Eli, Eli
Based on Series of Sermons on the Repetition of Name and Titles
Preached in PCC Worship Service, 19 Jan 2014
Part 3 of 3

We have been looking at Matthew 27:46, where the Lord Jesus said, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We’ve seen something of what this verse does not mean and what it does mean. In this article, we will briefly consider what it means for us. I’ll like to draw our attention to three things.

First, it means that we should take sin very seriously. God has an infinite hatred of sin and His infinite justice requires that it be punished to the full. The wages of sin is death, death in the fullest sense of the word.

The Lord Jesus went to the cross in order to receive the wages of sin, not His, but ours. So awful was it that He cried out in utter anguish and agony, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Oh how we ought to hate sin as well. We ought to hate every single sin for Christ paid the full price for each one of them. There are no insignificant sins in the sight of God. There are no sins that He can simply close His eye to or brush aside. No, even the least sin requires the sufferings and death of Christ on the cross for it to be pardoned.   

It is not just murder and adultery and blasphemy and robbery that Jesus died to pay for. It is also covetousness, discontentment, lustful looks, anxiety, unthankfulness, complaining, pride, selfishness, impatience, irritability, frustration, anger, jealousy, worldliness, judgmentalism and so on down to the last idle word that proceeds from our lips.   

It is not humanly possible to count how many sins Jesus had to pay for on the cross, but understand that Jesus was keenly aware of every one of them. Oh let us be much more sensitive to sin in our own hearts and lives, and let us hate each one of them with a holy hatred. 

And if you are not a believers in Christ, may the immense sufferings of Christ on the cross lead you to think about the unbearable sufferings that you will have to endure should you die and leave this world in an unbelieving state.

If God did not hold back the fierceness of His wrath from even His only begotten and beloved Son when He became a substitute for sin, how much more will He unleash His fury upon you, who are truly a sinner and an enemy of His? Do not continue in such a dangerous state. The day of mercy and grace is fast coming to an end. Make the seeking of salvation your utmost priority in life.

Second, we should love God and His Son Jesus Christ much more than we do.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” He gave His only begotten Son to suffer and die the worst possible death.

If you are a father and mother – would you be willing to give up your child’s life for a thousand dollars? Ten thousand dollars? A million dollars? A billion dollars? I think most parents would not do that for any amount.

But God gave His only begotten Son. And in return for what? For you and for me! Oh how should we not love our heavenly Father much more than we do. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.” And how much more should we love the Lord Jesus Christ Himself – He who willingly laid down His life for us?

Romans 5:7-8, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

We do not deserve the love of God and of Christ in the least. Oh why should we be objects of divine love when we are so vile and ugly and hateful sinners and enemies of God? 

The cross is the supreme evidence of God’s love and of Christ’s love for His people. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” is the apex or pinnacle of the demonstration of His love for us. The Father willing to forsake His Son and the Son willing to be forsaken by the Father and to suffer His wrath – all for the sake of love.

Oh how should we not love our Triune God much more than we do?

But third, and finally, we should turn to the Lord Jesus much more than we do. We should turn to Him in our moments of loneliness, when there is no one around who cares or who can understand. We should turn to Him in our moments of forsakenness, when we feel that we have been forsaken and abandoned by our closest and nearest.

We should turn to Him in our moments of burden and weariness, when the load on our hearts is too heavy to bear. We should turn to Him in our moments of seeming unheard and unanswered prayers, when our prayers do not seem to go beyond our four walls.

Dear Brethren in the Lord, Jesus was truly forsaken and abandoned and separated from God so that we may never have to truly experience that.  

Yes, there are times when we might feel that way, but the reality is that God is always with us. His promise in Hebrews 13:5 never to leave us nor to forsake us will never fail.

May we turn to Christ and pour out our hearts to Him for He knows what we are feeling and is well able to sympathize with us and help us. And may we pray to our heavenly Father, “My Father in Heaven, I know that thou wilt not and indeed cannot forsake me, because thou hast already forsaken thy Son on the cross and because His merits bind thee to me, and me to thee forever.” 

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Amen.

—Linus Chua