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A Cry Of Anguish Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2023 2:00 am

A Cry Of Anguish Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 29, 2023 2:00 am

How trivially we regard sin. On the cross, Jesus bore the guilt of every sin ever committed in the history of humanity—even though He Himself was without sin. In this message, we contemplate three wonders of this fourth cry from the cross. Why did the Father abandon Jesus?

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The Urban Alternative
Tony Evans, PhD

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Could more heart-rending words ever be spoken than these from the cross? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus was abandoned by God the Father as the price of sin was paid in full. In this dark moment, Jesus uttered the fourth of the seven sayings from the cross, and today we'll try to understand what He meant. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, a day of darkness like no other before or since, the Savior left to die alone by His own Father.

You know, Dave, in a day of busyness, we ought to stop here and just think, contemplate, and worship. You know, the reason for the darkness very probably is darkness in the scripture represents the judgment of God. And what is involved here is that Jesus Christ is bearing our sin. There was no sin in Him, but our sin was laid on Him. On Him, God laid the iniquities of us all. We can't grasp it.

We can only try to understand it as best we can. We can invite the blessed Holy Spirit of God to grant us the ability to do that. And all of us know that Easter is just around the corner. I've written a book entitled Cries from the Cross, a Journey into the Heart of Jesus. What a way to prepare our hearts as we contemplate the seven sayings of Jesus, including, of course, the one that we are talking about today, My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours.

Simply go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us contemplate those dark moments at the cross. God cares about us.

But how do we know? The only place where we see the love of God without ambiguity is the cross. It was at the cross that Jesus Christ died and God took his farthest reach. It's at the cross that we have proof that God crossed over to our side of the chasm to redeem us. It is at the cross where we have the inflexible holiness of God colliding with the love of God and the attributes resolving themselves in mutual satisfaction. Today we come to the fourth cry of the cross, the middle cry. The middle cry is My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? This cry of the cross introduces us, first of all, to the greatest mystery. We're going to be traveling and traversing in ideas and feelings and thoughts that are beyond us, but we shall try to probe the cross. It not only represents the greatest mystery, but the greatest consolation, the greatest comfort. I'm going to be saying a word to those of you who feel forsaken by God. Those of you who have prayed and you've given up praying because somehow God hasn't answered your prayers and you feel as if you've been despised and maybe forsaken by people.

Relationships have been ruptured and you also feel abandoned by God. There's a word for you today. It's not just the greatest mystery and the greatest comfort, but also we are embarking on the greatest rebuke, the greatest rebuke. How trivially, if there's a word like that, we look at sin. It's no big deal, we say to ourselves.

Everybody does it. If you begin to think that sin is trivial, you look today at Calvary and you stay with us as we probe this mystery. Now as we begin this message, I need to say that there are two cautions that we need to remind ourselves of. The first caution is that we not misrepresent the role of God the Father in redemption. Because of the fact that the scriptures say that it pleased the Father to smite the Son, and because in a few minutes you're going to hear me say that Jesus Christ endured the wrath of God for sin. It's easy to misinterpret that and think to yourself that a benevolent Son convinced a reluctant Father to have redemption for mankind and that the Father begrudgingly agreed.

It's easy to think that the Father is the angry one and the Son is the benevolent one. It's wrong theology. It's the theology of the little girl who said, I love Jesus, but I'm scared of God.

Don't make that mistake. The scripture says it was because of the loving kindness of the Lord that redemption took place. The most famous verse in the Bible, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. So let us remember, and John Stott counsels us, lest we begin to think of the members of the Trinity at odds with one another or independently in such a sense that they are not in harmony. They are in harmony. The will of the Father and the will of the Son coincide at the cross.

Let's have another caution as well. The other caution is that we might misrepresent the Trinity. We might actually think that there was somehow a break in the ontological relationship among the persons of the Trinity. But the essence of the Trinity remained during the time of the cross. The unity, the fundamental substantial unity was there. What there was was a break in fellowship. There was a break in the presence of God.

So let's keep that in mind. It's not as if somehow now God was split in two during this dramatic event. I love the cross and I hope that you do too. It is here that everything comes together.

Imagine that we can contemplate it. Here man did a work. He showed his sin by having Jesus Christ crucified. Satan did a work because he nipped the heel of the seed of the woman and that's the best that he could do. He did a work too. Jesus did a work. He died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God.

