to be that in which our Saviour died, says, that “the
greatest eclipse of the sun that was ever know happened then, for the day was
so turned into night that the stars appeared” (Barns Notes of the NT, pg.
What went on beneath that dreaded veil, we
are not meant to know as it wrapped Christ’s agony from the world’s
eyes. It symbolised the blackness of His desolation and by it God dropped the
heavens in mourning for man’s sin.
fear into the heart of man like total darkness. I can only assume those present
were “gobbed smacked” and shaking with fear as to what was
transpiring that hour.
I think I can
understand the words, “My God, my
God, why hast thou forsaken me?” as they are written by David in the
22nd Psalm. But the same words, “My
God, my God, why hast thou, forsaken me?” when uttered by Jesus on
the cross, I cannot fully comprehend, so I’ll not pretend to be able to
explain them to you. There is no plummet that can fathom the depths; there is
no eagle’s eye that can penetrate the mystery that surrounds this strange
I have read where Martin Luther sat him down
in his study to consider this text.
Hour after hour, that
mighty man of God sat still and those, who waited on him, came into the room,
again and again, and he was so absorbed in his meditation that they almost
thought he was a corpse. He moved neither hand nor foot, and neither ate nor
drank, but sat with his, eyes wide open, like one in a trance, thinking over
these wondrous words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
And when, after many long hours, in which he seemed to be utterly lost to everything
that went on around him, he rose from his chair, someone heard him say,
“God forsaking God! No man can understand that;” and so he went his
Tabernacle Pulpit, pg. 315-316)
Though that is
probably not the correct expression to use, —I endorse it. It is little
wonder that Luther thought of our text in that light. It was said of Luther
after this study that he looked like a man who had been down a deep mine, and
who had come up again to the light. These few verses are tremendously deep
— no man will ever he able to fathom them.
So I’m not,
going to try to explain them, but first
I want to make some points, ask a few
questions and secondly, to draw some lessons from these verses.
Few of us understand
the theories of electricity, but we make use of it every day. We may know of a
variety of things for which we have practical use, BUT which are beyond the
grasp of our minds. This saying of our Lord on the cross may be of great
service to us even though we cannot fully comprehend it.
accustomed to addressing God as His Father.
you turn to Jesus’ prayers, he invariably speaks to God as His Father.
relationship with Father is both 100% as God and 100% man.
this instance He does NOT say “Father,” BUT “My God.”
this because He had doubts about His Sonship? Assuredly not!
Him for 40 days in the wilderness. Time after time Satan challenged, “If
Thou be the Son of God…” do such and such or so and so. BUT Christ
sent him packing.
Here Satan is not
attacking. BUT here Jesus is doing business with God.
d. Satan has not gained some advantage over our Lord in
this situation and some how has made Him doubt His relationship with the
Saviour was speaking to God as man! That is why Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken Me?” – (Matt 27:46)
inconceivable that God the Son would call God the Father, “My God.”
remember Jesus was Emmanuel –God with us – God and man united in
seems impossible that Jesus, as God would allow Himself to be scourged, spit
upon, and mocked. It seems impossible for God to die.
was not only possible, but also absolutely necessary in order to complete
redemption for the world.
was necessary for Him to be both God’s beloved Son and to be forsaken of
He was God in the flesh, He could truly say, as many of us have said, “My God, My God, why hast Thou
a believer, the next time you are persecuted and forsaken, keep in mind, Jesus,
the ONE who has gone wherever you may have to go, the ONE who has suffered more
that you can ever suffer, and the ONE who has taken His part in the direst
calamity that ever happened to a human, so that He had to cry out in the agony
of His soul, “My God, My God, why
hast Thou forsaken Me?”
was this forsaking?
you remember how it feels when you experience rejection? Maybe it came from a
spouse, work mate, friend or from a family member? When it happens, it is
unpleasant and painful. Like you, Jesus, as a man, experienced feelings of
rejection on many occasions through out his life.
hometown of Nazareth had thought of Him only as the son of a carpenter, NOT the
Son of God.
b. John 1:11 – We read, “He came unto his own, and his own
received him not.”
