May 29: Jesus Forsaken (Matthew 27:45-54)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
This Sunday Brandon Jordan will continue a series called Making Sense of Christ and the Spirit at 9:00am in the youth room. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project (currently going through the Old Testament book of Numbers).
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?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (ESV)
We have already seen how Jesus has been abandoned by all, but now in our passage this week, even God forsakes the Son. Jesus in his last recorded words in Matthew, cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" In this cry, Jesus is not confused, feeling forgotten or faltering in faith. Rather, on our behalf, he is expressing the spiritual anguish of being forsaken by the father as he bears the sin of his people. Jesus as the perfect substitute, became sin and bore the holy and righteous indignation of God against our sin. This is ground zero of the gospel. After this cry, at the moment of his choosing, he gave up his spirit, breathing his last. Yet his last breath is not the end but the beginning of God’s redemptive work. What follows is a divine vindication of the Son. The temple curtain was torn, the earth shook and the dead were raised and Gentiles were converted. God confirms for us the Son’s victory. A new age has now dawned with access to God, a creation being renewed and a new people being formed. Many who think the darkest days are ahead need to reconsider: the darkest day was the day that the Son of God died for us. After this, we begin to see the seeds of a new creation sprout up in life.
Review and Apply
1. How is darkness used as a metaphor in the Bible?
2. What do you learn about the ministry of Jesus from his cry on the cross?
3. Explain Jesus being forsaken.
4. What is significant that Jesus gave up his spirit?
5. What does Jesus accomplish through his death?
6. How does the torn curtain invite us to God by grace (cf. Hebrews 10:19-22)?
7. How does Matthew 27:50-51 remind you of the creation account?
8. How does the dead rising point to a new creation?
9 Why was the first convert after death a Gentile? How do you measure your love for the nations?