Theme of the Week: Following Christ’s Example
Bible Verse: 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?” Matthew 27:46
Scripture Reading: Matthew 27:45-47
When Christians pray, we do so with the assurance that God hears us and answers us. He will not always grant us exactly what we have prayed for, but that is because he knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves, and he will not grant us those requests which he knows will not be in our best interests. And he will not even listen to us when what we seek is sinful. If I buy a lottery ticket and pray that I would win the jackpot, God won’t acknowledge my request, because I’ve proven that I don’t really trust in his promise to meet all my needs. And I’ve shown I’m wanting more than I need, which is greed.
Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”
You’d think, then, that if anyone could be certain that his prayers would be answered, if what he had asked for would be granted, it would be Jesus. Not only was he without sin, but as Jesus himself asserted, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). And yet in Gethsemane, when God the Son asked God the Father three times if the terrible suffering that he knew awaited him could be taken from him, the Father stayed silent. So, in full submission to his Father’s will, Jesus went to the cross. But even then, he could not overcome the horror that God had seemed to turn his back on him; hence this anguished cry.
Why did this happen? Why did God treat Jesus as if he “cherished sin”? The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
This has been called The Great Exchange: Jesus died so that we might live. Jesus was forsaken so that we could be made acceptable to God.
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