My God, My God
From Gospel Translations
" My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?"—Matt, xxvii., 46.
These are the words of the great Surety of sinners, as he hung upon the accursed tree. The more I meditate upon them, the more impossible do I find it to unfold all that is contained in them. You must often have observed how a very small thing may be an index of something great going on within. The pennant at the mast-head is a small thing; yet it shows plainly which way the wind blows. A cloud no bigger than Q. man's hand is a small thing; yet it may show the approach of a mighty storm. The iwatloio is a little bird ; and yet it shows that summer is come. .So is it with man. A look, a sigh, a half-uttered word, a broken sentence, may show more of what is passing within than a long speech. So it was with the dying Saviour. These' few troubled words tell more than volumes of divinity.
May the Lord enable us to find something here that will feed your souls I
I. The completeness of Christ's obedience.
1. Words of obedience:
"My God, my God." He was obedient unto death. I have often explained to you how the Lord Jesus came to be a doing as well as a dying Saviour, not only to' suffer all that we should nave suffered, but to obey all that we should have obeyed; not only to suffer the curse*of the law, but to obey the commands of the law. When the thing was proposed to him in heaven, he said: ." Lo, I come to do thy will, O my God!" " Yea, thy law is within my heart." Now, then, look at him as a man obeying his God. See how perfectly he did it, even to the last! God says : Be about my business, he obeys : " Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business 1"
God says : Speak to sinners for me, he obeys : " I have meat to eat that ye know not of; my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." God says: Die in the room of sinners, wade through a sea of my wrath for the sake of enemies, hang on a cross, and bleed and die for them, he obeys: " No man taketh my life from me." The niglit before he said: " The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" But perhaps he will shrink back when he comes to the cross ? No ; for three hours ihe darkness had been over him, yet still he says: " My Go !, my God." Sinner, do you take Christ as your surety ? See how fully he obeyed for thee ! The great command laid upon him was to die for sinners. Behold how fully he obeys !
2. Words of faith:
" My God, my God." These words show the greatest fnitn that ever was in this world. Faith is believing the word of God, not because we sec it to be true, or feel it to be true, but because God has said it. Now Christ was forsaken. He did not see that God was his God, he did not feel that God was his God ; and yet he believed God's word, and cried : " My God, my God." (1.) David shows great faith in Ps. xlii., 7,8: " Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water spouts : all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord wifl command his loving kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life." He lelt like one covered with a sea of troubles. He can see no light, no way of escape ; yet he believes the word of God, and says: " Yet the Lord will." This is faith, believing when we do not see. (2.) Jonah shelved great faith : " All thy billows and thy waves passed over me : then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again towards thy holy temple."—Jonah ii., 3, 4. He was literally at the bottom of the sea. He knew no way of escape, he saw no light, he felt no safety ; yet he believed the word of God. This was great faith. (3.) But, ah! a greater than Jonah is here. Here is greater faith than David's, greater faith than Jonah's, greater faith than ever was in the world, before or after. Christ was now beneath a deeper sea than Jonah's. The tossing billows of God's anger raged over him. He was forsaken by God he is in outer darkness, he is in hell; and yet he believes the word of God : " Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." He does not feel it, he does not see it, but he believes it, and cries: " My God." Nay, more, to show his confidence, he says it twice : "My God, my God." " Though he slay me, yet will 1 trust in him." Dear believer, rnis is your surety. You arc often unbelieving, distrustful of God ; behold your surety, cling to him, you are complete in him. .
3. Words of love.
"My God, my God." (1.) Those were words of sweet submission and love which Job spake, when God took away from him property and children: "Naked came I out of my mother's womb." Sweet, that he could bless God even in taking away from him. (2.) Words of sweet submissive love which old Eli spake, when God told him that his sons should die; "It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good." (3.) The same sweet temper in the bosom of the Shunamite who last her child, when the prophet asked: " Is it well with thee ? is it well with thy husband ? is it well with the child ? And she answered, It is well." (4.) But, ah! here is greater love, greater, sweeter submission, than that of Job, or Eli, or the Shunamite, greater than ever was breathed in this cold world before. Here is a being hanging between earth and heaven, forsaken by his God, without a smile, without a drop of comfort, the agonies of hell going over him; and yet he loves the God that has forsaken him. , He does not cry out, Cruel, cruel, Father! no, but with all the vehemence of affection, cries out, " My God, my God."
Dear, dear souls, is this your surety? Do you take him as obeying for you ? Ah! then, you are complete in him. You have very little love for God. How often you have murmured, and thought God cruel in taking things away from you ; but, behold your sur^ ty, and rejoice in him with exceeding joy. All the merit of his holy obedience is imputed to you.
II. The infinity of Christ's sufferings.
—He was forsaken by God; " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" f The Greek Liturgy says: " We beseech thee by all the sufferings of Christ, known and unknown." All the more we know of Christ's sufferings, the more we see they cannot be known. Ah ! who can tell the full meaning of the broken bread and poured-out wine ?
1. He suffered much from his enemies. (1.) He suffered in all parts of his body. In his head ; that was crowned wilh thorns, and smitten with the reed. In his cheeks; for they smote him on the face, and he gave his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: " I hid not my face from shame and spitting." In his shoulders, that carried the heavy cross. In his back; " I gave my back to the smiters." In his hands and feet: " They pierced my hands and my feet." In his side; a soldier thrust a spear into his side. Ah ! how well he might say, " This is my body, broken for you." (2.) He suffered in all his offices. As a prophet: " They smote him on the face, and said, Prophesy who smote thee ? As a priest, they mocked him when offering up that one offering for sins. As a king,, when they bowed the knee, and said, " Hail! king of the Jews." (3.) He suffered from all sorts of men, from priests and elders, from pass'-rs by and soldiers, from Icings and thieves: " Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round"—"Dogs have compassed me"— "They have compassed me about like bees." (4.) He suffered much from the devil: •' Save me from the lion's mouth." His whole suffering was one continued wrestling with Satan ; for he "spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in his cross."
