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29/07/2009 / Test All Things

A Study Of Matthew 27:45-46

We are going to look at what happened at Golgotha. To make a long story short, the Lord Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin, He was falsely accused of blasphemy, and He was brought before Pilate who under pressure from the Jews condemned Him to death. Then He was led to the hill called Golgotha to be crucified. We read in Matthew 27:

Matthew 27:33
And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

Matthew 27:34
They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

Now drop down to verse 45. And there we read that:

There Was Darkness over all the land. (Matthew 27:45)

Matthew 27:45
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

Matthew wrote in Hebrew time; so there was darkness from about 12 O’clock till about 3 O’clock in the afternoon. This darkness could not have been a sun eclipse, because this was the time of full moon. This was a miraculous darkness.

What was the message that God intended to convey through this miracle?

There are at least 13 different words for “darkness” in the Bible. But this particular Greek word is always associated with the darkness of the kingdom of Satan and the darkness of Hell.

Several times did the Lord Jesus say, when He was referring to Hell, that someone would be “cast into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

In the Garden of Gethsemane when the temple servants were capturing Jesus, He said: “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness”.

God speaks about “the rulers of the darkness of this world”, and “He has delivered us from the power of darkness”. All these verses use the same Greek word for “darkness”. This word “darkness” has Satanic and hellish overtones.

Why did God create these three hours of darkness?

There are at least two reasons.

First: The Lord Jesus hung on the cross. He had left His disciples, because He had to pay for our sins alone. The Shepherd had to leave His flock in a world that was dominated by Satan. Temporarily His flock was without a Shepherd, His church was without a federal head, within a world where Satan is the prince of the power of the air. Therefore “there was darkness over all the land”. All the land was in the iron grip of Satan. People indwelt by Satan were instrumental in bringing the Lord Jesus on the cross.

Secondly: The Lord Jesus Christ had to suffer the equivalent of the torments of Hell in our place. He hung on the cross, indicating that He was under the curse of God, “for it is written: Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree”.

That is why the cry is wrenched from His lips:

Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani (Matthew 27:46).

We read in verse 46,

Matthew 27:46
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?

We cannot fully understand the meaning behind these words. The Lord Jesus is God. The Father is also God, yet there is one God.

How is it that God was forsaking God?

We read in Isaiah 53:10 “Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin”. From this we know that the Lord Jesus not only suffered in His body, but also in His Soul, or in His Spirit. Normally Jesus prayed to the Father. When His disciples asked Him: “Lord, teach us to pray”, He said to them: “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven”.

Always our prayers should be addressed to the Father. But here on the cross the Lord Jesus prayed: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Has the Father truly forsaken Him?

Has the Lord Jesus been separated from God, temporarily?

We know that to be in Hell is to be separated from God. Hell is much more than separation from God. But in this prayer of Jesus again God points to the fact that Jesus suffered in His body as well as in His Soul the torments of Hell.

Why did the Lord Jesus have to suffer so much?

The Bible says that before the foundation of the world God chose a people for Himself out of this miserable mess of mankind. Then God placed in Christ all those whom He had chosen, and these are the ones for whom the Lord Jesus suffered and died. We were in Him. That is why He could substitute for us. That is why Jesus could take our sins upon Himself, because when He took on a human body He became our nearest Kinsman. Like Boaz was the nearest kinsman of Elimelech, and therefore Boaz was eligible to reverse the sin of Elimelech of selling his inheritance, and Boaz was able to pay the full price to bring the inheritance back into the family of Elimelech, so the Lord Jesus Christ is our nearest kinsman, and the Lord Jesus was eligible to bring back the inheritance which we lost in Adam. But it requires that the Lord Jesus pay the full price for the inheritance that we lost.

What did we loose?

Before Adam sinned, Adam was able to commune with God because he was righteous in the sight of God. We lost our righteousness when Adam sinned, and when we sinned we only made it worse. The stain of sins has to be removed from our souls.

The only One who is eligible to do that is the Lord Jesus Christ, because He is the perfect High priest who can intercede for us to God. But is He able to pay the full price?

The wages of sin is death, and the death that God has in view is an eternity in Hell. Yes, the Lord Jesus is also able to pay the full price, because He is also God. He, as the Lamb of God, could offer Himself as the perfect Atonement for our sins, and suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, which is the full payment for our sins. To be our Savior, He had to be God. But that is why He cried: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

This was the time of His most intense suffering. As soon as He said this the flame is already beginning to abate. Only one more incident and one more insult, and then the victory is His.

