See also Mark 15:21-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-37
1 Corinthians 15:3 (NET)
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”
Read Matthew 27:32-56
This is a familiar historical account for many therefore, this day we will focus on some of the statements Jesus made while on the cross. Using a red letter edition (so you can spot the statements quickly), look through the four gospels (passages listed above) and list the 7 statements Jesus made while on the cross.
1. Matthew 27:46
2. Luke 23:34
3. Luke 23:43
4. Luke 23:46
5. John 19:26
6. John 19:28
7. John 19:30
As you consider the culture, take a closer look at the first one listed in Matthew 27:46.
Take a second look at the statement Jesus made recorded in Matthew 27:46: “At about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
This passage has puzzled many for God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us and these words of Jesus suggest God had forsaken Christ, His very own Son, in His darkest hour. Was Jesus asking God why He had forsaken Him? The answer to the question is in Psalm 22.
Turn your Bible to Psalm 22. Note verse 1:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
It was not uncommon for Jewish people to quote the Psalms when in extreme situations much like we sing songs or quote verses to make us feel better when we are hurting. Rather than asking God why He had forsaken Him, perhaps Jesus was thinking through Psalm 22. Why the two languages (Hebrew and Aramaic)? Jesus, like all of His disciples was trilingual. As a child, he learned Aramaic and this would have been His first language. This was the everyday language of the Jewish people in the first century.
When He was 11 or 12, He and all the other Jewish boys of similar age in Galilee and in Judea would have been required to learn Hebrew. Then, as an adult, He had to learn Greek for everyday commercial events. The fact that He spoke in His first language gives evidence to the extreme stress He was under while on the cross. This was not a cry of defeat though; this was a declaration of victory as He quoted Psalm 22.i Dig Deeper
Take a closer look at Psalm 22. This is a lament psalm and follows the usual pattern for lament psalms. In lament psalms, the psalmist begins with a lament (such as why have you forsaken me) but quickly moves into a confession of trust (see vs. 3-5) and always ends with a vow of praise (see verses 22-31). Consider how in thinking through Psalm 22, Jesus was not questioning God’s faithfulness; He was declaring God’s victory:
“Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the Lord and turn to him!
All of the thriving people of the earth will join the celebration and worship;
all those who are descending into the grave will bow before him, including those who cannot preserve their lives.
Dig even deeper:
When time permits, read through Psalm 22 as a family and point out all the prophecies that were fulfilled on the cross. For example, Psalm 22:7 reads “All who see me taunt me; they mock me and shake their heads.” We read about this in Matthew 27:41.
Focus on the response of the centurion in Matthew 27:54. He saw all that had happened and exclaimed Jesus was indeed the Son of God. Interestingly (and significantly), this confession of faith did not come from a Jew, rather it came from a Gentile.
What is your response to today’s passage? Living the Christian life is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s culture. More and more Americans are becoming intolerant of Christ. First, do you believe like the centurion that Jesus is indeed the Son of God? Secondly, purpose as a family to share the truth about Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection with someone this weekend.
Pray with your family…
• Thank God for Christ and for Christ’s willingness to die on the cross out of His love for us.
• Ask God to bring into your path someone with whom you can share Jesus.
Compose a family Psalm of Praise to God. This is easier than you may think.
Just like lament psalms have a distinct pattern, psalms of praise also have a particular pattern you can follow as you compose your family Psalm of Praise. Use Psalms 100 and 117 as your example.
1. A summons to praise God: As a family, (and on a separate a separate piece of paper) write one or two lines commanding all to praise God. See 117:1 and 100:1-2.
2. Descriptive praise: Now, write lines that describe why God should be praised. He is the Creator of the universe. He is our Source of life. He is faithful. He is slow to anger and abounding in love. You can also see 100:3 and 117:2 for more examples. Write as many as your family can think of.
3. A renewed summons to praise God: Now, as seen in Psalm 100:4, write another couple of lines calling for people to praise God again.
4. Finish with the motivation for Praise - As demonstrated in 100:5, finish with some lines about why we want to praise God.
For a sample Psalm of Praise see Family Activity Sheet – Good Friday.