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March 30, 2021 4:00 am
Jesus said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me is that indication that God was not there. We answer that question is he was there and God was there in a way not suspect God was there to punish his leave the turning point in the Bible the painful crescendo of Jesus earthly ministry.
And yet Scripture says surprisingly little about the physical pain. Jesus experienced on the cross. Scripture focuses on something much more important and what is that focus. John MacArthur has the answer today on grace to you as he continues his series the divine drama of redemption.
You'll get a portrait of Christ's love today that will prepare you for profound worship on resurrection Sunday and with that, let's get to the lesson here is John. We return to Mark chapter 15 and the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. I want to read again the passage that we're looking at today. Starting in verse 22 and reading all the way to verse 41, Mark 15 verse 22. Then they brought him to the place Golgotha, which is translated place of a skull and try to get in line mixed with murder but he did not take it. They crucified him, and divided up his garments among themselves casting lots for them to decide what each man should take. It was the third hour when they crucified him, the inscription of the charge against him. Read the King of the Jews they crucified two robbers with him one on his right and one on his left and the Scripture was fulfilled which says and he was numbered with the transgressors. Those passing by were hurling abuse at him, wagging their heads and saying half you who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself and come down from the cross in the same way the chief priests also along with the scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying he saved others, he cannot save himself, let this Christ the King of Israel. Now, come down from the cross so that we may see and believe those who were crucified with him were also insulting him when the six-hour came darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi Eli Lamas of Bucks County, which is translated, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me when some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, behold, he is calling for Elijah.
Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine putting on a read and gave him a drink, saying, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.
Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion who was standing right in front of him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said.
Truly this man was the son of God. There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, the lesson Josephson Salome when he was in Galilee. They used to follow him and minister to him.
There were many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. All that is being said to Jesus is disingenuous. It is all as we read in verse 31 mockery.
It is all insult as we read in verse 32.
Everything about this is intended to show Jesus scorn and disdain and ridicule and mock the notion that he is any kind of King at all. The blasphemy is so great, unparalleled and unequaled in history that we ask the question this morning where is God. Shouldn't he have consumed the blasphemers and stopped in the ridicule of his beloved son.
Shouldn't he have come down immediately and obliterated these blasphemers and protected his son, the answer to that is no God doesn't come down to destroy the blasphemers and he doesn't come down to protect his son and that is because of what it says in Isaiah 5310 that it pleased the Lord to crush him to put him to grief. It was the will of God that he be treated in this manner, and that he be killed. We know why that he might be a sacrifice for sin, that he might die in the place of sinners, that he might bear the curse for us, that he might bear the punishment for our sins. God did not come down either to destroy the blasphemers or to protect his son, and you might think that God never came down because Jesus said my God, my God, why have you forsaken me is that indication that God was not there but God was not there to punish the blasphemers. He was not there to protect his son was not there at all, will he answer that question is he was there in the moment.
The Jesus said that he was feeling the absence of God but God was there and God was there in a way that you would not suspect as long as I have taught on this and looked at this. I have never really heard explained what I'm going to explain to you. Yes, God was there and he was there not to punish the blasphemers and not to protect his son, but to punish his son. Let's look at the passage three features come out of this account. Three separate features. First, we look at the Savior and the consummation of his sacrifice. Then we look at the centurion and the confession of his faith, and then we look at the women in the confusion in their minds.
First of all, the Savior, and the consummation of his death. In verses 33 through 38. Here is the high point of salvation history. This is the death of Christ. This is the long-awaited Lamb of God dying for the sins of the world. We understand the theology of the cross and I want you to look at some of the details of the cross that informed that theology at its very initial point. Words are inadequate to capture the supernatural reality of what is happening on the cross and again what I read you is so matter-of-fact and so simple a statement.
For example, in verse 33, when the six-hour came darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour is so loaded with truth as to be almost more than we can ever bear when the six-hour came would be noon, according to the Jewish day which began at 6 AM, or about that time at sunrise and our in the ancient world without clocks and watches varied in length. In a world without seconds and minutes and in differing seasons, but the six-hour was always considered to be mid day when the sun was at its zenith. And so it was the sixth hour, the Lord, by this time that already spoken three times.
