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What Happened at the Cross of Jesus?

45From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27:45-46).


Matthew quotes the prophetic psalm of King David, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 2:1). The Gospel writer ties the prophetic word to the words of Jesus on the cross. Let’s try to understand what took place at the cross of Christ: If you have read the Gospel accounts, one is struck by the majesty of the purest person ever to walk the Earth. Even those who were with Jesus, His disciples for three years, tell us that they never saw Jesus commit any sin (1 Peter 2:22). The Bible records that, apart from Jesus, there is not a man who has not sinned:has not sinned:


Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20, emphasis added).


How could Jesus be different from you and me and not sin? This was the very reason why He was born of a virgin. The Holy Spirit came on His mother, Mary, and she conceived differently from the rest of humanity. Jesus was 100% God but also 100% man. Adam, the one who first sinned, passed on to all of us this default in our nature to be disobedient to our Creator, what the Bible calls sin. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, God warned them about the following:


16And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die(Genesis 2:16-17).


The warning was about spiritual death, which is separation from God, and, of course, physical death too. After they ate the fruit, Adam and Eve did not fall dead, but something happened within their inner nature, their spirit, that made them hide from God when He came to enjoy their company (Genesis 3:8-10). Sin causes a barrier between God and us:


But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).

God has gone to extraordinary lengths to remove this barrier of sin that separates us from Him. He came to earth and was born of a virgin, so Adam's sinful nature was not passed to Him. He came to take upon Himself the payment of sin that we owed because of our sin. God cannot weigh some on the scales of justice and say one has done more good than another. The problem is more profound than that. All of us have sinned. There is not a person on earth who is good enough to live with a Holy God. The wage we receive for our life of sin is to be separated from God for eternity, which the Scriptures call death. But God, in His love for us, chose to come to earth and pay our penalty of sin Himself:

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them (2 Corinthians 2:19).


When Christ hung on the cross, He took our sins upon Himself, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The debt of sin that separated you and me from God was paid for at the cross. That was why He could shout a victory shout right at the point of death, "It is finished!” The Greek words translated into English as "It is finished" literally mean "Paid in full.” This is the Good News! The debt of your sin and mine has been paid! To become a Christian is to receive the full pardon for your sin paid for by Christ. Will you give your life to Him, believe the good news of your deliverance from the penalty of sin, and ask Him to come into your life? There's no better day than today. Keith Thomas 


If you are interested in Jesus's last words before He died on the cross, you may want to listen to the video teaching at this link: The Seven Sayings from the Cross.


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