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Another Look At The Cross


Good Morning Beloved Family,

I am truly honored and privileged to be able to share the Word of God
with all of you today, thank you for joining us

Heavenly Father,

In the face of the resurrection
we know of Christs' suffering 
suffering we cannot begin to fathom

In this world, a world where lies are accepted as truth
hear our prayer, for Your truth to prevail
a world where racism not only exists, but is tolerated
a world where those with disabilities are mocked
Lord hear our prayer for the disadvantaged and oppressed

A world where children are ignored, neglected and abused
hear our prayer for the voiceless
Father, we turn to You for hope
for strength, for courage and peace
help us O Lord
to be faithful to You, in word and in deed
In Your name we pray
Amen

"Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!"
Matthew 27:45-54
 
Today's Message: Another Look At The Cross

Sometimes, it takes a second look at something to get a better picture, an understanding of it.
So I wanted to take another look at the cross... A much closer look at Matthew 27:45-54. 
Dissect it, if you will.

I'm not here today to try and convince you that there was a man named Jesus, or that He died or rose again. Because there is certainly a significant amount of evidence not only in the Bible, but also it has been proven through artifacts, research, and scientific facts that Jesus Christ and His word is true and factual.

Christ died for God. Christ died to put God on display. Christ died to satisfy God, to propitiate God. And we saw that on the cross, God is really on display. God’s righteousness is on display. God’s holiness is on display. God’s consistency, as well as God’s grace is on display. Christ died for God. That is in the sense that Christ died to prove to the world that God is absolutely righteous, absolutely holy, while at the same time being merciful and gracious, for the redemption of sin.

There was some suspicion about the character of God, due to the fact that God forgave sin in the Old Testament, overlooked sin, tolerated sin, and even removed sin from those who put their trust in Him fully, as far as the east is from the west, buried in the depths of the deepest sea, and remembered it no more. And the question that looms over the Old Testament is not really the question, is God gracious? So is God righteous? Obviously, He is gracious. Sinners live and sinners survive and sinners prosper and sinners are even blessed and believing sinners are forgiven. So, it's pretty obvious God is gracious...

Christ died then to satisfy the wrath of God, proclaiming God as righteous and holy and consistent and yet gracious and merciful. But while Christ died for God, God was no passive bystander or indifferent onlooker, God is divinely active.

God puts on a display at the cross that can easily be missed, Scripture tells us that Jesus was crucified at the third hour, which is 9 in the morning, the Jewish day beginning at 6:00 a.m. Three hours of light had passed until the sun was at its apex, from 9:00 to Noon. During those three hours, Jesus had broken His silence three times. Once He said, “Father, forgive them. For they not know what they do.” And then he said, to the penitent thief, “Truly today, you will be with me in paradise.” And then he said, to his own mother, “Woman, behold, your son. Son, behold your mother,” and put his own mother in the care of John. Each of those first three sayings on the cross are expressions of His compassion and His grace.

"Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”"
Matthew 27:45-46

Now, looking at verse 45, “From the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.” This is the first divine act of God. But at noon, when the sun is at its zenith, an astounding miracle is done by God, and it’s God’s first commentary on the events. A Divine Miracle. Darkness all over the in the Greek. It’s translated a G and a long E, and it’s a word for earth. Interestingly enough, in the annals of Roman history, it is recorded that there was darkness over the known earth at this time, as indicated by the early father Origen in his writing against Celsus.

This was not something totally unusual for God to do to interfere with the sun. He had done it on several other occasions. Previously, He had caused the sun to appear to stand still from a human perspective, although from a scientific perspective, for a time, the Earth stopped revolving all together. On a separate occasion, He caused the sun to move backwards so that it moved backward on the sundial. And on another occasion, He blackened the sun as a part of the horrible plagues that fell in Egypt.

But this time, this was very different!
In his account, Luke uses a word ekleipō, which means literally failing. It’s as if God flipped the switch and turned off the sun. There are some, who exclaim, it was simply an eclipse. An eclipse in the middle of the month? At the time of the Passover? That’s impossible! The full moon would have been opposite the sun.

" For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls."
1 Peter 2:-21-25 

Does that sound like an eclipse to you?

This, this is nothing less than a Divine commentary from God. Throughout Scripture, darkness is a symbol of God's judgment. Hell is even called outer darkness. Yet we're supposed to believe, that its some sort of eclipse?
No! No! No! No, beloved, God's salvation is often referred to as light. His judgement is darkness.

This was clearly God's judgement of sin!
God was affirming, by the darkness that the cross was judgment, the place of the severest, most comprehensive divine judgment. This was God’s way of saying that His fury is unleashed on Christ, the innocent, sin bearing substitute, for you and me. Here is judgment on sin, bore for us by Christ.

That's it, right?
No, not yet, there's more!
Something that only our Lord Jesus could know...
Let's look at verse 46 again...
"About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Scripture says, "He cried out", however, by the way its written, it is literally the Greek word for scream. Christ literally screamed, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" After six long hours, grueling hours of immeasurable agony, the three of them in total darkness, after six hours of feeling the fury of the wrath of God upon Him, as His sin bearing comes to a climactic end, He is strong enough to cry and express the sense of alienation He feels. Divine separation! For the first time in eternity He has been abandoned by God. 

Only Christ Himself would have known that!

Oh and by the way, for those of you who may have forgotten, or for those would question the Bibles authenticity or validity, this is the fulfillment of Psalm 22:1. This is the second Divine Miracle.

But how could this be? This is something that is incomprehensible. How can God possibly be separate from God? How can God the Trinity be divided? How can God the Father be divided from God the Son? How is it that God can forsake His own Son, when they are one in essence? All He had ever known was the most intimate communion with the Father, the eternal love of the Father. And now he is exposed to being treated by the Father as if the Father hated Him rather than loved Him. 

