Jesus Christ is our Good Samaritan-He was forsaken that we might be loved

One of the hardest verses to understand is in Matthew 27…

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” Matthew 27:46-47

Martin Luther could not understand. He said “How can God forsake God?”

We can see more insight into this as we peer into its Old Testament source:

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” 9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. 10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. Psalms 22:1-11

Jesus Christ became the most God-Forsaken Man ever born.

I suggest we will never grasp the full meaning of what Christ experienced when he cried out “Eli Eli lama sabacthani.” To fully understand would be so horrible, so frightening, it would make anything you’ve seen in the movies seem tame. That moment was the blackest of the black, the most terrifying of the terrifying, the most awful of the awful, the most horrible of the horrible.

Jesus was forsaken of God, His father, the one whom He had depended upon all His earthly life, the one He had communed with all eternity.

In that black moment on the cross, God the Father turned his back on God the Son.

The word “forsaken” is very strong. It means to abandon, to desert, to disown, to turn away from, to utterly forsake.

Please understand. When Jesus said, “Why have you forsaken me?” it was not simply because he felt forsaken; he said it because he was forsaken.

Literally, truly and actually God the Father abandoned his own Son.

In English the phrase “God-forsaken” usually refers to some deserted, barren locale. We mean that such a place seems unfit for human habitation. But we do not literally mean “God-forsaken” even though that’s what we say. But it was true of Jesus. He was the first and only God-forsaken person in all history.

What about people in Hell? Of course, God abandoned them, but it is not the same as what happened to Jesus,

“because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened”. Romans 1:19-21

God did not abandon them first, it was their choice to ignore God.

No one can ever know what Jesus experienced in that moment, for no one was ever so united with God as Jesus.

Jesus was wailing the fact that He had been abandoned by the one whom He so depended upon. He had even proclaimed that “I and the Father am one”

People condemned to Hell will curse God for all eternity. They rejected Him all their life, and they will reject Him for all eternity!

My prayer is that no one here will smugly say, “I still have time. I’m not done living my life my way. I know Jesus died on the cross for me, but I’m not ready to turn away from my way and give my life to HIm. I have plenty of time for that later.

You are playing with Hellfire-you are rejecting God even as I speak, and you do not know what will happen in the next hour. If you continue to reject God, and he should take your life on the way home, you will spend all eternity cursing God, because you forsook Him. You rejected that still small voice. You rejected His grace. You rejected the Savior’s love.

Jesus said, “My God,” because the Father-Son relationship was broken at that moment.

That is what God did when Jesus died on the cross. He abandoned his own Son. He turned his back, he disowned him, he rejected the One who was called his “only begotten Son.”

Jesus Became Cursed

Why would God do such a thing? Something happened that day that caused a fundamental change in the Father’s relationship with the Son. Something happened when Jesus hung on the cross which had never happened before.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…” Galatians 3:13

Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten son, at that moment became cursed for us.

Why did God turn away?

Imagine that somewhere in the universe there is a cesspool containing all the sins that have ever been commit-ted. The cesspool is deep, dark and indescribably foul. All the evil deeds that men and women have ever done are floating there. Imagine that a river of filth constantly flows into that cesspool, replenishing the vile mixture with all the evil done every day.

Now imagine that while Jesus was on the cross, that cesspool is emptied onto him. See the flow of filth as it settles upon him. The flow never seems to stop. It is vile, toxic, deadly, filled with disease, pain and suffering.

When God looked down at his Son, he saw the cesspool of sin emptied on his head. No wonder he turned away from the sight. Who could bear to watch it?

Think of it. All the lust in the world was there. All the broken promises were there. All the murder, all the killing, all the hatred between people. All the theft was there, all the adultery, all the pornography, all the drunkenness, all the bitterness, all the greed, all the gluttony, all the drug abuse, all the crime, all the cursing. Every vile deed, every wicked thought, every vain imagination—all of it was laid upon Jesus when he hung on the cross.

