The fourth word Jesus spoke from the cross was the worst. It revealed how utterly alone Jesus was in his death struggle with Satan.
This battle was fought not with swords or spears, light sabers or lightning bolts, energy blasts or physical strength. The battleground was in the mind of Christ himself, where he fought Satan’s temptations alone and physically exhausted. He had been abandoned by his disciples (save one), condemned by the religious leaders of his own people, and condemned by the Roman government that was supposed to dispense justice.
All Satan had to do was get him to sin once. Just once. Satan was whispering constantly that the foolish mortals on earth were vermin not worth dying for, that there were far easier ways to do this. Just one little act of rebellion against his Father. And now the Father had abandoned him! “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)” (Matthew 27:45,46). Why? Jesus knew why. Because he alone had agreed to pay the price for human sin. What he was really crying out was his shock at how awful it was to have God turn his back on you and withdraw all love, mercy, hope, and support.
At that moment Jesus was experiencing hell. For you.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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