Friday, December 19, 2014

The Cry of the Suffering Christ by W. J. Hocking (Part 4)

The Seven Words from the Cross

We learn from the Gospels of seven utterances made by our Lord during His crucifixion. Three of them were spoken during the earlier hours, and four during the later period. The only one of the seven found in more than one Gospel is the cry of Christ's abandonment by His God, recorded by both Matthew and Mark. It is evident from this double testimony of the Holy Spirit that this cry demands our reverent attention and prayerful meditation, especially.

First, the Lord, when they bound Him to the tree of cursing, prayed, “Father, (He did not say “My God”), forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Again, while the sun still shone brightly in the heavens, Jesus saw Mary His mother and the beloved disciple. He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son,” and to him, “Behold thy mother (John 19:26, 27). His sympathies were not dulled by His sorrows and His sufferings. Further, we can hear His gracious and assured promise to the believing robber sharing the horrors of crucifixion at His side, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Though poorer than the poorest of the poor, the Lord could still give. Cast out of His inheritance, stripped even of His garments, He seemed to possess nothing, yet He bestows upon this converted criminal the right of entrance to paradise itself. What joy there was in heaven over the one sinner who had repented!

But then the noonday sun was supernaturally eclipsed. There was darkness over the whole land from the sixth to the ninth hour. The Holy Sufferer was hidden from the eyes of men. He was closeted with God; and in the “night season” He was not silent. But out of the prevailing darkness came the cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” John also records (John 19:28-30) two other utterances, “I thirst” and “It is finished,” both spoken with the assuredness of omniscience. What had to be done had then been accomplished.

What then had been finished? What had been done? Who can describe it? Who can measure it? Was it not that stupendous work of propitiation which in respect of all His attributes satisfied God as to sin, enabling Him to be just and the justifier of the unjust who believe in Jesus? The Lord knew what He had accomplished. He knew what He had endured, and that in His suffering He was forsaken of God.

Moreover, the Son of God knew that the appointed offering for sin had been made and that the sacrifice was acceptable. He knew that the darkness had passed, and that He had emerged into the sunshine of God and the Father's delight and complacency. We have next the seventh utterance, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). And He passed into paradise, there to welcome the penitent robber who had believed on Him and for whose sins He had made propitiation to God.

No comments:

Post a Comment