Father & Son At Calvary
In recent weeks we have considered various people who were closely associated with Jesus in the time leading up to his arrest.
§ Mary [26:6]; the disciples in Gethsemane [26:36]; the betrayal by Judas Iscariot [26:24]; the denial by Peter [26:69].
‘Not until we understand his abandonment by the God and Father whose immanence and closeness he had proclaimed in a unique, gracious and festive way, can we understand what was distinctive about his death. Just as there was a unique fellowship with God in his life and preaching, so in his death there was a unique abandonment by God’.
- THE FATHER-SON RELATIONSHIP
1. The Relationship
The relationship between the Father and the Son:
a. The Eternal Relationship
The Son was always the delight of the Father: “I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him” [Pro.8:30].
§ The closeness: “the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father…” [Joh.1:18].
§ The public proclamation: “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” [4:17].
2. The Duties of Mediator
The duties given to the Son: “the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life as a ransom for many” [20:28].
§ The path of duty: “the Son of man shall be betrayed…mock, scourge, and crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again” [20:18-19].
Jesus began his ministry after a display of faithfulness: “man shall not live by bread alone…” [4:4];
§ The life of faithfulness: “my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” [Joh.4:34].
§ The rebuke of Peter: “Get thee behind me, Satan, for you do not favour…” [16:23].
§ The garden of Gethsemane: “nevertheless, not as I will but as you will” [26:39].
§ Faithful up to the end: “rise, let us be going…” [26:46].
3. The Behaviour
The Son’s whole life was lived in harmony with the loving relationship of the Father:
a. Prayer to the Father
This harmony is evident in the prayer life of the Son: “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that you hear me always…” [Joh.11:41].
§ He prayed in times of great need: “he fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible…” [26:39].
§ He taught the disciples to pray in the same way: “Our Father which art in heaven…” [6:9].
The life and experience of Jesus was one of complete harmony with the Father
§ During the thirty and three years the Son had been on earth he enjoyed unbroken communion with the Father. Never a thought that was out of harmony with the Father’s mind, never a volition but what originated in the Father’s will, never a moment spent out of his conscious presence.
§ The relationship of fellowship and light: “if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…” [1Joh.1:7].
- THE UNEXPECTED CHANGE
1. The Cross
a. The Darkness
i. The Duration
The midday darkness: “from the sixth hour there was darkness…” [27:45].
§ ἕκτης ὥρας - “sixth hour” [27:45], ‘sixth hour of the day is noon’;
§ ὥρας ἐνάτης - “ninth hour” [27:45],
§ σκότος - “darkness” [27:45], ‘physical darkness’; ‘absence of light’;
ii. The Extent
The extent of the darkness: “over all the land…” [27:45].
§ ἐγένετο – “there was” [27:45], aorist middle indicative, ‘to come to exist, happen’;
§ ἐπὶ - “over” [27:45], emphasising motion and direction, ‘on, to place on’;
§ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν - “all the land” [27:45], ‘surface of the whole earth’; ‘each individual in a class’; ‘everything belonging to a class’; the phrase could mean ‘over the whole earth’ but it more likely means ‘the whole of the land of Israel’;
§ Matthew is probably mindful of the darkness mentioned in Exodus: “Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt” [Exo.10:21];
b. Darkness in Scripture
The idea of darkness in Scripture is in the context of chaos and judgement:
§ The initial chaos: “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep…” [Gen.1:2];
§ The intervention of God: “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness” [Gen.1:4];
§ The judgement of God on Egypt: “there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days” [Exo.10:22].
§ The judgement on the covenant people: “in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof” [Isa.5:30].
c. The Explanation?
This has been explained away by some as being the result of an eclipse.
§ An eclipse is the obscuration of the light of the moon by the intervention of the earth between it and the sun (lunar eclipse) or the obscuration of the light of the sun by the intervention of the moon between it and a point on the earth (solar eclipse).
§ Such an eclipse was not possible at this time because it was Passover time with a full moon; an eclipse is not possible.
The intimate fellowship and complacency has been lost: “what communion has light with darkness” [2Cor.14].
2. The Cry
a. The Loud Cry
Jesus cried out so that all could hear him: “about the ninth hour Jesus cried…” [27:45].