This is a strange miracle in which Jesus feels the Divine separation from God. 

Now let's look at verse 47, "And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Really? They knew better than that! Christ said, "Eli, Eli,"  which is the expression, My God, My God. They knew the name of God, Elohim, Eli! They would have known that with certainty! This was sarcasm! A malicious mockery...

"Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink." Sour wine, was a cheap wine diluted and used to quench the thirst of the very common people, probably the soldiers. 

In verse 49, "But the rest of them said, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him." 
They may as well have said, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him, Ha Ha Ha Ha!"
This strangely immense miracle, which is inexplicable to our finite minds, how God can forsake God? They think it’s laughable! Some sort of a joke.


How does one explain the inexplicable? This miracle of Divine Separation? I can only refer back to Psalm 22:1, and read exactly what you are also able to read.. 

So let's look at it again more closely. 

"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. 
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest. 

Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel."


And there is the answer we're searching for, right there in verse 3
"Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel."


It is because God is holy, He separates Himself from the sin bearer. 
God turns out the sun. He brings the darkness, and then He Himself, in some mysterious way, disappears.

We find the evidence of this in Habakkuk 1:13. "Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor."


But wait, that's not all! 
After six long grueling hours of agony, six hours into His crucifixion; He is still able to scream. It’s says kraxas, which literally means to scream. He’s not going to quietly, slowly fade away... No!
Our Lord is declaring His strength! Jesus and the writers of Scripture, are letting us know, just how strong Jesus is! He will not fade away, He will not die of exhaustion.  

"And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit." 
Matthew 27:50
 
At precisely the right time, after He had already said, "It is finished." John 19:30. He had already said, "Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit." Luke 23:46. Yet, when the time is right. He would yield up His spirit to the Father.

Jesus then yielded up His spirit to His accepting of His Father. His work was complete. The price was paid. God was satisfied. And Jesus sent His spirit out of His body, and He Himself went with it. He had previously said, no man takes My life from Me. I lay it down Myself. And that, is exactly what He did, when He knew that the Father was ready to receive Him, because the sin bearing work was finished and God was satisfied. He knew when the Father departed. He knew when He was forsaken. He knew when He was welcomed. 

God is not some passive bystander. He is not an indifferent onlooker, God is divinely active!
Active in turning out the sun, in forsaking His Son, active when He is satisfied with the payment for sin, and active in welcoming Him back. God is divinely active!

"And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split."
Matthew 27:50

The Holy of Holies, the temple is naos, had a barrier. This is symbolic of the fact that people were shut out of God’s presence. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, only one high priest, could go into the holy of holies, where the arch of the covenant was, and they would sprinkle blood on behalf of the nation for their sins on the mercy seat on the top of the arc. No one else could go in there. And so the high priest would go in there, wearing bells on his garment, so that if he had gone in there in any sense unclean and God had killed him, they would know he was dead because they wouldn’t hear the bells.

Now, after Jesus died on the cross, Almighty God Himself, ripped that curtain from top to bottom. He ripped it, because Jesus had done what no priest could ever do! Despite the modern day priests intrinsic claims. But upon the death of Jesus, God himself ripped the curtain wide open and the Holy of Holies was now open to all. And by the way, just for the record, it was 3:00 in the afternoon, on Passover, when the temple would have been overflowing with people.

In the blink of an eye, in one brief moment, the Holy of Holies that was previously forbidden, that no one, except for the one high priest, once a year, on the Day of Atonement had ever seen, was now completely exposed and open to everyone. Just like that! No more Day of Atonement. No more high priests. No more priests. No more sacrifices. No more barrier.

And by the way, the whole temple would soon be trampled by the pagan Romans, and to this day, never ever been rebuilt. Though, I have heard recent rumors, which I've not yet confirmed, that as of April 2020, there is speculation that the rabbi's of the Sanhedrin court has asked for plans to rebuild the Temple and that many Third Temple vessels and artifacts are being prepared. But again, I do not have confirmation or first hand knowledge of that..I do, however find, that if the information, were found to be verifiable and true, it would hold great interest, and significance for many Christians today.

One day in the future, God is going to shake the whole earth. There will be massive earthquakes described in the Book of Revelation, the likes of which no one could even comprehend. And finally, the disintegration of the world as we know it will occur. In verse 51, it reads, "the earth shook and the rocks were split," this was God giving people a preview of what is to come. Just as I believe He is doing with Covid-19. And so, once again, God is active, giving people a preview, a taste of the coming judgements, which are consistent with Jesus' words in Matthew 24.

And that brings me to yet one more miraculous display. God opens the tombs. Verse 52 and 53, which says, "The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many."

Beloved, I find this to be...astounding. This is so rich. The countless miracles surrounding the death of Christ are just absolutely overwhelming. Simultaneously, the Earth shakes and the rocks split, tombs start spitting out resurrected saints who have been given bodies.

Just one more thing, let's take one last look...
Look at verse 54, " Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”"

God Himself, in these divine miracles, was giving testimony to His Son, Jesus Christ.
No, God is no innocent bystander. God is no indifferent onlooker. While Christ is dying for God, God is affirming everything that is going on. God is affirming that this is a judgment on sin. God is forsaking the sin bearer because of His own holiness. God accepts Him back into His presence when His work is complete. God throws open His throne room for all who come by faith. And God warns of judgment for those who refuse to come and promises resurrection to those who do.

Beloved, the cross means something different to everyone who gazes upon it..
Now we have a better understanding of what the cross means to God the Father, God the Son
And now I ask, what does the cross mean to you?

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen
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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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