He had already said father forgive them for they know not what they do, which informed the thief on the cross that forgiveness was available if he asked for which he did and received it and then he said to John the apostle behold your mother indicating that John was going to have to care for Mary since he could no longer do that, and since his brothers were unbelievers and him.
John was given the responsibility to care for Mary and then from the cross, he said to his mother, behold, your son, meaning John he put them in the care of each other.
Third thing he said was to the penitent thief when he said today you will be with me in paradise. And then it was midday.
The blazing sun in the sky at about this time of year indicates the brightest light that day experiences and it is precisely at that moment that darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. What is this, some have suggested that this is a natural eclipse hardly others have suggested that this is satanic darkness. The truth of the matter is this is God coming on the scene. If you've never heard that I'm going to show you that in Scripture.
If you read the Old Testament as the Jews read the Old Testament you would know what they knew that God is often spoken of as light often spoken of as light.
Psalm 27 one the Lord is my light and my salvation. However, any reader of the Old Testament also knows that there were times when God is spoken of as darkness and it goes all the way back to Genesis 15 verses 12 to 15 and Exodus 10 verses 21 and 22 in Exodus 19 at Mount Sinai. Verses 16 to 18 when God appears in darkness and Exodus 20 verses 18 to 21 in Isaiah 5 and Isaiah 8 and other places God also was associated with darkness, the presence of God could be manifest light in the presence of God could be manifest darkness. In particular, there is a theme in the Old Testament that needs to be understood by every reader of Scripture, and that theme has to do with the day of the Lord the day of the Lord of technical expression for judgment technical expression for divine judgment and if we go to Old Testament passages that speak of divine judgment. We read things like this. Alas for that day. Joel 115 for the day of the Lord is near, and it will come as destruction chin from the Almighty. What will it be like chapter 2 verse 10 the earth will quake the heavens will tremble, the sun and the moon grow dark and the stars lose their brightness same chapter Joel two in verse 30 I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire columns of smoke. The sun will be turned in the darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. All of that is referring to the final day of the Lord, the eschatological day of the Lord. That is the final judgment on this world and it is a time when God is revealed in darkness and not in light and thus did the prophets speak of cataclysmic events of divine judgment being times of darkness. Darkness symbolizes divine fury darkness symbolizes righteous wrath final fury being on leash darkness then is the ultimate form of God's presence in judgment.
That is why hell which is everlasting subjection to divine judgment is a place that Jesus said in Matthew three times is outer darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in eternal on relieved blackness and it is the darkness of God's presence. He is the one who is present in judgment in hell from noon to 3 o'clock without understanding in verse 33.
Hell came to Israel as God is the true power behind the hills punishing experience. God is the true power behind the darkness of Calvary for here he unleashes hell on his son.
This was the cup the Jesus anticipated in the garden. The cup of wrath. This is why it was such a revolting anticipation that made him sweat drops of blood because in those three hours.
Think of it. Jesus suffered the eternal hell of all the people through human history who would be saved.
He bore all their eternal punishments together and did it in three hours safety center in an eternity of punishment can never pay the price, and thus its eternal.
How could Jesus in three hours receive the full eternal wrath for all the sinners, who believe the answer is, he could receive an infinite and eternal amount of wrath because the is an infinite and eternal person's capacity for everything is limitless and eternal. The darkness then listen is not the absence of God. And it's not the presence of Satan.
The darkness is not the absence of God is the presence of God is God in full judgment, vengeance, God, in full judgment. Fury is infinite wrath moved by infinite justice, releasing infinite punishment on the infinite son who can absorb all the tortures of the eternities of hell and do it in three hours. It is in those three hours that he bore in his body. Arsons, it is in those three hours that he was made sin for us is in those three hours that he took the curse and at the ninth hour. It ended 3 o'clock it ended and Mark records. The fourth statement of our Lord, Eloi, Eloi Lummus of Bucks County, which translated my God, my God, why view forsaken me, the first thing he said after the darkness and how are we to understand that what is that mean, didn't we just say God was there that this is very difficult for us to understand. Obviously talking about divine person.
I'm convinced that what our Lord is saying there is expressing the sense that the judgment has ended and he's wanting the comfort after the wrath is exhausted, when God in full presence and full vengeance has poured it out. The whole cup has been consumed in the darkness is gone so as God, perhaps, for that moment he knew God was there in the punishment but when the punishment ended. Where was God. He seems to be experiencing the separation from God.
