Fifth Sunday in Lent – Saturday
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? – Matthew 27:46.
And when the sixth hour was come, at noon, the sun was darkened, and there was a darkness over all the land until the ninth hour, until three o’clock in the afternoon.
This was no eclipse of the sun such as we know of, for it was the time of the full moon. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Some of those that stood there, when they heard that, said: “This Man calleth for Elias [the prophet Elijah]” – That must have been a gruesome darkness in those three hours! What did Jesus all go through in those three hours? Pain and agony that no other human has ever experience in this earthly life, even the pains of hell itself as our Substitute under the curse of the Law.
In those three hours Jesus was forsaken by God. We know this from the cry He uttered. To be forsaken by God—no living man can comprehend what that is. In body and soul was Jesus forsaken of God. He who was made to be sin for us was made also a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). More than this we cannot say; it defies our comprehension. Terrible! Inconceivable! But the Savior overcame it all. All the onslaughts against Him came to naught. And thus He redeemed us from the power of the devil and from eternal damnation.
We who in faith are His own shall never experience what it means to be forsaken by God. No; God, for Jesus’ sake, receives us into His full fatherly favor. And what all that includes we shall perceive and enjoy and experience in the blessed life to come.
PRAYER. – My Lord and Savior, I thank Thee that Thou wast forsaken by God in order that I might not be eternally forsaken by Him. My heavenly Father, for the sake of Christ, whom Thou didst make a curse for me, do receive me and do bless me with the infinite fullness of Thy blessings. God the Holy Ghost – Spirit of the Father and of the Son – let me apprehend these mercies in true faith, until in heavenly bliss I shall fully comprehend all things and extol Thee for them eternally. Amen.
“My God, My God, O why Forsake me?”
Hark, the awful cry! Lord,
Thou was here forsaken,
That we might be received on high;
Let this hope not be shaken.
Hymn 177, 6. [TLH]