Posted by: Jeff Warren | April 2, 2010

“Good” Friday

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

While on the cross Jesus cried out in anguish, perhaps the most perplexing words He ever offered. In an attempt to understand more fully what Jesus meant we must go back to the Garden of Gethsemane on Thursday night and hear Him crying out to God in Ch. 26:39- “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken away from me.  Yet not as I will but as you will.”  What was this “cup”?  What was Jesus hoping to avoid?  It’s not merely death, it’s not even the physical pain on the cross.  It’s not the scourging or humiliation, not the torture of nails being driven through His body, not the horrible thirst, or the disgrace of being spat on, stripped or beaten.  It was not even ALL those things combined.  I say this because those were all the things Jesus said NOT to fear.  In Luke 12:4, He said, “And I say to you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more they can do.”  “But,” He went on to add, “I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast you into hell; yes, I say to you, fear him!” (vs. 5)  Clearly, what Christ dreaded most about the cross- the cup from which He asked to be delivered if possible- was not physical death.  It was the outpouring of the wrath He would endure from His Holy Father.  The key here is a clear understanding of “the “cup”- It was a well-known Old Testament symbol of the divine wrath against sin.

Look at this and you’ll see what I mean:

“Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, You have drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His fury; you have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, and drained it out.” Isaiah 51: 17

“Take this cup of fury from my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it.  When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.” Jeremiah 25:15-16

“Drink, be drunk, and vomit!  Fall down and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.” Jeremiah 25:27

What Jesus was experiencing on the cross was nothing less than the cup of the terrible wrath of God!  The Father’s holy reaction to sin unleashed on the Son.  The “cup” that Jesus was to drink was the vile, repulsive cup of sin bringing upon Him the full fury of the wrath of God.  THIS is where the story of Jesus intersects YOUR story, MY story.

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

In the garden we find the only place where Jesus addressed God as “My Father” (Matt. 26:39,42).  In fact, Mark records He prayed “Abba, Father”.  “Abba” is the Aramaic equivalent of “Daddy” or “Dada”.  I believe that Jesus was experiencing a kind of “holy separation anxiety”.  What parent has not seen the terror in the eyes of a child while being left behind- as if their eyes and their cry is saying “I can’t believe that you are leaving me!” as if to say, “Why have you abandoned me?!”  I believe that is precisely what Jesus went through on the cross, and the garden was a prelude to the pain He knew was coming.  With this cry, He yelled, “My GOD…” not “My Father” (the only place He does this).  Did the Father really abandon the Son?  Was there really violence done to the Trinity while Jesus was on the cross!?  I can’t explain it theologically nor understand it rationally, but how else can you justify this cry of Jesus?

Here’s what happened on the cross: At this cry of anguish, God’s inflexible holiness and boundless love collided, and redemption was made possible.

For you to be fully forgiven, Jesus HAD to be fully abandoned.  The “man” Jesus is not in charge, the Father is in charge.  And this is where HIS story and YOUR story collide.  Praise God for “Good” Friday. Good for us, not for Him.  What a wonderful Savior!

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Responses

  1. I love this, Jeff. Thank you for painting such a clear picture of what was going through Jesus’ mind on that very dark day. What wondrous love is this!


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