The Cries From The Cross
Gen. James Green
J UST BEFORE the death of Jesus upon the Cross, the Bible records Jesus’ cries:
1) The cry of desolation, Mark 15:34:
“AND AT the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, my God, why hath thou forsaken Me?’”
Matthew 27:46 reads the same. The sufferings of Christ Jesus were great! It is said that these words mark the climax of the sufferings of Christ for a LOST world. His cry in Aramaic, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?,” testifies that Jesus experienced separation from His Father as the sinner’s substitute. Here the sorrow, grief, and intense pain are at their worst. He is wounded for our transgressions, as Isa. 53:5 says, and gives Himself a “ransom for many” (see Mt. 20:28) —“ransom.” This word conveys the meaning of a price paid to obtain the freedom (salvation) of others. In the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ, His death is the price PAID for the RELEASE of men, women, boys, and girls from sin’s domination and damnation. FREED!! The release is from condemnation (see Rom. 3:25, 26), sin (see Eph. 1:7), and death (Rom. 8:2). The word “many” is used in the sense of “all people” (—races, 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Rom. 3:25 says, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission (forgiveness) of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”
You see, Jesus’ blood (not tainted by sin!) is able to cleanse ALL SIN; shedding His blood as a sacrifice (blameless lamb of God) means giving His physical life (1 Cor. 5:7; Eph. 5:2); It was vicarious, He died for the LOST (see Rom. 5:8; 8:32; Mk. 10:45; Eph. 5:2); It was substitutionary, i.e., He suffered death (as a man) as the penalty for my sin, and your sin, as our substitute (Rom. 6:23); It was propitiatory, which means that His death removed God’s (His Father’s) Wrath (He hates SIN!!!) against us. But in order for any soul to benefit from this, they have to repent of their sins and ask forgiveness. So, “propitiation” takes away the Father’s wrath toward the lost, for “God was in Christ, reconciling the (lost) world unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19, see also Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 8:3, 32; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:4-6). It was expiatory, i.e., a sacrifice to atone (make reparation for sin). As expiation, the sacrifice is directed towards annulling guilt (all are guilty because of our first patents—Adam and Eve—who sinned...and that sin is passed upon all generations); It was victorious, i.e., Christ won the WAR against the devil. His death was the initial victory over the spiritual enemies of both God and mankind (Rom. 8:3; Jn. 12:31, 32; Col. 2:15). Therefore, Jesus’ death is also redemptive. By the ransom of His own (physical) life (1 Pet. 1:18, 19), He LIBERATED us from the demonic forces that have a DEATH GRIP on all human beings (Rom. 6:6), making us FREE (through repentance) to serve God (Rom. 6:18).
Consider all the above things. These are available to ALL potentially, but only in reality for individuals who by “faith” accept Jesus Christ and His death/life for them.
NO OTHER PERSON was born sinless. Not one! Him who knew no sin, God makes “to be sin for us,” as 2 Cor. 5:21 states. Jesus made this claim for Himself in John 8:46 when He asked, “which of you convinceth Me of sin?...”
Being made sin for the sinner throws some light on the tragic cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” You see, SIN separates the lost from the Living God. I believe He felt this great separation upon the Cross.
Some translations read Mark 15:34 differently. The Peshitta, the authorized Bible of the Church of the East reads: “…My God, My God, for this I was spared!” The two words before this—“which means”—as the footnote tells us, is used by Mark to explain translation from one Aramaic dialect to another. I heard this taught years ago…no matter, Jesus did experience total “separation” from God because of the sins of the world He took upon Himself…for you, and I, and every sinner. Folks, this is true, genuine love at its best!
2) The Cry of Physical Anguish
JOHN 19:28 reads: “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled (see Ps. 69:21), saith, ‘I thirst.’”
John 13:1 states that “Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world. He loved them unto the end.”
Jesus knew that His death was close; He here is fully conscious (19:28), KNOWING of the meaning of His atoning death. John sees the physical thirst of Jesus (Ps. 69:21) in Scriptures. Jesus, of course, did not make the outcry in any mechanical way. It is said that thirst is a severe agony of crucifixion. Hebrews 2:10 and 5:7 tell us, “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect (complete) through sufferings;” “who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.”
