Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani!
Jesus Became Sin For Us
"Eloi! Eloi! Lama Sabacthani!" "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!" That is the cry of a Son being abandoned by the Father he loves dearly. He was put to death by his foes, and at the same time, deserted by his close friends. But none of these was as devastating as the feeling that God the Father had turned his head because He couldn't look upon the sins that Jesus was taking upon Himself. They were yours and mine. The one who had never known sin, now became sin for us. The one who had known the eternal fellowship of the Trinity, now knew what it meant to be totally, utterly and helplessly alone.
I. The Garden Experience
The dread of this hour was heavy upon Jesus as He spent the night prior, praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. According to Scripture, Jesus agonized over what was about to happen the next day. Dr. Luke said that "His sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44). This is an actual rare medical condition, commonly referred to as hematidrosis, or hemohidrosis. This condition results in the excretion of blood or blood pigment in the sweat. Experts have said that under conditions of extreme stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can rupture. This leads to blood mixing with perspiration.
Acute fear and intense mental contemplation are often the causes of hematidrosis. The blood loss from this condition is usually minimal, but it commonly results in the skin becoming extremely tender and fragile. This must have added greatly to the physical pain that Jesus felt on the cross.
But the torture of the cross was far more than just physical pain. It was the understanding of the heinous nature of sin. His awareness was that of the destruction and death it causes, as well as the extreme sorrow and misery it brings upon the human race. And His pain was the understanding of the drastic measures that it took to destroy this great enemy of mankind. It actually meant that for the first time in eternity, He had to be separated from the Father. It was the absolute only way that mankind could be saved. He who was the perfect picture of sinlessness, had to become sin for us!
Jesus, indeed suffered beyond what most of us ever will suffer. He was forsaken, so that none of us need ever know the awful dread of being separated from the Father for all eternity.
In his humanity, naturally He would want to avoid such a devastatingly painful hour. He even prayed three times: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me" But then He concedes to the will of the Father: "Yet, not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew:39). And by His obedience and his stripes, we are healed.
II. The Acceptance of the Sacrifice
Today we can thank God that, though Friday was the darkest day in history, Sunday was on its way! It is the time that we celebrate every Spring. The new life of that season is a perfect correlation to the new life that we have received in Jesus Christ. He didn't stay in the grave. He rose from the dead. Now He lives forevermore. Sin and death hold no more power over Him. Jesus' resurrection proves that God the Father has accepted the sacrifice that the Son made on the cross of Calvary. The Father not only raised Him from the dead, but has given Him a name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus is now at a place of honor, at the Father's right hand, and will one day come again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to take His rightful place on the throne of the universe.
Jesus' cry of agony on the cross is something we will never quite fully comprehend, for none of us has known the unbroken fellowship with God the Father that the Son had experienced up until that very moment. As we noted, It was pain and agony far beyond any that mankind has ever felt. Now we are given a choice. Do we accept Jesus' sacrifice as our substitute for sin, or do we refuse it and one day be separated from the Father for all eternity? That is the real horror of sin. That is the agony that Jesus would not want any of us to experience.
He is offering to save us from it if we'll but believe and receive His sacrifice for us. I plead with anyone who has never done this to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior today! You need never know what it is like to be totally and helplessly abandoned and alone. You can have eternal fellowship with the Triune God, and with others who have received Christ. The price has been paid. The choice is now yours!