§ περὶ - “about” [27:45], ‘round about location’; ‘approximate time’;
§ ἐνάτην ὥραν - “ninth hour” [27:45],
§ ἀνεβόησεν - “cried” [27:45], aorist active indicative, from aná, an emphatic, and boáō, ‘to cry out’; ‘to cry out loud, exclaim’;
§ μεγάλῃ - “loud” [27:45], basic meaning of ‘great’;
§ φωνῇ - “voice” [27:45], ‘any kind of distinctive breaking of the sound waves’;
b. The Words of the Cry
The cry: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [27:46].
§ θεέ μου θεέ μου - “My God, my God” [27:46], vocative, case used for direct address;
i. Psalm 22
The words are quoted from the words of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you…” [22:1].
§ אֵלִ֣י- “my God” [22:1],
§ עֲזַבְתָּ֑נִי - “forsaken” [22:1], qal perfect, ‘to abandon, desert’; ‘to leave behind’; “therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife…” [Gen.2:24].
§ רָח֥וֹק - “far” [22:1], ‘distance’; ‘amount of separation from two points’;
§ מִֽ֝ישׁוּעָתִ֗י - “helping” [22:1], ‘deliverance, rescue, salvation’;
§ דִּבְרֵ֥י שַׁאֲגָתִֽי - “words of roaring” [22:1], ‘the loud, deep, rumbling cry of a lion’; ‘groan, cry of anguish’; “I have roared because of the disquietness of my heart” [Psa.38:8];
ii. A Cry of Abandonment
Jesus was abandoned by the Father: “why have you forsaken me” [27:46].
§ ἐγκατέλιπες - “forsaken” [27:46], aorist active indicative, from en, ‘in’, and kataleípō, ‘to forsake, desert’; ‘to leave behind in any place or state’; ‘to leave, abandon, desert’;
§ με - “me” [27:46], ‘personal relationship’;
iii. A Cry of Faith
The saying shows that the faith of Jesus was strong: “My God, my God…” [27:46].
§ The saying does not suggest a moment of weakness (like ours) when we wrongly conclude that God as “forsaken” us and later realise how wrong we were.
c. A Question
The expression of abandonment is accompanied with the question: “why have you…” [27:46].
§ ἱνατί - “why” [27:46], interrogative, ‘for what purpose’; ‘to what end’;
§ לָמָ֣ה - “why” [Psa.22:1], interrogative, ‘cause, question’; ‘an interrogative marker of cause or reason’;
§ The rest: “all the disciples forsook him and fled” [26:56].
There has been an eclipse in the relationship between the Father and the Son – “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” [1Joh.1:5] – and the Son is looking for an explanation.
3. The Answer/Explanation
a. Your Position
i. The Mediator
Christ Jesus the High Priest is the mediator: “by how much he is the mediator…” [8:6].
§ μεσίτης - “mediator” [8:6], ‘arbitrator, reconciler’; ‘the one in the middle who performs the function of a mesoj; ‘between contestants or parties’;
§ The “mediator” steps into the gap between two parties, but the “guarantor” stakes his person and his life on his word.
ii. The New Covenant
Christ Jesus is the mediator of: “a better covenant, which was established…” [8:6].
§ κρείττονος - “better” [8:6], ‘superior’; ‘more prominent’; ‘more useful’;
§ διαθήκης - “covenant” [8:6], ‘promise in a solemn agreement’;
§ νενομοθέτηται – “established” [8:6], perfect passive, ‘to make law’; ‘to ordain by law’;
§ ἐπαγγελίαις - “promise” [8:6], ‘God’s pronouncements that provide assurance of what he intends to do’; “Behold, the days come, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…” [8:8-12].
b. Your Role
Christ Jesus is the cup-bearer: “O my Father, let this cup pass from me…” [26:39].
§ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο - “this cup” [26:39], ‘drinking vessel’; the ‘cup of suffering’.
§ A metaphor for the suffering and death that he was soon to face: “the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation…” [Rev.14:10].
§ The transaction prophesied: “Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury…” [Isa.51:17-23].
§ The insight of Jesus: “even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” [20:28].