And God did a work because his holiness was appeased, his justice was made manifest, and his love now was able to break forth towards sinners without in any way compromising his justice and his holiness. What a place to be at the foot of the cross. And now I invite you to take your Bibles and turn to Matthew chapter 27. Matthew chapter 27 and I'm reading the text from verse 45. Matthew 27 45. From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land and about the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama 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 for Elijah. Immediately one of them ran and got a sponged and filled it with wine vinegar and put it on a stick and offered it to Jesus to drink. And the rest said, now leave him alone.

Let's see if Elijah comes to save him. Before we look at the words of Jesus directly, let's take a moment and contemplate the darkness. Now in order for you to understand the timeframe, remember that the Jews calculated time from six o'clock in the morning, not midnight like we do. Consequently, when the text says that from the sixth hour to the ninth hour there was darkness, it means from 12 o'clock noon, high noon to three o'clock in the afternoon, three hours of darkness. Jesus was crucified at nine o'clock in the morning and six hours later he was dead.

The first three hours in light, the second three hours in darkness. You'll notice it says darkness came over all the land. It was a supernatural darkness.

This is not an eclipse because it was full moon. This was God availing the sun. In the Old Testament, in the book of Exodus, we read that darkness came over all the land as the ninth plague.

Think about that. The darkness came, the darkness that could be felt. And what happened at the 10th plague was that the lamb was slain. Immediately after the darkness leaves at three o'clock, Jesus is going to utter three more statements that we're going to be looking at in this series, but the last is going to be, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit. The lamb of God is going to die.

But why the darkness? The darkness symbolizes judgment. It symbolizes judgment. God was judging the crimes of those who had put Christ on the cross most assuredly. But Jesus now is going to be represented as a great sinner, not only for the sins of those who lived then who believed, but also for us. Jesus is going to be represented as a sinner. And therefore, because judgment is going to be meted out at Calvary, because of that, you have darkness over the land and the mystery of the divine suffering is shrouded behind that cloud. And well might Isaac Watts write, well might the sun in darkness hide and shut its glories in when Christ the great Redeemer died for man, the creature's sin. Now we come to the cry itself, and I'd like to suggest that there are three wonders here as we contemplate the cross. You know, the first sayings of Jesus are not a surprise to us, are they? Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

You remember we preached a message on those words. To the thief he said, remember me, the thief did, when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus replies, today you shall be with me in paradise. That's not a surprise because he has the ability to forgive sin and to give life. We're not surprised that he takes care of his mother and says, behold thy son to John and behold thy mother.

But this statement, this statement is a surprise. So I want to discuss briefly the wonder of this cry, the wonder of the cry, contrasted with the other sayings of Jesus regarding his father. In Gethsemane, Jesus Christ is in agony, but he is strengthened by God the father. On the cross he is in agony, but he is forsaken by the father. In Gethsemane, the son is tempted to forsake the father. On the cross, the father forsakes the son. As Jesus went around doing good and teaching, he said the father has not left me alone because I do always those things that please him, but he dies on the cross and he is alone. It's the only time in the scriptures where Jesus addresses his father as God.

Elsewhere always, father, thou knowest all things. The only time that he does not say father and he's crying out to him and he says my God. Symbolizing that separation of fellowship, remembering the fact that it is our sin that caused the father to hide his face. It is the blessed communion that the son had with the father, that blessed communion now interrupted because of the transaction that was taking place. And so he does not say father because he does not feel the father.

It seems as if God is not acting toward him as a father and so he says my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But I want you to know that it is also still a statement of hope and trust. Notice the words my God, my God.

This is not a word of distress or I should say it is a word of distress and not of distrust. God is still there. God still belongs to Jesus.

He is my God. But where is the fellowship? Where is the divine presence? It has left.

It has gone. So we look at this text and we are amazed at the wonder of the cry but we're also amazed at the wonder of the reply. We're amazed at the wonder of the reply because in the text itself there is no reply. Do you remember Abraham? He was asked to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah and he goes through the agony of being willing to do it and he is there on the mountain and the child is laid upon the altar and the knife is raised to stab his own boy and there's a voice from heaven and the voice says Abraham, Abraham and he said yes here I am and he says do not lay your hand upon the son because now I know that you fear God. Jesus cries out and says my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? And there is no voice from heaven.

There's no voice that says this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Silence, silence, why has thou forsaken me? But you know as we begin to piece together passages of scripture and we look at this we know why Jesus was forsaken and he knew it too. Why was Jesus Christ forsaken on the cross?