Immediately after he has borne all the fury of his presence.
This is a very very important reminder to us that hell is the full fury of God's personal punishment. Listen, but he will never be there to comfort is our Lord given here a preview of hell punishment without comfort. Punishment without compassion punishment without sympathy punishment without relief. That's what hell is so even this is for Jesus to suffer all that hell is all the wrath all the presence of divine wrath and all the absence of divine comfort want you to notice that he cried out with a loud voice after the massive amount of physical pain and the difficulty in breathing had been inflicted upon him after the horrendous mental abuse in the relentless blasphemy and then after God has exhausted infinite hellholes of punishment on he is still strong and he cried out with a loud voice and asked where the father was in that moment when he needed comfort is cry amazingly still, the darkness just vanishing seems to raise no question with the people or change anything because in verse 35 when some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, behold, he's calling for Elijah and the comedy is reignited. Here's a reprise of the sarcasm. So this was more fuel for their scorn. There sarcasm always calling father the Elijah to come and rescue him because he's righteous. He's calling for Elijah, the one who is to accompany the arriving Messiah for the take up more mockery and the darkness is just ended in there right back mocking you would think that darkness for three hours would shut down mocking but how deep is this blasphemy how deep is this blasphemy gets worse. Verse 36 someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a read and gave him a drink, saying, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down. I don't know what you thought about that in the past, but that's just more of the same ridicule.
That's just more of the same abuse more of the same scorn and blasphemy is a cheap wine vinegar consumed by soldiers usually mixed with water. Let's give them something to drink that will prolong his life a little bit and if we prolong his life a little bit. Maybe Elijah will show up and rescue. He did say I thirst. As Psalm 6921 says he would and he was offered the strength but only in mockery.
Let's see if we can extend his life a little longer and maybe Elijah will show up.
Then in verse 37 we have these very simple words and Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. Why a loud cry because he had said as the Gospels record. No one takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself. He didn't die because he couldn't breathe. He didn't die because he was out of strength. He cried out. He screamed with a loud voice in John 1928 after Jesus was given the sour wine says in verse 30 John 1930. Therefore, when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, and here's what he screamed it is finished to tell us die one were it has been accomplished and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
That's John MacArthur is the featured speaker here on grace to you since 1969. He is also Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary is titled our current Easter series. The divine drama of redemption. John this brand-new series comes from the Gospel of Mark, and that was the last of all the New Testament books that you preach through as you preach your way through the New Testament 40+ years of teaching. The New Testament verse by verse and you save Mark till the end was that strategic was there a particular reason that you did that no I honestly couldn't say there was a specific reason. But again, I I just love the providence of God. It was really really remarkable that after all those years of teaching. The New Testament we ended up in Mark because Mark is the rapidfire story of Christ, that we sort of ended where we began, we would began in John 45 years later.
Whatever it was we go back and we cycle back through the story of Christ in the rapidfire book of Mark, and by then we were so loaded with all kinds of New Testament truth that I think it brought to even that kind of a high-speed Gospel of Mark a richness in the depth that would've been there. Without all those intervening years, so in God's plan. He wanted us to end there because at the end of Mark is a part of the final chapter that calls into question the whole issue of inspiration right so I had to end 45 years of teaching the New Testament by telling people there's a problem with the last part at the end of this 45 years and it allowed me to talk about the whole issue of inspiration sweep back over it. So God always has his reasons.
But no, I didn't plan it that way. That is just the way to Portland and I'm always thrilled to go back to market anytime.
I love the clarity of Mark. I love again. The speed with which she moves through the story of Christ but also love the gems that the dramas that are there are phenomenal and that is why we call this series the divine drama of redemption and it's right out of the book of Mark, by the way, you can get the book of Mark commentary in the New Testament commentary series and I couldn't get any of the New Testament books 34 volumes on the whole New Testament.
You might want to start with Mark.
You'll find it incredibly helpful and a great blessing to the commentaries take you deep into the word of God in them. They are now available obviously from grace to just find out about the MacArthur New Testament commentary series order one or the whole set.
Shipping is free. You can order now and friend, if you love God's word. You'll love these commentaries will help you interpret any passage in the New Testament and John's commentaries on Mark are a great place to start your collection to order the commentaries on Mark or the entire MacArthur New Testament commentary series.
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