When God looked down and saw his Son bearing the sin of the world, he didn’t see his Son, he saw instead the sin that he was bearing. And in that awful moment, the Father turned away. Not in anger at his Son. No, he loved his Son as much at that moment as he ever had. He turned away in anger over all the sin of the world that sent his Son to the cross. He turned away in sorrow and deepest pain when he saw what sin had done. He turned away in complete revulsion at the ugliness of sin.

When he did that, Jesus was alone. Completely forsaken. God-forsaken. Abandoned. Deserted. Disowned.

There’s an old Southern gospel song called “Ten Thousand Angels.”

He could have called ten thousand angels
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone, for you and me.

Jesus, as the Son of God, could have called 10,000 angels to rescue him from the cross. He didn’t do that, and the chorus ends with these words, “But he died alone for you and me.”

Jesus was Altogether Alone

When Jesus bore the sins of the world, he bore them all alone. Christ is now abandoned, the Trinity disjointed, the Godhead broken. The fact that we do not know what those words mean does not stop them from being true. When Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” he was really and truly forsaken by God.

Have you been redeemed?

By your faith in Jeus Christ, and by turning from your sin to Him, all that vileness, all that stench, all that putrefication of sin is removed. The curse of God’s Law is taken away by Him who became cursed for you.

If you have been redeemed, you have a Blessed Gift that is too Huge to Keep all to yourself.

This is what Jesus read when He began His public ministry:

“THE SPIRIT OF THE Lord IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE Lord.” Luke 4:18-19

Jesus has given us the gift of

  1. The greatest “Good News” anyone could ever receive
  2. Total Freedom and Release from those who have been captured
  3. New Sight to those who have been blinded
  4. Total freedom and release from those held under a oppressing, bruising weight.

Jesus came to touch the abandoned, the forsaken, the captured, the imprisoned, the broken hearted, the beaten, the abused, the blind.  Jesus was willing to be forsaken and cursed so that we could enjoy forever the comfort and presence of God our Fther.

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. Isaiah 41:17

Jesus is our ultimate Good Samaritan.

Jesus not only became cursed so that we could be freed from being forsaken and abandoned, crushed and bruised under a weight of sin, He came alongside us, and proclaimed His constant sympathy and support in any and all of our trials.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

“There,” says he, “see this hand! I am not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of your infirmities. I have suffered, too. I was tempted in all ways like as you are. Look here! these are the scars that prove my commitment to you. They are not only tokens of my love, they are not only sweet forget-me-nots that bind me to love you for ever.

  • They are the evidence of my sympathy. I can feel for you.
  • Look-I have suffered. Has your heart been broken? Has your heart suffered betratal?
  • These scars show that my heart too was broken. I was betrayed. You have my sympathy.

The Sympathy of Christ sustained the martyrs

One of them declared that while he was suffering he fixed his eyes on Christ; and when they were pinching his flesh dragging it off with the hot irons, when they were putting him to agonies so severe that I can not even mention them lest some of you would faint,

“My soul is not insensible but it loves.” “For my eyes are fixed on him that suffered for me, and I can suffer for him; for my soul is in his body; I have sent my heart up to him. He is my brother, and there my heart is. Plough my flesh, and break my bones; smash them with irons, I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and he suffers in me now; but he sympathises with me, and this makes me strong.”

The martyr St. Procopius thus spoke to the tyrant who tortured him: “Torment me as you like; but know at the same time, that nothing is sweeter to the lover of Jesus Christ than to suffer for his sake.”7

St. Gordius, Martyr, replied in the same way to the tyrant who threatened him death: “Thou threatenest me with death; but I am only sorry that I cannot die more than once for my own beloved Jesus.”8

In your suffering beloved, think of Jesus

  • When you are sweating, think of his bloody sweat.
  • When you are bruised, think of the whips that tore his flesh.
  • When you are hampered by aches and pains, think of Him falling under the weight of the cross.
  • When you are suffering from some life-threatening disease, think of Him on the cross, gasping for each breath as he feels the agony of the nails against his bones and flesh.
  • When it seems that God has hidden His face from you for a little while, think of Jesus crying out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!”

