We are looking at some of the questions Jesus asked.
a. When it comes to Jesus’ questions, there are three important things to know.
i. They are really important questions about big issues
ii. Jesus already knows the answer
iii. He wants the question to be your question and the answer to be your answer. So instead of just giving the answer He waits for yours and moves in your heart to guide you to the answer he knows is right.
b. This week’s question: Why have you forsaken me?
i. Read – Matthew 27:46
ii. Who is he directing the question to?
2. He’s Asking God. ‘Eli’ is a variation of ‘Eloi’ in Aramaic, the language people commonly used in 1st century Judah. It means “God.” Matthew even supplies the translation.
a. Jesus isn’t using his own words. This is a direct quote of a Hebrew scripture we know as Psalm 22 in the Bible. Read Psalm 22:1.
i. The Bible has many examples of prayers of
lament: people calling out to God in their suffering, wondering why He doesn’t act.
ii. The Greek word for “forsaken” – literally means “to leave down in” or “leave behind.” Figuratively it came to mean “deserted” or “abandoned.”
b. Jesus speaks these words while being slowly executed on a cross. It is a time of great physical pain. But it’s also a time of spiritual abandonment and desertion.
i. He has been God’s chosen one. God’s teacher. God’s prophet. God’s own Son. But now he is left behind.
c. A big moment for me was the summer between my 3rd and 4th grades when my parents decided to move to a bigger home in a different neighborhood, which meant switching schools.
i. I was not a fan of this move, and made it known.
ii. I felt I had a great group of friends in my current school. I was in the in crowd. I had it made.
iii. I didn’t feel like I fit in my new school. I spent more time lamenting the loss of my old friends than trying to make new ones – so I was lonely.
iv. I asked my parents to just move back. Simple solution. Their answer was completely rational in an adult world, but for me it felt like they didn’t care about my feelings. I felt abandoned, deserted, by people I expected to rescue me.
v. Ever felt that way?
d. Thinking of it this way makes me wonder: was Jesus simply quoting a relevant scripture or was Jesus feeling deep abandonment from God?
i. If Jesus was who he said he was, why did God abandon him at this crucial moment?
3. Jesus asks “Why?” this has happened, and that’s where the question gets turned around to you and me. I think we are the “Why?”
a. Read Judges 10:13
i. The Bible tells a story of habitual abandonment and rejection of God by humanity in favor of worship of lesser things.
ii. The Bible tells a story of God responding by forsaking and rejecting sinful people as their just punishment.
b. But then the Bible adds God’s salvation to the story.
i. God not only remembers his forsaken people but rescues them and provides a way they can be restored to full relationship and holiness.
ii. This is called ‘atonement.’
iii. This has happened over and over, but there comes a point where it is done once and for all.
c. Jesus says “why have you abandoned ME?” The cross presents the idea that Jesus’ abandonment as God’s Son is the perfect atonement which guarantees we never will suffer the same.
i. Read 1 John 4:10 (propitiation is synonym for atonement)
d. The question still hangs out there – “Why” do you forsake God?
i. Yes! Because of Jesus’ Cross the consequence of your answer is atoned for, forgiven.
ii. But the answer is still important, and now beyond cross Jesus wants to lead you out of the grave into new life.
4. A third option is that Jesus is asking the question you are asking.
a. You have had a hope for a rescue that you feel hasn’t come. So you move on, try to find the answer somewhere else.
i. God has forsaken you. You are looking to something or someone else for your deliverance.
b. By asking this question when he does and where he does, Jesus simultaneously sides with you if you are asking it yourself, and gives himself as an answer to that question.
i. In 1738 Charles Wesley wrote the words of a hymn which has become one of my favorites. “And Can It Be?”
ii. Read the Slides below.
iii. Amazing love. How can it be?
5. Imagine that God is asking you that question right now and there is a pause to listen attentively to your answer.
a. And that actually is what’s happening right now for you.
c. I believe that is exactly what is happening. Write down your answer on your handout.
i. See if a conversation begins in your soul.
ii. It may be that Jesus’ question leads to another one – one you have. Write that down too.
d. My goal for this series is not to give you God’s answers. But to get you talking to God.
i. He is asking and listening, drawing you deeper in.