On Good Friday, April 3, 2015, pastor John preached from Matthew 27:26-51, Jesus Forsaken So Believers Could Be Forgiven. We will all die one day because when Adam sinned, he plunged himself and all humanity into sin and physical and spiritual death, which means we are cut off from relationship with God. We are only storing up wrath for the day of judgment (Rom 2:5)—an eternal conscious state of what the Bible describes as weeping and gnashing of teeth in a place called hell as we bear the just condemnation of God due to us for our sins.
But that’s not the end of the story. We call today “Good Friday” because we are observing the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ—the most horrific, yet most glorious day in human history (considered with Jesus’ bodily resurrection). As a result of Jesus’ work, instead of futility, we have purpose. Instead of darkness, we have light. Instead of hopelessness, we have hope. Instead of death—believers have everlasting life—all secured by Jesus’ work on the cross. Main idea of the text: Jesus was forsaken so that all who believe could be forgiven. 3 points:
1. Jesus’ Identity
a. Most important question Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt 16:15) and throughout Jesus’ trials, flogging, and crucifixion Jesus is mocked about being God’s King and Son. Every segment of society is represented. Dig deeper: All of us mock Jesus at the point of His identity when we refuse to submit to His Lordship in our lives (essence of sin).
b. Great irony: Jesus was God’s anointed King, the eternal, divine Son of God.
1) John 1:1 and Gen 1:2 – Before anything was, the Triune God—Father, Son, Holy Spirit, dwelled in perfect unity and unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16).
2) Isaiah gets a glimpse of this glory (Isa 6:1-3): "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." God seen as Holy King of heaven and earth.
3) John 12:41 says that it was Jesus and His glory that Isaiah saw! Jesus is the eternal Son whose divine essence radiates such blinding glory that the angels cover their eyes!
c. Jesus became fully man without ceasing to be God (John 1:14; Phil 2:5-6) so that “He might become obedient to death—even the death of the cross!” (Phil 2:7) He came to take our place and pay the penalty our sins deserved.
2. Jesus is forsaken
a. Verse 33-49 - The cross was the ultimate form of torture and humiliation. To Jews the crucified person was under God’s curse. Dig deeper: Read and reflect on Gal 3:10-14.
b. V. 45 - complete supernatural darkness that defies natural explanation. The reason is found when Jesus cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?!” (Psalm 22:1). 1) The bible describes hells as a place everlasting contempt; lake of fire; and the place of outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
2) After Isaiah sees the Lord in his glory, and says “woe is me, I am undone!” Before God’s holiness, he stands condemned. Woe = curse. Undone = come apart at the seams. Dig deeper: Hell will be like a never ending conscious state of coming apart at the seams.
3) Jesus experiences the horror of outer darkness, and in the cry of “my God why have you forsaken me,” He’s coming apart at seams and is saying “the full weight of the curse and divine justice and wrath has engulfed Me!”
4) Dig deeper: This is what Jesus feared when He prayed in Garden of Gethsemane. He knew that on the cross God would make Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that on the cross He would be the focal point of God’s wrath and condemnation.
c. V. 50, Jesus cries out, yields up His spirit. John’s Gospel: Jesus cried out “It is finished!” The wages of sin is death, eternal condemnation—Jesus is saying “Paid in full! I’ve borne hell so that you wouldn’t have to!” Dig deeper: Read and reflect on Isaiah 53:4-6.
3. The result: Believers can be forgiven
a. Verse 51 “the curtain of the temple was torn in two...” The curtain marked off the Holy of Holies in the temple: because of sin, you are separated from God.
b. Now that curtain is torn apart! All who repent and trust in Christ alone are forgiven of their sins and have free access to God and eternal life through faith in Christ alone!
We will all die and give an account to God. The Good News is that Jesus bore the outer darkness of hell that we deserved on the cross. He calls out to you and says “Come, and find rest for your soul. Come and drink freely from the water of life.” (Matt 11:28; Rev 22:17). If you have done that, may we have a renewed vigor to make each day that we are alive on this earth count for the glory of God as we remember that while eternal life and forgiveness of sins is free, it came at the infinite cost of the sacrifice of Christ. Let us rejoice then that instead of futility, darkness, and death—we have everlasting life through faith in Christ alone.