S. S. March 22 Cries from the Cross - Anguish and suffering
Cries from the Cross
We are in our third week of study from Dr. Erwin Lutzer’s book Cries from the Cross
Our goal in these 4 weeks is to get a glimpse of what the Cross meant to Christ through His Cries from that cross.
Christ’s first Cry from the Cross was:
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
It was the cry for pardon (Luke 23:34)
From that first cry we recognize that although Jesus was still God, He chose to suspend His divine rights and temporarily withdraw Himself from a position of authority.
Therefore, He who had been forgiving sin during His public ministry now asked the Father to do the forgiving.
Another important aspect of that cry is that
Jesus was asking for our pardon, not after His wounds were healed, but when the pain was the fiercest.
From that we recognized that the cross is where we find both the power and the example to forgive before a root of bitterness begins to develop in our lives.
The cry for pardon was not a blanket prayer covering all who were involved in the crucifixion, but for those who seek to be reconciled with the Holy God they have offended.
By God’s providence there were two thieves crucified with Jesus that day, both had equal access…one on either side. Only one chose to believe The Truth. He couldn’t earn eternal life as Author Pink so eloquently pointed out: He could not walk in the paths of righteousness because he had a nail through either foot, could not perform any good works, because of the nails in his hands, and could not turn over a new leaf and live a better life because he was dying.
He couldn’t earn eternal life and he didn’t deserve life in heaven with the Lord of glory; he was a thief who deserved punishment. Nevertheless, he was saved
by grace through faith.
He once was lost, but now was found which prompted
Christ’s second cry from the cross:
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
A cry of assurance (Luke 23:43)
The Believer’s Bible Commentary has this to say about that cry:
With Me—what company
In Paradise—what happiness
Not only assurance for the thief, but blessed assurance for us even today.
And then as the soldiers were casting lots for His tunic, Jesus looked at His mother with love and his dear friend John with respect uttering His third cry from the cross:
“Woman, behold your son!” (John 19:26)
“Behold, your mother!” (John 19:27)
The cry of compassion
In His greatest hour of need, He chose to love and honor His mother by ensuring that her needs would be met.
All of those cries were uttered in daylight, but the fourth cry from the cross would be shrouded in darkness.
At high noon the world became dark as Jesus cried,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
A cry of anguish (Matt. 27:46)
Separation: the ultimate meaning of death in scripture.
Jesus, who’s life was a reflection of the Father, who maintained a constant connection with the Father, and lived in perfect submission to the Father was now for the first time alienated from His Father.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning titled her poem
Emmanuel’s Orphaned Cry:
Deserted! God could separate from His own essence rather;
And Adam’s sins have swept between the righteous Son and Father:
Yea, once, Immanuel’s orphaned cry His universe hath shaken—
It went up single, echoless, “My God, I am forsaken!”
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning
And the world literally became dark for three hours.
Was there any symbolism in the darkness?
p.28 Darkness is always associated with the judgment of God for great sin.
With the darkness, we see the judgment of God against the evil men who treated His Son with cruelty, but it also represents the judgment of the Father against His Son.
In those hours of darkness, Jesus became legally guilty of our sin, and for that He was judged. (p. 28)
Does anyone remember the final plague on Egypt before the Passover lambs were slain?
Exodus 10:21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.”
v. 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days.
Three days of darkness before the symbolic Passover
of the Old Covenant,
Three hours of Darkness as the true Passover Lamb of the New Covenant was slain.
In Egypt it was a darkness that could be felt.
In Jerusalem it was the same.
Every piece of the puzzle fitting in it’s place.
I wonder if the darkness was one of those things that Jesus explained to those 2 men who were discussing what had happened while on the road to Emmaus.
“Beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Luke 24:27
Did anyone sketch in the margin of their quarterly (p. 28) the transfer that occurred during the darkness as described in
II Cor. 5:21?
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Jesus had kept Himself pure, holy, righteous for 33 years, walking in the light, never once giving in to the flesh, never knowing what it felt like to be unclean in his thoughts or his physical body and then all at once the filth, the disgust of every sin ever committed was laid upon Him.
What were some of the sins transferred from humanity to the Lord Jesus that day?
Selfishness, Greed, Envy, Immorality, Unfaithfulness, Unforgiveness, Bitterness, Slander, A critical spirit, Impatience, apathy toward God.
Christ had never known any of that sin, but now He had to experience it all at once, along with the darkness, loneliness and abandonment by God.
And then the fifth Cry from the Cross
The cry of suffering:
“I thirst” (Jn. 19:28)
Dr. Lutzer brought out some significant aspects of this cry:
Jesus’ thirst proves that He was indeed a man.
We looked up some other scriptures that affirm Jesus’ humanity on p.32
(Discuss scriptures and answers on p. 32)
He increased in wisdom and stature
He experienced emotion
Jesus slept, got weary, and wept.
Dr. Lutzer brought to our attention that Jesus’ thirst for the Father’s presence might have been greater than His thirst for water. I found the study in thirst very interesting.
One of the first signs of life is thirst. (p. 34)
Just as we come into this world with physical thirst, so too, we have a spiritual thirst built into our soul.
It is only when we give ourselves up to God that our thirst can be satisfied.
People try to quench that thirst in different ways:
through drugs, alcohol, sex, money, power, etc.
Others exist on medication because they cannot bear the pain of their own emptiness. (p. 35)
Jeremiah 2:13 describes this quite accurately:
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
That can hold no water.
God was speaking to Israel concerning her sin of
omission - forsaking God
and commission – replacing God with false idols.
In Israel the most reliable and refreshing sources of water were her natural springs. The water was dependable and satisfying.
In contrast, the most unreliable source of water was cisterns – large pits dug into rock and covered with plaster.
They were used to gather rainwater.
It was not clear water (said to be brackish and salty). If the rains were below normal, it could run out. If the cisterns developed a crack, they would not hold water. Yet they turned from what God supplied to what they thought they could supply for themselves.
(Bible Knowledge Commentary)
We’ve been there too haven’t we?
We dig a cistern of material possessions,
A cistern of worldly pleasure,
A cistern of debt,
A cistern of self-sufficiency,
And eventually find that our cisterns hold no water.
All the while Jesus is saying, are you thirsty, come to the water, the fountain of living water. Why are you spending your time and your money on what will never fulfill you?
Come to me and delight yourself in abundance.
Listen and live.
Life, abundant life, paid for by the Son of God on a cruel cross, it’s hard for me to believe that some would refuse it.
But many do, as they dig their own cisterns that hold no water.
MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Mt 27:46). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.