We are now at Golgotha, the place of the skulls, the hill upon which Jesus was crucified. Consistent with His ministry and instructions, Jesus’ final words were words revealing the word of redemption, and of comfort and instruction and faith and forgiveness.
The biblical text records 7 sayings of Jesus while hanging on the cross. This was historically the first.
- “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34
What it means: Bystanders thought Jesus was calling for Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, from the cross. But really this comment is a callback to Psalm 22.
In this Psalm, David recognizes the holiness of God, just as Jesus is doing from the cross. “God cannot even look upon evil,” Graham explained in his 1985 sermon. “In that terrible moment … He was lonely, forsaken by His friends, and then a shadow comes for the first time since eternity began between God the Father and God the Son because God cannot look upon sin. In that moment [God] was laying your sins and mine on Christ. And Christ was suffering for us. In that mysterious moment, He was made to be sin for us Who knew no sin.”
Why it matters: During his 33 years on earth, Jesus had never known sin. He never told a lie or had an evil thought. “All of a sudden, all of that filth and dirt from your life and my life descended on Him and none of us will ever understand the mystery of that moment.
The heart of redemption is seen in part by these words. ‘God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21.