Verse 8 reads:
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” We can’t take this to mean that Jesus was at some point disobedient. He learned by experiencing the suffering, the cost, and hardship that often resulted from faithful obedience to the Father (see Heb. 12:2; Isa. 50:4-6; Phil. 2:8). Hebrews 5, verse 9, says that Jesus became a “perfect” Savior and high priest BECAUSE of His earthly, physical sufferings. Therefore, “…He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” Note that word OBEY! We do not receive eternal salvation unless we first confess/repent of our sins; we do not keep eternal salvation unless we continue on in obedience. There is no such thing as “once saved, always saved” (write for our trilogy by the same title).
The eternal salvation—available to ALL—is contingent upon our obedience to Him and His Word through faith. The faith that saves is an obedient faith (see Jn. 8:31; Rom. 1:5; 16:26; James 2:17-26).
3) The Cry of Victory!
JOHN 19:30 states, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished!’: and He bowed his head and gave up the (Holy) Ghost.” It was FINISHED!! His sufferings in providing redemption/salvation for LOST humankind was over, completed. He bare the punishment for our sins and opened the way of eternal salvation for ALL who will call upon His name: “…that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall BE SAVED” (Acts 2:21). Acts 2:38 instructs us to, “REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of sins…”
Each believer, after repenting and accepting Jesus Christ (by faith), received the gift of eternal salvation (see our magazine on Eternal Salvation—free).
“It is Finished”—A CRY of VICTORY in the hour of DEFEAT (Jn. 16:33 tells us, “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” This was spoken BEFORE His crucifixion. What a testimony. Chapter 17 is Christ’s prayer to be glorified… “I have finished the work which Thou (the Father) gavest Me to do” (v. 4). Then He begins to pray for his disciples (vs. 6-19) ending His prayer with those who will become future believers (vs. 20-26).
Friends, joining a Church will not save you. There are so many artificial ways to become a believer these days. But the ONLY TRUE WAY is to confess your sins and repent of the same. Receive Christ into your heart—to be both savior and Lord (Master). Church meetings, seminars, conferences, etc. may be of some help, but will never take the place of good old fashioned repentance…and continuing in His Word (see Lk. 14:26, 27; Jn. 8:31).
YES, CONTINUE! Some think that initial salvation is all that is needed.
Christ made it plain to the (converted) Jews, “If ye CONTINUE in my Word, then are ye My disciples indeed” (Jn. 8:31). This verse is the perfect example of conditional syllogism with an “if-then” statement. The “if” clause is called the antecedent, and the “then” clause is called the consequent. The basic unit of reasoning in formal argument is the syllogism, a structure consisting of two premises and a conclusion.
Here in John 8:31, Jesus never encouraged His disciples to place confidence in the mere fact of past faith or experience. It is only as we CONTINUE in His Word that we receive that confidence in eternal salvation that is wanted. True disciples CONTINUE to OBEY the Bible (the best they can).
Too many Churchites of today believe “once in grace, always in grace.” This is FALSE! Take what Jesus says in John 15:1-6, where He gives us a clear understanding of what it means to “abide in Christ” and “abide not in Christ.” Verse 6 reads: “If a man abide not in me (“then” is implied here), he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” So, our “abiding,” or “continuing,” is contingent on “obedience.” We may have at one time invited Christ into our lives, but it goes much deeper—we must CONTINUE to KEEP HIM there (as Lord).
Christ did not teach “once in the vine, always in the vine.” Verse 6 is unmistakably clear. He makes it very clear that “continuing” is the ONLY way to remain saved. How many today, even Churchites, have turned away, yet they still think they are saved? Our past experience (of salvation) is no guarantee for future glory. OUR CURRENT RELATIONSHIP IS WHAT REALLY COUNTS.
This thing works two ways:
A. Abiding in Christ, which results in
B. Jesus’ continued indwelling (John 15:4).
The consequence of failure to abide in Him results in being cast into the fire.
Note also verse 14: “Ye are My friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.” “That sounds too HARSH and UNLOVING,” you say. So what!? It is true nonetheless. The (Greek) literal translation reads, “if you keep on doing” ...not just spasmodic obedience. We stop!, we die!
JUST BEFORE His death on the Cross, Jesus, “cried with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit,’ and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Lk. 23:46). Both the cries, “It is finished,” and “Father into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” signified THE END and THE NEW BEGINNING. The debt for fallen men and women had been paid, eternal salvation secured.
If you have never accepted Jesus’ free gift, now is the time. Be “born again” (Jn. 3:3), or “anew.” Our first birth was into a world of sin; this second birth is into the Spirit (from above). Although God loves the (lost) world, he cannot receive unrepentant sinners into His Kingdom. Repentance is the key that unlocks the Kingdom door.