2. From those he afterwards saveH.—How bitter would be the scoffing of the thief who that day was to be forgiven and accepted! How bitter the cries of the three thousand who were so soon brought to know him whom they crucified !
3. From his own disciples.—They .nll forsook him and fled. John, the beloved, stood afar off, and Peter denied him. It is said of the chamomile flower, that the more you squeeze and tread upon it, the sweeter is the odor it spreads around. Ah ! so it was in our sweet Rose of Sharon. It was the bruising of the Saviour that spread sweet fragrance around. It is the bruising that makes his name as ointment poured forth.
4. From his Father.—All other sufferings were nothing in comparison of this : " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" Other sufferings were finite—this alone was infinite suffering. It was little to be bruised by the heel of man or devils; but, an! to 4ie trodden by the heel of God: " It pleased the Father to bruise him."
Three things show the infinity of his sufferings.
1. Who it was that forsook him. Not his people Israel, not Judas the betrayer, not Peter his denier, not John that Iny in his bosom, he could have borne all this ; but, ah! it was his Father and his God. Other things little affected him compared with that. The passers by wagged their heads ; he spoke not. The chief
£ricsts mocked him; he murmured not. The thieves cast it in is teelh ; he was as a deaf man who heareth not. God brought a three hours' darkness over him—the outward darkness being an image of the darkness over his soul—ah ! this was infinite agony: " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
2. Who it was that teas forsaken: "Me." (1.) One infinitely dear to God. Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world, yet lhou hast forsaken me. I was always by thee; rejoicing always before thee. I have basked in the beams of thy love. Ah ! why this terrible darkness to me ? " My God, my God." (2.) One who had an infinite hatred of sin. How dreadful to an innocent man to be lhrust into the cell of a condemned criminal ! but, ah ! how much more dreadful to Christ, who had an infinite hatred
• of sin, to be regarded by God as a sinner. (3.) One who had an infinite relish of God's favor. When two friends of exalted minds meet together, they have an intense relish of one another's love. How painful lo meet the cold averted looks of one in whose favor you find this sweet joy ! Jiut, ah ! this is nothing to Christ's pain.
3. What God did to him—-forsook him. Dear friends, let us look into ibis ocenn through which Christ waded. (1.) He was without any comforts of God—no feeling that God loved him ; no feeling that God pitied him ; no feeling that God supported him. God wo.s his sun before ; now that sun became all darkness. Not a smile from his Father, not^a kind look, not a kind word. (2.) He was without God ; he was as if he had no God. All that God had been lo him before was taken from him now. He was Godleas ; deprived of his God. (3.) He had the feeling of the condemned, when the Judge says: " Depart from me, yc cursed," "who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." He felt that God said the same to him. Ah ! this is the hell .which Christ suffered. Dear friends, I feel like a little1 child casting a stone into some deep ravine in the mountain side, and listening to hear it fall —but listening all in vain ; or like the sailor casting the lead at »ea, but it is too deep—the longest line cannot fathom it. The ocean of Christ's sufferings is unfathomable.
III. Answer the Saviour's why ?
Because he was the surety of sinners, and stood in their room.
1. He had agreed with his Father, before all worlds, to stand and suffer in the place of sinners: Every curse that should fall on them, let it fall on me. Why should he be suprised that God poured out all his fury ? " Why hast thou forsaken me ?" Because thou didst covenant to stand in the room of sinners.
2. He set his face to it: " He set his face like a flint." " He set his face steadfastly." God set .down the cup before him in the garden, saying: Art thou willing to drink it, or no? He said : "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" " Therefore it pleased the Lord to bruise him." Why ? Because thou hast chosen to be the surety; thou wouldst not drt1w back:
3. He knew that either he or the whole world must suffer. It was his pity for the world made him undertake to be a Saviour : " He saw that there was no man, and wondqred that there was no intercessor. Therefore his arm brought salvation unto him, and' his righteousness it sustained him." Why ? Either thou or they ;. hell for thee or hell for them.
1. Lesson to Christless persons. Learn your danger. Wherever God sees sin he will punish it; angels, Adam, old world, Sodom. He saw sins laid on Christ, and forsook his own Son. You think nothing of sin. See what God thinks of it. If so much as one sin upon you unconverted you cannot be saved. Though' thou wert the signet on my right hand; though thou wert the son. of my bosom; yet would I pluck thee thence. Oh, let me persuade yod this day to an immediate closing with Jesus Christ!
2. Lesson. Admire the love of Christ. Oh, what a sea of wrath did he lie under for you ! Oh, what hidings did he bear for you, vile, ungrateful soul! The broken bread and poured'-out wine are a picture of his love. Oh, when you look on them, may your heart break for longing towards such a Saviour !
3. Lesson. Say to all who close with Jesus Christ, he was forsaken in the room of sinners. If you close with him as your surety, you will never be forsaken. From the broken bread and poured-out wine seems to rise the cry: " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?"
For me—for me. May God bless his own Word 1
(Action Sermon )