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Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 KJV)

Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1  as He took  His last breaths on the cross, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.”  The ESV Study Bible states these words are some of the “most profoundly mysterious words in the entire Bible.” This mystery hides behind the meaning and implication of those words spoken by the Son of God, the God-Man.

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” is Aramaic language. Some scholars think the first two words — “Eli, Eli”– could be either Aramaic or Hebrew. Whatever the case, Mathew gives the meaning of the words as he wrote in Greek to his audience, stating, “that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”. Therefore, Jesus experienced abandonment by God and asked the “why” question, “why has thou forsaken me?”.

Before this cry of abandonment, there was unexpected 3-hour darkness from noon to 3 pm as Jesus hung on the cross. This was no ordinary darkness. It was a mysterious physical expression of spiritual realities: sin was moving from sinners to the Son of God on the cross who carried not only sins but became sin itself. Furthermore, this abandonment is more than God not helping or rescuing Jesus from His trouble. It was a rupture of an eternal fellowship Jesus had with His Father. The Father turned His face from His Son,  who bore the sins of the world.

Jesus, amid great suffering and agony, asked God why, though He knew well the reason He came on the earth. Mysteries indeed abound in this verse. However, Jesus was abandoned so that we could be received in fellowship forever!

Read more: The mystery of the substitution.

Meditate

What does “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” mean? What is the difference between Hebrew and Aramaic? ( Not sure, do a quick online search!).

Apply the Word

Imagine all the sins of the world—all the murder, hatred, sexual immorality, lies, witchcraft, rebellion, etc. — put on the head of one person.  Our forgiveness is free to us, but it was costly to Christ.  Cherish it and be grateful. 

Pray

Thank the Lord for sacrificing Himself for us to be the righteousness of God.

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