Good Friday - April 2nd
Devotionals for Passion Week 2021
Scripture to Read Today: Matthew 27:45-54
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?").
Today we continue daily devotionals around the final days of the first coming of Jesus Christ to earth. Each devotional this week will include a text of Scripture to read (simply click on the link at the top of this page to read Matthew 27:45-54 for today's devotional) and some thoughts I have written to help us in our walk with Christ based on the Scripture for the day.
We will focus on the passages that record what our Savior did each day of the final week leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection. Feel free to share these devotionals with others via social media or email. God may use them to bless others, too!
All four Gospels in the New Testament tell us it was Friday. We reference it as "Good Friday." How can it be good? After all, the innocent one suffered the agony of God's full wrath that day. When you understand the salvation secured for us by Jesus that day, that particular Friday becomes "Good Friday."
All of creation knew, though, that the Creator of the universe suffered unjustly in those hours on the cross. He was innocent, but He took our place of guilt and shame before God. Jesus received the penalty we deserve for our rebellion against our Maker. Creation groaned with its Creator's death. From noon till three o'clock in the afternoon, darkness blanketed the earth as Jesus hung on the cross. The earth groaned.
Then, Jesus cried out with words in Aramaic. Of the seven statements of Jesus from the cross mentioned by the four Gospels, this is the only statement mentioned by more than one Gospel. Both Matthew and Mark record this fourth saying of Christ from the cross. With the two accounts quoting this statement, it stands out. But it also stands out because it is the only one of the seven statements quoted in the Gospel accounts to be quoted in Jesus' everyday language - Aramaic.
The religious language with which Jesus would be familiar was Hebrew. In His day, Greek and Latin would have been the official languages of Roman courts, government proceedings, commerce, and education. Aramaic is what Jesus grew up using as the everyday language of His family and friends. It was the language He used as an adult and throughout His ministry.
By both quoting the original Aramaic and then giving the translation, Matthew and Mark underlined, bolded, and highlighted in yellow this phrase more than any other of the sayings of Christ from the cross. In English, He cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
After a long night of trials, beatings, and being mocked by Roman soldiers, the hours on the cross had taken their toll. As Jesus bore the guilt and shame of all humanity, He felt the darkness shrouding Him from His Heavenly Father. In agony, He expressed the pain of having the Father turn His back on His Son.
Much of the punishment in the place of torment called Hell occurs because of the sense of being separated, isolated, left hopeless, and forsaken by God. All of us deserve and are headed to Hell unless we embrace Christ as our Savior. He took the Hell we deserve as He was crucified. At the moment Jesus cried, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" He felt the weight of every person's guilt and shame. God the Father turned His back on His Son. He forsook Him. What agony!
He did that so that you and I would not have to suffer the penalty we deserve for our sin - forsaken by God. What love Jesus has shown to us!
As you reflect on all of the suffering Jesus experienced in His innocence, thank Christ for His willingness and love to experience being forsaken for you. Allow yourself to absorb this Good Friday with the full knowledge of and appreciation for Jesus' willingness to have the Father turn His back on Him. Because God the Father forsook Jesus, you do not ever have to be forsaken by Him!
We are free from our sin, shame, and guilt because the Father forsook Jesus (instead of us) while Jesus suffered on the cross!