REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches, is an updated version of his blog first posted on April 18, 2014. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Day When God the Father Did Not Answer”
At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the night hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
I am not entirely sure how or why this is the case, but our society has a picture of how a hero is supposed to act when he is being tortured by his enemies. So for example, in the 1995 film Braveheart, the hero William Wallace, refuses to take a pain relieving narcotic for fear that it would numb his mind, which might in turn allow him to give into pain and cry out, thus giving his enemy the satisfaction of knowing that his spirit had been broken. So when Wallace is tortured to death, but does not cry out, except to yell, “Freedom!”, the audience is meant to feel that he won.
Why I bring this up is that some critics of Christianity will often point to Mark 15:34 to argue that Jesus was not the Son of God, because God would not cry out like this. (For the record, in Matt 27:34, Jesus did reject a wine and gall mixture sedative, presumably to experience the fullness of physical suffering and crucifixion.) Other skeptics believe it impossible for God the Father to reject God the Son (how can God turn away from God?). The truth is that this verse has baffled Christians and non-Christians a like for centuries. From my perspective, 2 Cor 5:21 sums it up, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” I believe that for a brief moment in history, when Christ bore all of our sins in his body, the Holy Father, who cannot stand sin, did in fact, turn away from his Son.
Now separation from the Father may not seem a big deal to the modern reader, as many of us probably prefer times of solitude. But remember the Triune God is never alone; before time began, they have always enjoyed perfect fellowship with each other. This spiritual separation was a new and terrifying experience for the Lord; I believe it is this rejection that caused the Son to cry out as he did. I enjoyed how The Jesus Storybook Bible put it, “’Papa?’ Jesus cried, frantically searching the sky. ‘Papa? Where are you? Don’t leave me!’ And for the first time – and the last – when he spoke, nothing happened. Just a horrible, endless silence. God didn’t answer. He turned away from his Boy.”
It is only because of the incarnation that the all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal Son could experience anything “new” like pain, suffering, and separation from God. And the reason he would go through all this is because we needed it. Please reflect on the cross today; please repent of the sin you could not fix yourself and thank Christ for his sacrifice.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the cross of Jesus Christ. Help me this day to reflect on Your great love and great sacrifice. Let me never think that Your sacrifice was easy or cost You nothing. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 5
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 9:22-28: Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Questions to Consider
- In Matt. 27:51, we are given this tidbit of information, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” Why is this detail significant?
- How are Christ’s sacrifices and animal sacrifices similar and different?
- From a day-to-day standpoint, what are some ramifications of Christ’s once and for all sacrifice?
- The temple curtain separated the holy place from the most holy place (thought to be resting place of God). Only the high priest was allowed in the most holy place and only once a year (Heb 9:7); so, the average person did not have direct access to God. When Christ died, all were allowed direct access to the Father.
- The similarity is that they were both blood sacrifices. However, Christ’s sacrifice was a one-time, permanent, and totally effective sacrifice to appease God’s hatred of sin, forever. Previous animal sacrifices were repeated and only meant to symbolize the coming sacrifice of the Son.
- The once and for all nature of Christ’s sacrifice means that he died for all of our sins, past, present, and future. Unfortunately, some Christians continue to live in guilt, practically living as if Christ needs to die again and again for the sins they cannot break. This is just not true.
Have you had a chance to reflect on the cross today? Without trying to make yourself feel guilty, do you understand the depth of your sinfulness and your need for grace? Are you thankful that Christ chose the cross, so that you can have a relationship with the Triune God?