His profound teaching in John 6:66
– “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked
no more with him.
a put down, when they ran out of anything meaningful to argue, the religious
leaders accused him of being an illegitimate child, casting upon Him the stigma
of being a social reject.
His trial, His devoted disciples had fled for fear of the Roman solders.
and the Father had dwelt in unity for all eternity. NOW, while in the darkest
hour of His need, the Father rejects Him.
2. What was this forsaking? Some think
when God looked upon the Lord Jesus Christ, He saw the total sum of all the
miseries brought upon man—from the Past,
the Present and from Future generations of the human race.
must have been a holy horror!
is Jesus Christ experiencing all the woes of man—
caused by S-I-N—in this life and in that which is to come.
being completely man one with man, He spoke in the name of man and cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou
b. NOTE: The Saviour DID NOT say, “My God, My God, why hast Thou
forsaken MAN?” but ME! This forsaking was personal!
think Christ’s cry of forsaking had to do with the shock of His soul on
account of the degradation of man’s sin.
did not say, “My God, My God, why has MAN forsaken THEE,” and why has Thou so completely left men in
cry was, “Why hast Thou forsaken ME?
was NOT so much to the God of man to whom Jesus appealed, BUT to “My God, My God!”
grief was a personal and it wrung from Him in the cry “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” This
forsaking, by the Father, in whom He trusted, related particularly to HIMSELF!
it be that Christ was forsaken due to some physical weakness?
Some of us may be aware that when one has
experienced recent surgery or is has become very sickly—when the body is
a low condition, the soul sinks. An involuntary unhappiness of mind, a
depression of spirit, or a sorrow of heart often comes upon you.
You may be without any real reason for
grief, yet you are unhappy because, for the time, your body has conquered your
was NOT the case with Jesus Christ! Not many moments after this, we read in Vs.
50 – the Jesus “cried again
with a loud voice,” His conquering cry, “IT IS FINISHED!”
spirit over came His physical weakness—His loud voice proves He had a
considerable amount of mental strength—notwithstanding His physical
depression of spirit caused by physical reasons would not account for His
this cry was NOT because of unbelief.
this is the case of a child of God, who faces great trials and
struggles—they cry out “My
God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
long ago as Isaiah’s day, “Zion
said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. (Isaiah
the Lord replied, “Can a woman
forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her
womb? yea, they may forget, yet will
I not forget thee.” (Isaiah 49:15)
often makes us talk about God forgetting us, when He does nothing of the kind.
was impossible for the Lord Jesus Christ to have any doubt about the faithfulness
and loving-kindness of His Father. —Jesus’ cry did not arise from
maybe Jesus made a mistake in crying out?
believers, when the are having problems and things aren’t going their way
think— “God has forsaken us! We must have misunderstood what He was
doing or we missed or misinterpreted some signs as to how He was dealing with
us.” Therefore they conclude that everything is against them, because God
is out to get them for their spiritual stupidity.
was under no such delusions. There was no mistake about this matter at
hand—God HAD forsaken Him!
It was really so!
Jesus said, “Why hast Thou forsaken
Me? —He spoke an infallible truth. —His mind was not deluded,
nor was He under a cloud whatsoever. He knew what He was saying! His Father had
can this expression mean? Does it mean
that God did not love His Son?
did forsake His Son, but He loved Him as much when He forsook Him as at any
were possible for God’s love towards His Son to be increased, he would
have delighted in Him more when He was obediently suffering for the sins of the
world than He had ever delighted in Him before.
not think for one moment that God was angry with Him personally or looked upon
Him as unworthy of His love or found anything in Him displeasing. BUT the fact
remains, God had withdrawn from Him, He forsook Him. For the time being He had
lost His Father’s favour.
