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The Cry of Mystery

The Father's love is with us in our darkest hours, just as it was with Jesus in his darkest hour.

Text: Matthew 27:39–49
Topic: The meaning of the fourth word of Jesus from the cross, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"


The cathedral in Dijon, France, is not a particularly impressive one. I remember it because there is a statue of an angel at the foot of the pulpit. In one hand the angel has a pen, in the other hand a tablet, and the face of the winsome being is directed toward the pulpit. It is obvious that the angel is writing down what he hears preached from that place.

I begin today by saying that I hope no angel is taking notes, because I want to think with you on our Lord's fourth word from the cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

This is an incredibly deep and profound word. When I contemplate it, the words of the Samaritan woman come immediately to my mind, "Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep." This, you see, is the cry of mystery.

When I was a senior in seminary, I listed eight texts of Scripture on which I pledged myself not to preach until I had been in the ministry for at least 20 years. I've now been in the ministry for 26 years, and this is the first time that I approach this, one of those eight texts. I ask you to search it with me now.

But even as we go to the searching, I say again, the well is deep, and I have nothing with which to draw.

As we approach the Word, we have to remind ourselves of the concentric nature of what Jesus said from the cross. His first word, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," was as wide as all mankind. Jesus drew a circle that included everyone who has ever lived. His prayer was that God would withhold judgment until all of the children of men had repented and come to him. The circle could be no ...

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I. The Fourth Word was motivated by the physical and mental agony of Christ

II. The Fourth Word is a commentary on the magnitude of sin

III. The Fourth Word is an echo of Psalm 22

IV. The Fourth Word expresses assurance, not despair