Matthew 27:38-44

Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

As if being brutally whipped, beaten and nailed to a cross weren’t enough, Jesus had hours of pain before He died.  And some of those He was dying for, stood around and mocked him.  “He saved others… but he can’t save himself!”  And what I believe is the worst, “He trusts in God.  Led God rescue him now if he wants him.  Jesus was human.  Is this one reason He cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

When we are going through difficult, painful times, we often feel forsaken by God.  We are not.  But God understands.

But, Jesus wasn’t just crying out that He felt forsaken.  He was quoting Psalm 22.  Verses 1-5 read,

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?

My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.

In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

No matter what our trials are, we can trust in Him and not be put to shame.

Matthew 27:50-54 

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

I love that the thick curtain in the temple, separating the Holy of Holies – with the Ark of the Covenant, His Presence, and the Mercy Seat –  from the people, was torn in two FROM TOP TO BOTTOM.  It’s as if Father God was saying, “Finally, I can be with my people.  This separation is not wanted … or needed anymore.”

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