Why this cry taken from Psalm 22 as we shall see in just a moment? Well first of all it makes sense because on the cross Jesus was regarded as the worst sinner and criminal that had ever walked the face of this earth. Of all men he was regarded as the worst not personally because he was without sin but legally when Jesus was there he became legally guilty of adultery. He became legally guilty of murder, of child abuse. He became legally guilty of greed and lasciviousness.

He became legally guilty of lying and cheating and violence because all of that was credited to him. God was in Christ. Indeed the Apostle Paul says that we are made the righteousness of God in him because he was made sin for us. And you my friend, your sin was there that day on Calvary. I'm talking to some of you who are adulterers and some of you who engage in all kinds of sinful activity. Your sin was there on Calvary remember no wonder the son hid. Jesus was regarded as the greatest of criminals and what happens to the greatest of criminals?

They endure the wrath of God and in the end they are forsaken. Let's think about this theologically for just a moment okay. If Jesus was just a perfect man, just a man, he could maybe die for the sin of one other man and make a sacrifice and say I give my life in the stead of one other person. I take the wrath of God against me for him, one other person. He couldn't die for millions of people.

He could only die for one. But because Jesus was the God-man because he was both God and man and had a divine nature and was dying now for millions of people. You see all of the punishment of hell not just for one but for many had to be compressed into a three-hour period as he endured the wrath of God that would justly fall upon those who would not be redeemed. That is to say that Jesus was going to endure the wrath of God that we would have received if he had not redeemed us.

And now we kind of reach the limits don't we? Because what we really have is an infinite being perhaps with infinite suffering that we cannot possibly comprehend. How could the pure, holy, spotless Son of God come into direct contact with sin and not be grieved and not be forsaken if we can almost visualize Jesus dying with a blanket of all of our sins in which he is wrapped.

And holiness has to come into contact now with sin. Who can fathom it? I think that one of the best illustrations of what happened in Calvary is that story that's been told many different times I'm sure in different ways stories have a life of their own about the person who was speeding and then was unable to pay the fine.

And so he stood before the judge the defendant did and the man did not have any money and the story is that the judge left his bench, took off his robe, went down the stairs, stood with the defendant, took a hundred dollars out of his own pocket, laid it on the table, went back, put on his robe, walked up the stairs, was on the bench, reached over and took the one hundred dollar bill and said you are free. Now there's a part of that illustration that is right there's also a part that is wrong. The part that is right is that's exactly what was happening here. God was dying for God. That's why Luther went into a room to contemplate this text and came out and said I cannot fathom it.

I have given up. How can God die on behalf of God? But that's exactly what happened. That's why we sing that thou my God should die for me. So the illustration is right that the God who demands the payment is the God who gives the payment that he demands. That's the gospel. The thing that's wrong with that illustration is we're not talking about a hundred dollars.

We're not talking about silver and gold. We're talking about the precious blood of Jesus Christ as the lamb without spot. We're talking about infinite suffering of a beloved son. We're talking about the father breaking fellowship with the one whom he loved.

That's what we're speaking of with hell compressed into three hours. But the God who demanded a payment if he was to love sinners and to receive them is the God who gave the very payment that he demanded. That, my friend, is the gospel. My friend, I want you to realize that there is no other religion that teaches what you have just heard. All of the other religions talk about a need for a sacrifice, but only in Christianity does God himself become the sacrifice. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. Would you like to be able to understand these things more deeply, to contemplate the cross, to worship, so to speak, at the foot of the cross, remembering all that Jesus did for us, especially during this Easter season? I've written a book entitled Cries from the Cross, a Journey into the Heart of Jesus. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, perhaps I said that too quickly. You didn't have an opportunity to get a pen or a pencil, so I'm going to repeat that info. But at the same time, I want us once again to remember that it is at the cross of Jesus Christ that all of us must bow.

If you want to know why the cross is a stumbling block, well, all of these kinds of questions are answered in the book, Cries from the Cross, a Journey into the Heart of Jesus. And thanks in advance for helping us. Thank you so much for your prayers and your gifts. Here's what you do. Go to Of course, as you realize, rtwoffer is all one word. or call us at 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win comes to you from the Moody Church in Chicago. Next time, more on the mystery of how God could turn His back on His own Son. Thanks for listening. For Pastor Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-03 13:22:44 / 2023-04-03 13:30:49 / 8

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