This is why he wears his wounds in his hands, that he may show that he sympathises with everything that you go through. If by faith you have been born again, you will never ever face this life alone. You will never ever be forsaken. The risen Son of God dwells in you. He is your Elder Brother. He is your comforter. He is your King. He is your High Priest!

Jesus Christ wears His wounds to show us that suffering is an honorable thing.

  • To suffer for Christ is glory. Men will say, “It is glorious to make others suffer.”
  • It is glorious to be trodden on, glorious to be crushed, glorious to suffer.

This is hard to learn. But we see it in our glorified Lord. His wounds are his glory, and his sufferings are part of the drapery of his regal robe. The only degree that God gives to his people is the degree of “Masters in tribulation.” If you would be one of God’s nobles you must be knighted. Men are knighted with a blow of the sword. The Lord knights us with the sword of affliction; and when we fight hard in many a battle, he makes us princes of the kingdom of heaven. We are dukes and lords in the kingdom of God, not through honor of man, but through dishonor of man, not through joy, but through suffering, and grief, and agony, and death. (with thanks to Spurgeon)

The Jewels of a Christian are our afflictions!

  • Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4
  • that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 1 Thessalonians 3:3

The Crown of a Christian is to share in love the afflictions of those around you. The challenge before us has been to Love our Neighbor. And to Love our Neighbors, we must be willing to take up their afflictions and sufferings as our own!

We do not close our eyes and pass them by!

We get close enough to look them in the eye and say Jesus Loves You! I will help you in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who gave His life for me when I was afflicted!

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, Colossians 1:24

Becoming a Good Samaritan simply involves getting close enough to people to see their hurts, their pains, their afflictions, their struggles. Then you make those struggles your own in the name of Jesus Christ!

Jesus was afflicted on my behalf. When I abandoned God, He was there for me!

There are thousands of people in our neighborhood who are struggling under the weight of their sin, that are blinded, that are bruised and broken, that are imprisoned by their own selfishness and rebellion from God.

Do we forsake them. Do we abandon them? Do we say a prayer for them and walk on?

Did Jesus do that for you? Did He simply say God bless you and walk on by?

No! No! He looked into the deepest blackest crevices of your sinful heart and said “I Love you!” I willingly gave my back to the Roman soldiers on your behalf. I willingly laid my hands and feet upon the cross for you! I gave my life for you!

Who will you pass by today that inwardly is bruises, inwardly held captive, inwardly is lost and feeling abandoned?

Will you get close enough to se their needs? Will you get close enough to share their afflictions? Will you get close enough to show them the scars of Jesus Christ!

Please remember that the Good Samaritan did not view the man by the side of the road as a project; he viewed him as a son of God in need of help. The relationship was key in that situation, and I pray that it remains key for us today.

I read the story of a father whose young son was killed in a tragic accident. In grief and enormous anger, he visited his pastor and poured out his heart. He said, “Where was God when my son died?” The pastor paused for a moment, and with great wisdom replied, “The same place he was when his Son died.”

This cry from the cross is for all the lonely people of the world. It is for the abandoned child … the widow… the divorcee struggling to make ends meet … the mother standing over the bed of her suffering daughter … the father out of work … the parents left alone … the prisoner in his cell … the aged who languish in convalescent homes … wives abandoned by their husbands … singles who celebrate their birthdays alone.

This is the word from the cross for you. No one has ever been as alone as Jesus was. You will never be forsaken as he was. No cry of your pain can exceed the cry of his pain when God turned his back and looked the other way.

  • He was forsaken that you might never be forsaken.
  • He was abandoned that you might never be abandoned.
  • He was deserted that you might never be deserted.
  • He was forgotten that you might never be forgotten.

Are you determined to continue to be a Good Samaritan? Then allow the crown of Christ’s sufferings to puncture the bubble wrap which insulates your life from the forsaken people all around you. Jesus himself became forsaken that they could hear the Good News! Jesus Saves!

Then seek out the forsaken, the captive, the downtrodden. The message of Jesus is for them. That is the message that brought you to new life, for you once were forsaken!

Now, go and walk as the Son of God!

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