In John chapter 19, we read that:

All Things Were Now Accomplished (John 19:28)

In John 19:28 we arrive at almost the same point in time where we left off in Matthew. John does not record the cry of agony of the Lord Jesus, probably because it was already recorded in the other three narrative Gospels. Since John’s Gospel was written much later than the other three, John tends to address more the errors in the early church. We read in John 19:28,

John 19:28
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

John 19:29
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

When did Jesus finish paying for our sins?

Was it when He said: “I thirst”, or was it when He said: “It is finished”?

It was when He said: “It is finished”; that is when He really finished to endure all that He had to endure.

But in verse 28 we read: “Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished”.

This means that Jesus knew that He had endured all that He had to endure for our sins. He had reached the end of the tunnel. He is now certain of the victory.

How did John know what Jesus was thinking?

Jesus did not tell anyone there at the cross, and neither did He tell anyone later.

How could the Apostle John know what Jesus was thinking at that moment?

God must have revealed it to him. We must remember that the Bible was not written by man’s hands, but “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”.

There was one more Scripture to fulfill and there was one more insult that Christ had to endure. That is why He said: “I thirst”. Six hours earlier Jesus refused to drink, because He still had to endure the full amount of suffering that was reserved for Him. But now he had completed the suffering in His Soul, and now He knew for a certainty that He came to the end of His suffering.

I Thirst (John 19:29)

The Lord Jesus said this to fulfill the prophecy stated in Psalm 69:21. Now that His sufferings for our sins were over, He was allowed to drink. Let’s now take a close look at what God wrote in Psalm 69:21,

Psalm 69:21
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Therefore we read in John 19:29,

John 19:29
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

To fulfill prophecy Jesus drank the vinegar. Jesus did not eat or drink anything since His last supper with the Disciples on Thursday evening.

Was He thirsty?

Most likely!

But that is not the reason why God put this in the Bible. God put these words in the Bible to make us realize how tragic this event was.

Was the Maker of heaven and earth hanging there with parched lips?

Was the Lord of glory in need of a drink?

Was the Beloved of the Father crying: “I Thirst”?

The fact that this was recorded in the Old Testament 1000 years earlier is convincing evidence that the Bible was written by God.

How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!

I would like to bring up two more reasons why God put these words in the Bible. Firstly, here we have one of the evidences of the humanity of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus was very God of very God, but He was also very man of very man. God says in 1 Timothy 3:16,

1 Timothy 3:16
Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh.

The Lord Jesus was the God-man. He bore the perfect union of these two natures in one person. He is forever God, and now He also is forever man. In His incarnation He took that which He had not before: Perfect humanity. And now He cried: “I thirst”. That is an evidence of His humanity. God does not thirst. The angels do not thirst. And the saints in glory do not thirst any more. But we thirst now because we are human beings and are living in a world of sorrow.

Secondly, His “thirst” was the effect of the agony of His Soul in the fierce heat of God’s wrath. His “thirst” plainly expresses His eagerness for communion with God again, from whom He was separated since Thursday evening. If you check out this Greek word translated “thirst” you will notice that in almost all the occurrences of this verb a spiritual meaning is intended. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount the Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness”.

To the Samaritan woman the Lord Jesus said: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst “.

To the Jews who wanted to crown Him king the Lord Jesus said: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst “.

It is the same Greek word in all these cases. And then we read in John 19:30,

It Is Finished (John 19:30)

John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke we read that Jesus said this with a loud voice. When Jesus said: “It is finished”, He did not mean to say to His disciples: “Well, it’s all over guys. I did my best, but it did not pan out. You can go home now.”

Not at all!

When Jesus cried out with a loud voice: “It is finished”, it was a cry of victory!

What was finished?

He finished paying for all the sins of all those whom He came to save. He is the Savior who is mighty to save. He called it out with a loud voice so that everyone standing there could clearly hear the voice of victory. The Law was fulfilled as never before, and it will never again be fulfilled like this. “So Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many”.

Never again will Christ, or anyone else, have to suffer a substitutionary atonement for the sins of others. Christ was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”. The Messianic prophecy is accomplished. Redemption is completed. “He has finished the transgression, and made an end of sins, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and sealed up the vision and prophecy, and anointed a most holy of holies.”

He has taken down the scaffolding of the Old Testament church, and He has announced the birth of the New Testament church. No longer are the saints looking forward to the coming Messiah, but now the saints look back to the Messiah who has already come and has shed His blood for their sins. Never again will there be a blood sacrifice, because Christ’s blood sacrifice is the ultimate blood sacrifice, which cannot be added onto. The Lord Jesus said: “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”. Once this ransom has been paid, let no man add there onto.