Christ was not only forsaken but separated from the father as well.
being with the Father for all eternity, the Father had to watch, as His son
died alone on the cross.
are times in every life when we feel the pain of separation.
time our children go to school; seeing a child into military or college;
taking that final look and as you walk away from a grave of a loved one you
feel the pain of separation.
missionary feels that pain of separation every time they say good bye to
time a child becomes homesick at camp for their parents, every time we wave
good bye to a loved one, God is reminding us of the pain he and His son
suffered that day on the cross for you and me.
next time you say good bye and the tears start to flow remember how Jesus felt
on the cross.
why did God the Father have to forsake God the Son?
on the cross Christ not only bore our sin (Gal. 3:13), He became sin for us.
Cor. 5:21 – “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we
might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
53:6 – “All
we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and
the LORD hath laid on him [Jesus] the
iniquity of us all.”
sin separates man from God.
Righteous, Holy, Just, God cannot look upon sin.
Hab 1:13 – “Thou art of purer eyes
than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou
upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked
devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”
1) Ps. 22:1 asked the question, “My God, my God, why hast thou
forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my
three of Ps. 22 answers it by saying, “But
thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”
from God is the TRUE death – the WAGES of sin! In that dread hour Jesus
bore in His own body and consciousness the uttermost of sin’s penalty.
physical fact of Christ’s death, if it could have taken place WITHOUT
this desolation from the consciousness of separation from God, would NOT bring
about the realisation of bearing ALL the consequences of man’s sin.
two—Christ’s physical, agonising, bloody death and His conscious
separation from God the Father—MUST NEVER be parted when we think of what
happened on Calvary’s Hill.
revealed to us by His cry “Why hast
Thou forsaken Me? what He witnessed in that darkness at midday as He was
bearing the whole weight of the world’s sin.
3. Why did God the Father have to forsake God
the Son? Because sinful man needed someone to die in his place. Man is
incapable of saving himself. No matter how good a man tries to be, he will
Rom 3:23 – “For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God.”
Rom 3:10 – “As it is written,
There is none righteous, no, not one:” Jesus paid the offal debt.
on the Cross Jesus provided for every man a way to God. Jesus was separated
from the Father so that you and I will not have to face eternal separation in
draw some lessons
how much Jesus loves us.
Christ stood and wept at the grave of Lazarus, the Jews said, “Behold how He loved him!”
on the cross Jesus did not weep, HE BLED! He did not merely bled – He
there ever any other love like this? —That he Prince of life and glory
should humble Himself to this shame and death for our sakes?
He suffered so much for us, let us be ready to suffer anything for his sake.
us be willing to give of ourselves to the reaching of the lost.
us be willing to part with our last penny, for Christ’s name’s
sake, if He requires it.
us be willing to lose our reputation in our identification with Christ.
you are a believer today, and you should ever feel that you are forsaken of
God, there is hope for you for two reasons:
1. If you should get into this state in any way,
REMEMBER that we are only where Christ has been before us. Christ came through
it and He will be with you in it. After all, no one ever before or since has
ever been forsaken as He was.
2. The feeling of being forsaken for the believer is
just apprehension. I realise that is bad enough, but it is not a matter of fact
for “For the LORD will not forsake
his people for His great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make
you his people”(1 Sam. 12:22)
is a much more awful thing even than crying, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
1. If you are afraid that God has left you and the
sweat stands on you brow in terror and you are not in the worst possible
condition. Why? There is hope for you.
2. But what is worse than that is to be without God
and not care about it. To be living without God, without hope, yet not having a
concern about themselves at all.
3. You can pity the agony of the man who cannot bear
to be without God, his agony will lead him to salvation in Christ, but what can
be done who never have any communion with God and all the while are quite happy
Please think on this – if God would
forsake Christ because of our sins, how much more so will we be forsaken if we
fail to accept Christ’s payment for our sin.
1:12 – “But
as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even
to them that believe on his name.”
“Far dearer than all that the world
can impart was the message that came to my heart;
How that Jesus alone for my sin did atone,
and Calvary covers it all.
Calvary covers it all, my past with its sin
My guilt and despair, Jesus took on him
there, and Calvary covers it all.”
1 April, 2001