The Magnitude of Jesus’ Death
“My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Psalm 22:1
Hagar in Genesis 21:16 turned away her face from the lad Ishmael and said, “Let me not see the death of the child.” At Calvary, God turned away His face from His only Son. So much did the Lord Jesus feel the forsaking of God, that the dreadful midnight darkness at midday was rent by His cry, “My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?” The holy Sufferer upon the cross felt His abandonment by God yet at the same time traced it to the holiness of God, “But Thou art holy.” Not that the One left alone in the darkness was not Himself holy. He was holy, harmless, undefiled. Peter recounting Calvary declared “but ye denied the Holy One and the Just … and killed the Prince of life.”
In the darkness of those lonely hours, the terrors of the Almighty fell in wrathful affliction on the pure, holy, spotless Son of God when He was “made sin for us.” Who can measure the depths of His felt humiliation at Calvary when He cried, “But I am a worm and no man”? There we see Him crushed beneath our load of sin.
His enemies stood round Him strong and menacing. The assembly of the wicked enclosed Him, as strong bulls with horns encircling the cross, as lions ready to tear and rend, and as ravenous, unclean dogs. With malicious delight they feasted their eyes on Him; The cruelty of that scene fed their warped minds and hate filled their wicked hearts.
The Malevolence of Jesus’ Enemies
Up until this hour the Lord Jesus had passed through the midst of His enemies unharmed; the stones that they picked up to cast at Him clave to their murderous hands. But now, it was “their hour” and every element of evil was flung upon Him, the floods rolled in on Him, and the utmost fury of men broke upon that one solitary Man, the Hind of the Morning. In the midst of unrestrained evil, the unspeakable enmity of men, the malignity of the devil, and the awful, evil spiritual powers in rebellion against God, He was the infinite expression of God’s love to men. How dark was that hour! We are permitted to hear His cry, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; … Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death … Deliver My soul. Save Me.”
All the weaponry found in the armory of evil was brought against Him. Having exhausted every device of their almost boundless malice and exhausted themselves in their fury against Him, “they sat down and watched Him there.” One poor, lonely Man, despised by the people, abandoned by His friends, and forsaken of God, yet the darkness and shame of His surroundings at Calvary only throw into brighter relief the glory of His person. Jesus, Who was numbered with the transgressors, prayed for His enemies and bore the sin of many. “Alone He bore the cross, alone its grief sustained; His was the shame and loss, and He the victory gained.” How incomparable the dignity of the holy Sufferer amid the shame of the cross! How triumphant the word, “Finished!” before He gave up His life! The will of God was accomplished, the forces of evil vanquished.
“All the way to Calvary
He went for me.”