Matthew 27:45-46 - Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 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?"
Jesus's death on the cross was the most crucial event in history. And in the same afternoon, yes, even during the very hour of Christ's death, other bizarre events also took place: darkness covered the land; the earth shook; rocks were split. In the Word of God, we read that after Jesus' resurrection tombs in the local cemetery were opened (see Matthew 27:51-53). People who were dead and buried had been raised to life, appearing later to different people.
Now, let me ask you: would it surprise you to see some of your long-dead relatives, getting up out of the grave, and walking around in your town? Such an event would be enough to rattle the hearts and minds of even the most committed atheists.
But God did not permit this dead-raising simply to dazzle the pseudo-faith of make-believers or to create local religious talk and useless gossip. These bizarre events were the aftershocks of the one main explosion. That explosion was the death of Jesus Christ. The crucifixion of God's innocent Son burst the grip of sin and death. The Savior's bloody demise defeated the power of the devil.
When Jesus died, creation experienced a gigantic, cataclysmic upheaval: rocks split; darkness covered the earth; and many who were dead rose to life. But let's not let these most unusual items cloud over the significance of the real salvation event. Matthew also reports that the curtain in the Jerusalem temple, which separated the people from the presence of God, was now torn wide open.
This is what the death of Jesus Christ has done for you, my friend: you are no longer separated from God by religious laws and rules. The barriers have been removed. You now need no earthly high priest or intermediary to plead your case. Now you can go with your prayers directly to heaven! For in heaven you have a perfect High Priest in Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
And so, does any of this have meaning for us today? Absolutely! In those terrible hours when you say to yourself, "I just can't help myself," this message of the cross is for you. When temptations are strong and you can't resist them on your own, when in helplessness you say, "I always seem to commit the same sin over and over again," then, my friend, this is where the power of Christ's devil-defeating cross comes in your life for you. When the devil has a ring through your nose and is leading you around, then God is inviting you to appeal to Him with confidence, to seek help and mercy before His throne of grace.
With a repentant heart and with sincere faith in God's almighty power demonstrated on the cross of Calvary, believe that God will help you. Cry out in prayer and boldly say, "O God, help me, in Jesus' intercessory Name, for I cannot help myself!"
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Your Son has bridged the chasm between You and us that our sin created. Thank You for bringing us back to You. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
From "This Was the Son of God," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, former Speaker for The Lutheran Hour
1. People who were dead and gone are now walking around ... how do you think you would respond to that if you had been there?
2. What does this text mean to you—Jesus crying out as if forsaken by the Father?
3. Do thoughts of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection inform the way you speak to others Jesus?
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