Thursday: The Cry on the Cross

Nothing is more destructive to our grasp of the atonement of Christ than the sentimentality that sometimes passes for Christianity in our day (all in the attempt to make the gospel conform to modern thinking). However, we must ever humbly acknowledge that anything we say about God can never do God justice, especially when we consider the atonement. We must avoid the temptation to reduce Jesus’ death on the cross to merely an “example of selfless love.” It was certainly that, but considering our situation as sinners, it would take more than “an example of selfless love” to redeem us. It would take, instead, our God bearing in Himself the full brunt of His own wrath against sin. 1

On the cross, Jesus cried out: “ ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ ” (Matt. 27:46, NKJV). How are we to understand this? What was Jesus saying, why, and how does this amazing cry help us understand what it cost to save us from sin? 

“And now the Lord of Glory was dying, a ransom for the race. . . . Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. He was counted a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the condemnation of the law. . . . The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. . . . He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. . . . It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 752, 753.

Jesus addresses this prayer to “God” instead of to the “Father,” as He always had done. Christ’s cries from the cross are not some exemplary display that He appears to go through in order to demonstrate that He loves us. No, this is God giving Himself over to death so that our destiny would not be determined by death. This is God Himself dying the death that we can be spared from, the death that sin would otherwise bring us all.

Three Gospels record that Jesus cried out with a loud voice from the cross as He was dying. These loud cries are even mentioned in the book of Hebrews: “who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death” (Heb. 5:7, NKJV). Jesus’ “cry of dereliction” is the most piercing cry in the Bible. There is no statement in all the Gospels to rival this one of Jesus from the cross, and in that cry we get a glimpse of what the Lord Himself was willing to go through in order to bring us salvation.

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Thursday: The Cry on the Cross — 11 Comments

  1. Wow! I never grasped until now that Jesus thought that there was a possibility that He wouldn't make it past the cross. He was actually willing to lose it all for us.

    • Dear April,

      Thank you for sharing. It truly is amazing isn't it! Interestingly, though, I'd not exactly say Jesus "thought" He might not make it past the cross. Here's why. In my view, for what it's worth, there was a great deal of difference between what Jesus thought and what He felt. The feeling that He was already eternally separated from the Father was evidently so strong that it literally forced the "cry of dereliction" from His lips, yet His faith in the Father's character was so strong that, once He could actually think about the question, his faith conquered even that most extreme fear. This is how I see it, anyway. But, yes, He was clearly determined to save us at any cost to Himself. What a Man! What a God!

      • I agree. Having never been without the Father's presence, Jesus experiences the second death for us. He willingly accepts being 'cut off' from the Father. This is something that we sinful mortals may never be able to understand or fully appreciate as we are yet to know what it is to dwell fully in His presence. What we experience now of salvation is but a minute taste of what we will in heaven.

  2. I thought the idea about sentimentality regarding the Cross was a good thing to point out. It's a "Isn't that nice." mentality about His sacrifice and what the Word of God says to do. I have a friend who doesn't want to leave her current church because she likes the stained glass windows and the way they do things there. She doesn't feel the Spirit is leading her away from her current church. Please pray for all you know who are in the same frame of mind!

  3. I've come to the conclusion that "going to church" or "belonging to church" is all about the TRUTH. And why the Truth, because the Truth leads to Salvation. After searching for the "hidden" treasures of knowledge and wisdom, the scriptures Psalm 119:105, John 17:17, John 16:13 and John 14:6 proved that only the Truth will guide us to follow the right way to eternal life and everything points to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So the Holy Spirit convicts us with the Truth to acknowledge that we are sinners and discern our separation from God. Only through Lord Jesus Christ we are reconciled with God. I knelt down and prayed to God and asked for the TRUTH, that was before I decided to join the Adventist Church, and when I eventually joined and started studying the Word, I was surprised to see that just as Proverbs 2:3-9 says, God answered my prayer and continues to keep His promises. God speaks to us through His Word, only if we would say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth"(1 Sam 3:10) and let none of His words to fall to the ground (1 Sam 3:19). So let us not forget why we belong to the body of Christ, it is not about Family tradition, friends, preacher, facilities, music, programs etc. but the TRUTH.

  4. I felt betrayed by some members (executives) of the church, my marriage etc. on those reasons i stopped going to church and praying. I went the beginning of the month and received a quarterly. i am not studying yet, but reading it, started my church visits again. this week's lesson is very interesting.

    • Glad to hear that you are enjoying the lessons, Jessie. I was going to say that I seem to remember Jesus also being betrayed by a church executive. But, then again, if the church around that time was the Jewish nation, perhaps He was rather betrayed into the hands of the church executives. Anyway, I'm glad He kept on praying, for our sakes, even when apparently forsaken by God.

      May you be richly blessed!

    • Praise the Lord, you are being lead by the Holy Spirit, Jessie. Ask for grace toward those who have hurt you or annoy you, and read from the Scripture each day. I love Psalm 103 and studying the Lesson on the internet. Sing some songs and pray. Always ask God to lead you and He will.

  5. Jessie... I encourage you to seek Jesus and only Jesus. Get to know Him personally through the Gospels, especially John. Unfortunately there are many in the church - yes even leaders - who have not yet experienced the love of God through Jesus Christ so they can't share that love with anyone. Experience His love for yourself by giving Him permission to fill you with that love and to wash away your hurt, anger and bitterness. Ask Him to give you His mind so you will have a right understanding that every experience you encounter is His experience and ask Him to accomplish His will in this - to reveal Himself and be glorified in you. I will be praying for you and I pray you will reach that place where you will also pray for the ones the enemy used to derail you.

  6. Jessie,
    Satan works very hard to discourage us from seeking our sweet and merciful Jesus. Sometimes the church body can become unwitting pawns. not following Jesus' tenant to love one another.Power becomes the religion. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He wants us to fellowship with one another.Remember, we follow Jesus not man. Pray for those who have hurt you, they need your prayers. Pray for His tender mercy to embrace all. I am a member of a church that once was in turmoil, but through the grace of God, we are becoming true brothers and sisters, working together to bring Jesus to others. Now, going to church is a joy, as it is meant to be. I count it a victory over that lion that sought to devour us, shake and break our faith! I am praying for you sister . Welcome back!


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