The Lord Jesus uttered this cry of victory with a loud voice. He was still very much alive. He did not die because He was exhausted. He did not die because the payment for our sins had worn Him out. The payment for our sins was done primarily in His Soul, which is the Spirit He already had before He came to this earth. Therefore the Lord Jesus said in John 10:17-18,

John 10:17
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

John 10:18
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Clearly the Lord Jesus says in verse 17: “I lay down my life, that I might take it again”. And in case you have missed it, Jesus repeats it in verse 18: “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself”. Therefore, when Jesus died He laid down His life of His own accord, and not because He was exhausted, or worn out.

Jesus Gave Up the Ghost (Luke 23:44-46)

After the Lord Jesus said: “It is finished”, He had one more thing to say. This is recorded only in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 23. We have here a condensed version of the events that happened, because Dr Luke focuses on other aspects of the crucifixion. We read in Luke 23:44,

Luke 23:44
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

Luke 23:45
And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Luke 23:46
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

The sun was darkened, so there was darkness over all the earth for three hours. Then Jesus said: “Father”. He said, “Father”, because the wrath of God has been removed from Him. His Soul has emerged from its mysterious horrors. His bond with the Father had been restored. He said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”. The Lord Jesus laid down His life, in order that He might take it again two days later, on Sunday morning. And it is comforting for us to know that these words of our Savior were also recorded 1000 years earlier, through the hand of David, in Psalm 31:5,

Psalm 31:5
Into thine hand I commit my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

Therefore we have great confidence in the Word of God, because it has been proven accurate. Voluntarily had the Lord Jesus delivered Himself into the hands of sinners, as He said He would, and now voluntarily does the Lord Jesus deliver His Spirit into the hands of the Father. What a blessed contrast. Never again will He be in the hands of men. Into the hands of the Father does He now commit Himself, and now the Father will look after His interests.

After the Lord Jesus died the veil in the temple was rent in the midst, from the top to the bottom. The Holy of Holies was now exposed. The place where God dwelt in the Old Testament days is now accessible by anyone, through the tear in the veil.

What is the meaning of that?

Everytime we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are celebrating the tearing of the veil in the temple. In order to see this, we have to learn from Hebrews 10 what the veil represents.

The Lord Jesus is:

Our Great High Priest (Hebrews 10:19-23)

We already know that, but now we can read it in Hebrews 10:19-23,

Hebrews 10:19
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Hebrews 10:20
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Hebrews 10:21
And having an high priest over the house of God;

Hebrews 10:22
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised;

First of all, God says that we must enter boldly into the holiest place, the place where God resides, because we enter not with the blood of a goat or the blood of a bullock, but we enter by the blood of Jesus, lit: in the blood of Jesus. It is as if Jesus as the High Priest entered behind the veil carrying His own blood, and we are represented in that blood, since we have been crucified with Christ.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

And why can we come boldly to the throne of grace?

Because we are entering by a new and living way, which Christ has dedicated, or consecrated for us, through His flesh. Yes indeed, the veil in the Old Testament. temple represented His flesh. His flesh was torn for us with the nails through His hands and His feet and with the crown of thorns on His head, and with the lacerations on His back. The Bible says: “With His stripes we are healed”. Therefore, we have a High Priest over the house of God. If the Lord Jesus Christ on Golgotha has paid for our sins, then we belong to the household of God. Therefore, God says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith”. Come boldly to the throne of grace, pleading for mercy, but with a heart in full assurance of faith. We do not waver, or hesitate, in drawing near to the throne of grace, because we have our hearts sprinkled, or washed, from the evil conscience with which we were born.

When we partake of the elements of the communion service, we symbolically partake of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial to remember that Christ on the cross had His flesh torn and had His blood shed for a complete remission for all our sins. Therefore it is a memorial to the event that the veil in the temple was torn, because the veil represented His flesh. We have access to the throne of God through the torn body and blood of Christ. We have access to the throne of God through the veil.

Therefore, let us hold fast the profession of our faith. Let us hold fast to those things we have learned from the Bible. Let us hold fast that the Atonement of the Lord Jesus was entirely a gift of grace, and let us hold fast that His work on the cross was sufficient to atone for all our sins. We cannot do anything to earn our salvation. It was all a gift of grace.

The question is: Have we indeed received this gift of grace?

Can it be seen in our life and in our lifestyle?

Has the conviction of our heart been translated to a life that is given over to serving the Lord Jesus with all our heart, and with all our mind and with all our might, every day, every hour of the day?

If this is really so, then let us approach the table of the Lord with a heart full of rejoicing and gratitude.


By Alfred J. Chompff


One Comment

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  1. Lori / May 5 2017 8:52 pm

    Thank you for your beautiful words spoken on these verses!! Your explanation is wonderful

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