Today’s Scrip-Bit   15 April 2022 Matthew 27:46.

Matthew 27:46.      ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ 

A BLEESED GOOD FRIDAY! 

And then it was Friday…Good Friday to be exact; the end of our Lenten season, the day our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross of Calvary to pay for our abominable sins! And why that name on one of the most horrendous days in History? There are all sorts of reasons, but I like this one. It’s a Good Friday in the sense that on this particular day, ALL of our sins were washed away! That’s not only what‘s good about it, but what is exceedingly and abundantly wonderful! 

Yes, we know that Christ suffered terribly on our behalf, but that’s considering the glass half empty. However, looking at what that sacrifice entailed and accomplished – atonement, forgiveness of sins – means looking at the glass half-full. And no one wanted, or wants anyone to undergo such ‘sufferation’ as Jesus did – and that’s the only word that can truly explain what He went through for us undeserving and ungrateful sinners – but without someone sinless paying for our sins we would ALL still be headed for damnation and hellfire with no options of salvation and eternal life. 

And since Jesus was the only sinless soul available, it was obvious that the Father had to sacrifice Him if He wanted our sin debt to be paid. And oh, how it hurts my heart when I consider the unfairness and misery Jesus went through on our behalf. Sometimes I don’t even want to read about the shame hurled on Him during the mock trials He went through. And the flogging, oh brother, that wicked beating that cut His back to tatters brings tears to my eyes. 

Then the ignominy, the embarrassment and humiliation of dragging that heavy wooden cross on which He would be crucified through the streets of Jerusalem, falling under its weight, just like he would later fall under the weight of our sins that the Father would ultimately lay on His shoulders. It’s like our modern-day trait of having someone dig their own grave. Just listen to this description of Christ’s early suffering as told by Matthew, and if it doesn’t break your heart and bring tears to your eyes…then…I don’t know what to say about you nuh. 

After Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified, ‘Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall (the governor’s headquarters where everyone could see), and gathered unto him the whole band (cohort) of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had plaited (twisted) a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put on his own raiment (clothes), and led him away to crucify him.’ (Matt. 27:27-31) 

Oh friends, can you imagine how Jesus must have been totally humiliated, especially after only a week earlier, the same crowd that had cheered His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, singing ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ was now shouting ‘Crucify Him!’ But yuh know what, our heavenly Father is always a kind and LOVING God, and even in the depths of Jesus’ despair, though He knew that He could not take away the cup that Jesus must drink, He could soften the blow somewhat. Thus, the following scriptures: ‘And as they led him (Jesus) away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.’ (Luke 23:26) 

Oh my people, do you think that Simon just happened to appear there when Jesus was so exhausted and broken after all that He’d suffered in the last several hours. No, I don’t think so. I think the Father, knowing the terrible state that Jesus was in, placed him there for just that purpose. And isn’t it strange that the first three gospels all named Simon by name, a supposed casual passer-by? Mark even named his two sons, Alexander and Rufus. And every Good Friday since then, we too are also calling Simon the Cyrene’s name. As they say, people are not named in scripture without a purpose. So the story had to be true. 

And I like what this one author, Chris Nye, says on importance of Luke’s words, ‘that he might bear it after him.’ That means Simon was walking behind Jesus with his cross. Nye writes: ‘Before his arrest and betrayal, Jesus said to his would-be followers, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). To be a Christian is to live a “cruciform life,” a kind of existence that is shaped by and through the cross. 

We bear the cross Jesus provides for us. This is precisely what Simon did and precisely what we must do too. As St. Paul wrote, we do this so that we may know Jesus “and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). Simon of Cyrene, following behind Jesus with the cross, is the picture of discipleship. Christ has gone first. He has gone and is going to where we cannot. Still, we follow in his steps, bearing the cross behind him.’ 

Ah mih fellow saints, the cross is indeed the symbol of our faith! Everything in Christianity points to it and leads away from it. Without the cross there’d be no solid foundation for us to build our lives upon. And we all know the rest of the story of that First Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified naked like a jay bird, the ultimate shame in His Jewish faith, between two thieves, with nails in his hands and feet, and left hanging on the cross for some five hours in the hot midday sun to die from dehydration and loss of blood. The ultimate cruelty ever devised by man! 

But we also know that Jesus bore His ‘sufferation’ like the true Son of God that He was, mostly in silence too. His only complaint being at about the ninth hour, when He cried out to the Father: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46) 

Yes, my faithful brethren, on that old rugged cross, bearing the sins of the whole world on His shoulders, that was the ONLY time that Father and Son had ever been separated, and apparently that was the only thing that troubled Jesus deeply. He was otherwise so in control that He promised the repentant thief crucified with Him: ‘Verily, I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ (Luke 23:43) 

Even in His misery, His dying moments, Jesus was cognitive enough to plead on our behalf. ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34) He is asking forgiveness for the people who are unjustly crucifying Him, the same ones for whose sins He was sent to atone for! Now doesn’t that say everything about our magnificent Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? It certainly does! What a fine example He is for us to follow! And that’s all He’s asking of us this Good Friday, this immortal day on the Christian calendar; to take up our cross, just like He did His two thousand years ago, and faithfully follow Him to salvation and eternal life! Much LOVE!

…if you’re not faithfully bearing your cross…then you’re not following Jesus… 

P.S. Sorry for the lateness of the Bit, but I had to go to church, because the 10 o’clock service was the only one we have today. But as always…better late than never. (smile) Much LOVE! 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8         

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