Sin-Bearer Crushed

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?  Matt. 27:46
    
Consider:
   
On the Thursday night Jesus committed the future of the church into the hands of his disciples.  By late Friday morning he was hanging on the Cross of Calvary.  From midday, for the next three hours, a darkness came over the land (Mt 27:45).   At the end of that time Jesus cried out the words of our verse today.    Those same words start Psalm 22, a Messianic psalm that gives us insight into the human anguish of the Son of God on the Cross.  
    
In that psalm there is a sense of helplessness and anguish that mirrors all of the human feelings of the one being we are considering, who was being crucified.   In v.12 & 13 he describes those who surround him, roaring at him, and then in v.14-17 the physical anguish he felt.   However the sense of verses 12 & 13 seem different from what man has done in the following verses.
   
Could this be the roaring of the powers of darkness, the demonic hoards that gathered to mock and vilify him?  Could the darkness that occurred be a physical expression of the spiritual darkness that was there in those hours?   Perhaps the truth has never been characterised better than in C.S.Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” as the Lion, Aslan, is tied up on the stone table to be murdered by the Witch: “Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage, and for a few minutes the two girls could not even see him – so thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him, hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.” Could this be what was happening in those three hours?
 
Throughout the sacrificial law of Moses, is the picture of the one sacrificing the innocent creature placing their hands on its head in identification, with the idea of their sins being transferred to it.   In 2 Cor 5:21 Paul said, “God made him who had no sin to be sin.”    Even if we take the alternative here, “to be a sin offering,” the sense is the same: Jesus had your sin and my sin put on him!    The writer to the Hebrews (Heb 9:28) wrote, “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin , but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”    If you bear something, you carry it.   The picture is of Jesus carrying the sins of the world as he hung there on the Cross.   Imagine every individual sin as a little bit of blackness, and then imagine every sin that is ever committed in the entire history of the world coming on Jesus in that three hours.    It says that in that time, he was enveloped in the most horrible blackness imaginable.
   
If we put the pictures of the two paragraphs above together, (remember that ‘Satan’ means ‘adversary’ or ‘accuser’), and you are left with a picture of the sin and guilt of the world coming upon Jesus on the Cross, and Satan and all the hoards of hell railing against him, accusing him and blaming him for every wrong thing that has ever and will ever happen.   Next time you hear some unthinking critic say, “It’s all God’s fault!” you can quietly say, “Well He took the blame,” and then you can quietly add, “So are you letting him take the blame for your guilt?”
   
But how does this link, you may be thinking, with our verse today?  Imagine this utter darkness of sin coming down upon Jesus, imagine him utterly surrounded by the hoards of hell.  The Father has not moved; He is still there, nothing has changed, but for the man-God hanging on the Cross enveloped in this blackness, surrounded by the demonic world, it is impossible to see or sense anything else.  All he can sense is blackness and evil.  Do you remember when we were meditating in Isaiah 53, we considered that “he was crushed for our iniquities” and we said then that Jesus, who was so strong in spirit, was totally crushed so that his spirit was so distorted in shape that even his awareness of his Father (which is what the spirit in us does) was devastated.  All Jesus was aware of was the blackness and the evil.   At that point the fullness of Sin put upon him means that his awareness of the Father’s presence (which was still there) was denied to the man so that he cries out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” because that is exactly what it feels like.
  
Imagine the awfulness, if you will, of this.   Ever since existence, the Father and Son have been one in awareness.    Never has there been separation.  In the last thirty or so earth years, the unity has been ‘in the Spirit’, in a sense limited by the human experience, but now, for the first and only time ever, the utter terribleness of separation is experienced as the Son is swamped in our sins and surrounded by the horrors of evil.  In the hearts of both Father and Son must be the most awful anguish and sense of isolation.  Never has the Godhead experienced such a thing – but they did it for you and me.
    
Prayer:
    
Lord in the light of these pictures, I am silenced in awe.   If I say thank you, it seems meaningless in the light of what I have seen, but I don’t know what else to say.