Sunday, April 09, 2017

[Matt's Messages] "Godforsaken: Jesus"

“Godforsaken: Jesus”
April 9, 2017 :: Psalm 22 // Matthew 27

Two weeks ago we read Psalm 22 from the perspective of its author, King David.

David wrote this psalm out of an agonizing personal experience, and he gave it the believing community to use in worship.

As we said two weeks ago, we don’t like talking like Psalm 22 talks. We’d rather quote Psalm 23 because it’s so comforting. But as good as Psalm 23 is, it’s not enough. We also need Psalm 22 for those times when we feel abandoned and alone.

Last time, we studied Psalm 22 as a psalm of lament and saw how God has provided a divine pattern for our prayers when we hurt. We don’t just smile, grin, and bear it. We don’t pretend and fake it until we make it. We bring our whole selves to the Lord in honesty including all of our pain and fear and sorrow and anguish.

The whole blistering mess.

That’s what God wants. Bring Him the whole blistering mess when you feel forsaken.

But we also felt that there was something more going on in this psalm.

We couldn’t avoid it!

Everywhere we turned, we heard Jesus singing this psalm.

We saw Jesus filling up the details of this psalm.

This psalm was clearly prophetic.

It wasn’t just powerful lament. It was prefigured lament.

As so many other things in David’s life, he was a foretaste of the Greater One to come.

David was the shadow. Jesus was the substance.
David was the type. Jesus was the antitype.
David was the prototype. Jesus was the ultimate iteration. The fulfillment.

For a thousand years, Jewish believers had been singing Psalm 22 when they were in pain.

And then when Jesus was the crucified, He sang Psalm 22 like no one ever before or since.

“‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46).

This is the perfect psalm to read as we enter into Passion Week.

As we said last time, only Isaiah 53 rivals this psalm for prophetic insight into the crucifixion.

And, think about this, it was written about a 1000 years before Jesus was born!

Here’s what I want to do today. I want to read Psalm 22. Just read it. Let the words wash over us again. No commentary. Just remember what we learned last time as we read it.

And then I want to leave a finger in Psalm 22 and go Matthew 27 and read the account of the crucifixion of Jesus there in Matthew 27 and see how Jesus filled up Psalm 22.  You with me?

Let’s read Psalm 22.

[scripture reading, prayer]

So leave one finger there in Psalm 22 and turn over to Matthew 27. Matthew 27:27.

Our Lord Jesus has been on trial before the Sanhedrin and before the Roman governor, Pilate. Pilate offered to release Jesus but the crowd chose for the notorious prisoner, Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be crucified.

“Crucify him!”

Earlier that week, it was “Hosanna! Hosanna!”

Now it’s, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate washed his hands of the matter, he had Jesus flogged and he handed him over to be crucified.  V.27 Listen for Psalm 22.

“Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.”

Don’t forget that this happened.

Never forget what was done to Jesus.

It’s so easy to go about our daily lives and put these thoughts out of our minds.

But we should come back to this again and again.

This happened to Jesus.

And in fact, He chose it, for us. V.31

“After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.”

You know what that means, right?

It wasn’t just figurative language about dog bites piercing David’s hands and feet. Psalm 22:16

They actually pierced Jesus’ hands and feet with nails. With nails!

The nailed him. And then he struggled to breathe. He’d pull up on the nails to get his breath then collapse back down.

It’s called “excruciating” pain because it has the word “cruc” or “cross” in the middle of it. V.32

“As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). [The Latin for Skull is “Calvi” so we call this “Calvary.” “Skull hill.”] There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.”

He didn’t want to be drugged. He didn’t want to be in a haze. He wanted to be awake and alert as much as he could be.

But He was so thirsty. Psalm 22:15

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roofo my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.”

He lived that song. The Gospel of John chapter 19, verse 28 tells us “so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’” v.35

“When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”

That’s verse 18 of Psalm 22!  “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”

David may have just been using figurative language to mean that they were circling around him and wanting him to die and leave his stuff behind.

But they actually did it to Jesus.

Think about that. One of these guys went home that night with Jesus’ clothes. Maybe wearing them.

“Where’d you get that?” his wife asks.

“I won it. We cast lots. How do you think it looks?”

“Dusty. Dirty. Bloody. But whatever.” v.36

“And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.”

That’s Psalm 22, verse 17.

“I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.” v.37

“Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’”

Look at Psalm 22 again. Look at verse 7.

