Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why. have. You. forsaken. Me?” (emphasis mine)
In the last two days I have heard this Scripture repeated several times and it is not even close to Easter. I have learned when something is on “repeat” I need to pay attention and so I began to give thought to just what the Lord was trying to get across to me. I have read this Scripture at least annually for years and this is the hardest saying from the cross to me. Jesus crying out to His Father and His Father has “turned away.” Turned away from the sight of His tortured Son with all the filth of the world heaped on Him. He is Holy and can not be exposed to the unholy—right? I think this may be only part of the reason and really not the “main” reason. After all, God has been witnessing the depravity of man since the Garden and on more than one occasion wanted to just do away with man. (Genesis 6:6) It was God the Father’s holiness that required a sacrifice and He agreed to Jesus coming to earth for this express purpose since He did not desire to live without His creation created in His image: You and me and all mankind. So, why the silence from Heaven. Why no comfort for His Son during His crucifixion? Was it as someone once said to me, “It’s bad parenting as far as I am concerned to send one child to die for the others.” Or was it, parental pride in the willingness of the perfect Son, the Son with the wealth of Heaven at His disposal, to willingly go pay the ransom for His wayward brothers and sisters.
Scripture is as multi-faceted as a kaleidoscope. The Holy Spirit is constantly turning the Word to reveal more and more of its knowledge, beauty, and truth. He turned the Word for me. He illuminated for me a vital key to the kingdom. The brighter the lighting the more vivid the colors and designs of the kaleidoscope.
The words Jesus uttered from the cross were penned by King David in Psalm 22:1-5 as part of the prophecy regarding the coming Messiah. This was the ultimate trial for Jesus. This is why He came and all the forces of hell were being hurled at Him. As He did in the wilderness prior to beginning His ministry He is using the Word to fight the onslaught of evil being heaped at Him, the hate piercing His heart, and the door of death slamming on Him. (Matthew 4:4-10)
Jesus cried out and His Father is silent. His Father is His Abba Father, Daddy! Grasp that. His firstborn Son. His perfect son and all the rest of us the adopted prodigals. Like Mary, Jesus’ mother, at the foot of the cross, God the Father is watching His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased, (Matthew 3:17) having His very breath forced out of Him and His precious life giving, sacrificial blood dripping onto the grateful ground. (Colossians 1:20) Did He turn away because He could not bear to watch His Son suffer? Pride in His Son’s courage battles pain in the heart of the Father. (Galatians 1:4)
In the hospital, young men and women and even small children come into the emergency room and their lives have been snuffed out. They have been shot and killed, a drunk driver has hit them, or they had some terrible accident doing something they loved. Their devastated family members are approached and asked the question: “Would you be willing to donate the organs of your precious loved one that another might live?” They are being asked to allow doctors to take the eyes, the heart, lungs, kidneys, long bones, liver, bone marrow, and place these precious pieces of the one they love into people they do not know, are unsure will really appreciate the sacrifice, and may never meet. So very often, these family members turn away simply unable to speak, unable to look at the mangled, lifeless body of their beloved. They must choose to bury this one or give them away so others might live. Their deep sorrow becomes others unspeakable joy. The decision requires GRACE and LOVE for mankind. The death of one becomes the HOPE of many. We applaud these earthly benefactors, but God some would condemn?
Jesus, Scripture tells us, was tempted in all the ways we are. (Hebrews 4:15) He has had His Father’s ear every minute He has been on this earth until now. Now, Heaven is silent. The greatest test has the deepest silence. “The Teacher/Father is always silent during the test.” This is becoming my mantra when life makes no sense.
When the last sin was piled onto His battered and beaten body and all the sins of mankind had been paid for, Jesus was done and He cried out in a loud voice for all creation to hear: “IT. IS. FINISHED!” (John 19:30) I HAVE PAID THE DEBT OF EVERY MAN, WOMAN, BOY, AND GIRL FOR ALL ETERNITY. God the Father heard Him and smiled. All His children could now come home! If God had rescued Jesus from His pain, everything He suffered while here on earth would have been for NOTHING! There could be only one score on this test. It had to be a 100 or it would be a zero.
The key to entering the kingdom is the paid debt. Jesus paid not only our bail, but our fines, and did our “time.” This key opens our prison door. Our accuser did not want to let us out and made Jesus battle His way through to the dungeon of hell to rescue us. The battle was fierce. He had to do it alone. For by one man sin entered the world and by one man sins debt was eliminated. Heaven had to be silent for to offer escape meant the eternal damnation of all. (Romans 5:12-21, I Corinthians 15:21)
The United States has a ace team of soldiers, Seal Teams. They do whatever it takes to rescue Americans in harm’s way. They have written a blank check to the USA up to and including their lives. Parents who sign on the dotted line at the hospital give up the “sacrifice” of their child so others can live. These are following the example set by the Most High God.
Heaven is often silent during our greatest tests. Tests designed by God. We cry out and feel the deafening silence and we doubt He is a good God. I pray I never forget this lesson. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead and the same power that raised Him from the dead is the same spirit He has endowed to us His redeemed children. (Romans 8:11) Bad parenting? Hardly. The incomprehensible love of the Father expressed in the life of the Son. (Psalm 103:11-12) Prodigals are welcomed home! (Luke 15:10)
This key is made with the same pure gold of heaven that paves the streets we will walk. James 1:12 reminds us, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
When Trials Come by Keith and Kristyn Getty