“All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads."

That was written a thousand years before Jesus was even born.

Look at the next verse Psalm 22:8, “He trust in the LORD, let the LORD rescue him.”

Now turn back to Matthew 27. Pick up again in verse 41.

“In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'’”

Sound familiar?

These people were unconsciously fulfilling Scripture.

They didn’t intend to be the bad guys of Psalm 22, but that’s exactly what they were.

When Jesus was fulfilling it.

V.44 “In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.  From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’–which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

What David just tasted, Jesus swallowed whole.

Jesus lived out this question like no one ever before.

Psalm 22, verse 1 was on His lips when He was dying for you and me.

Let us never forget it.

Jesus was abandoned.
Jesus was forsaken.

Not just forsaken. Jesus suffered the wrath of God.

God was not just absent from Jesus. God was against Jesus.

In those moments. In those minutes.

Last week, Darko said that the Father turned His face away from the Son on the Cross.

He did.

And more. He poured out His just wrath on the Son on the Cross.

It’s unthinkable.

We can sing it better than we can say it.

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

No wonder the Sun went dark for 3 hours.

How could it shine when Jesus was being forsaken?!

“‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'”

He knew the answer the question, but He was experiencing that question like no one ever had or ever will.

We call this the “Cry of Dereliction from the Cross.”

And it’s one of the most agonizingly awful moments in human history.

“‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'”

Some people there misunderstood him. They thought he was saying, “Elijah, Eli, not Eloi, ‘my God.’” v.47

“When some of those standing there heard this, they said, ‘He's calling Elijah.’  Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, ‘Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him.’ And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.”

He died!

And look what that did. V.51

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. [That’s crazy!] When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’”

Look what Jesus’ suffering did!

It brought new life. A foretaste of the resurrection to come.

It brought a new perspective. This centurion understands Who Jesus really is. “He is the Son of God!”

And it brought new access to God.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

That means that the way in to the Holy of Holies has been opened.

It’s an amazing symbol of access to God.

No barriers.

Jesus has opened the way to God.

Let me put it this way.


We just sang it a little bit ago,

I'm forgiven because you were forsaken
I'm accepted, you were condemned
I'm alive and well
Your spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again

Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my king, would die for me?
Amazing love I know it's true
Its my joy to honor you
In all I do
I honor you


Jesus was forsaken so that His people will never be forsaken.

What a perfect thought to go to the table with.

There’s a lot of things we could say about the juxtaposition of Psalm 22 and Matthew 27.

I think it’s amazing, for example, how perfectly Scripture was fulfilled a thousand years after it was written.

And so specifically and particularly. You normally think about the New Testament fulfillments as being more spiritual.

But these were very literal fulfillments, weren’t they?

That’s interesting.

But I don’t think that’s what we ought to focus on right now.

What we ought to focus on is the suffering of Jesus on our behalf.

Think about this.

Sin must be completely horrible for this to be what it takes to deal with it.

This table stands for our sins.

And the sacrifice of Jesus it took to forgive us of our sins.

Romans 3.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him [on the Cross] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”

This is what it took for our sins to be forgiven.

It took Jesus living out Psalm 22 to an unimaginable degree.

One time, I preached a sermon called “Abandoned,” and about all I did was read Mark chapters 14 and 15.  And you see how Jesus was abandoned by everybody.

Including God the Father.

Yes, by mutual arrangement. They agreed on that in advance. The Father and the Son both chose it out of love for us.

But they did it!  The Father abandoned the Son and even more poured out His wrath on Him, a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood.

That’s how horrible sin is.

And how great is the love God has shown to His people!

I love those songs that express incredulity over this.

“And can it be that I should gain
An int'rest in the Savior's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?”

“Would He devote that Sacred Head for such a worm as I?”

“Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my king. would die for me”

I almost can’t believe it!

What love is this?

Never forget.
Never forget what Jesus suffered for you and for me.

Jesus was forsaken so that His people will never be.

But you gotta be part of His people.

It’s only those who are in Christ Jesus who have no condemnation.

Are you in Christ Jesus?

If you are not yet or you don’t know, then we invite you to put your faith in Jesus right now. Trust in Him and what Hid for you at Calvary.

Don’t look away.
Don’t walk away.

Come to Christ.

And all who have come to Christ, thank Him for what He did for you and for me.

Jesus was forsaken so that we will never be.

Messages in this Series

1. Godforsaken: David