Christ Jesus was the sin-bearer: “who his own self bear our sins in his own body…” [1Pet.2:24].
§ The Sin-bearer: “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” [Isa.53:6].
c. Your Identity
Christ Jesus takes on a new identity when he carries the sins of the world:
§ Identified with our sin: “he who knew no sin was made sin for us…” [1Cor.5:21].
§ The object of God’s curse: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law having been made a curse for us…” [Gal.3:13].
d. The Role of the Father
The Father becomes the Judge at Calvary: “shall not the Judge of all the earth do right” [Gen.18:25].
i. The Wrath of God
The Son becomes the object of God’s wrath:
§ The judgement of God: “he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities…” [Isa.53:5].
§ The justice of God: “awake, O sword, against my shepherd…” [Zec.13:7].
§ The will of God: “it pleased the Lord to bruise him, he has put him to grief…” [Isa.53:10].
ii. The Separation from God
The Father must turn away from his Son as the Son takes this official position: “God drove out the man…” [Gen.2:24].
§ Sin separates from God: “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that you will not hear” [Isa.59:2].
§ The turning away from God: “your eyes are too pure to behold evil, and you cannot look on wrongdoing” [Hab.1:13].
§ The fearfulness: “who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings” [Isa.33:14]; “our God is a consuming fire” [Heb.12:29].
So fully hid Jesus make himself one with sinful man that He entered into the God-forsakenness that is the lot of sinners. He died their death.
§ ‘It appears to be an inescapable inference that Jesus so closely identified himself with sinners, and experienced the horror of sin to such a degree, that for a time the closeness of His communion with the Father was broken so that his face was obscured’ (The Cross in the New Testament, page 43).
§ ‘The atonement could not be complete, the experience would be unfulfilled, unless He had also been where sin is “when it is finished” [Jam.1:15] – the death of the soul. This is hell – separation from God (The Cross in the New Testament, page 48).
§ ‘Jesus knew the full horror of the loneliness which man has made for himself’; the death in which Jesus was at one with sinners, sharing their lot, bearing their sins, dying their death: “the wages of sin is death…” [Rom.6:23].
§ The distinction between the personal and the official/professional in the life of Jesus. There was never any disunity in the Trinity! But yet now, on the cross, because of the Son’s official position as mediator of the new covenant, the emotions of the human Jesus are swallowed up in the depths of the forsakenness.
- THE RESTORATION
1. The Final Cry
a. The Proclamation
The final cry: “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice…” [27:46].
§ πάλιν - “again” [27:50], ‘return to previous state or activity’;
§ κράξας - “cried” [27:50], aorist active participle, ‘to shout, call out’;
§ φωνῇ μεγάλῃ - “loud voice” [27:50], ‘a great breaking of the sound waves’;
b. The Death
The death of Jesus: “yielded up the ghost” [27:50].
§ ἀφῆκεν - “yielded up” [27:50], aorist active indicative, ‘to dismiss, send away’;
§ πνεῦμα - “ghost” [27:50], ‘wind, spirit’;
2. The Lukan Account
a. The Proclamation
The final cry: “Father, into your hands…” [Luk.23:46].
§ φωνήσας - “cried” [23:46], aorist active participle, ‘to call out, cry out’;
§ φωνῇ μεγάλῃ - “loud voice” [23:46],
b. The Intimate Relationship
The intimate relationship restored: “Father, into your hands…” [23:46].
§ πάτερ - “Father” [23:46], ‘male parent, ancestor’; “His father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” [15:20].
c. The Final Rest
The final rest: “into your hands…” [23:46].
§ εἰς - “into” [23:46], ‘motion up to an into’;
§ χεῖράς σου - “your hands” [23:46],
i. The Entrusting
The entrusting of his soul to final rest: “I commend my spirit…” [23:46].
§ παρατίθεμαι - “commend” [23:46], present middle indicative, from pará, ‘near or unto’, and títhēmi, ‘to put’; ‘to put or place near someone’; ‘to entrust to’; ‘to set before’; commercially, ‘to give something to someone for safe-keeping’: “to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” [12:48].
§ τὸ πνεῦμά μου - “my spirit” [23:46], ‘wind, spirit’;
§ ἐξέπνευσεν - “gave up ghost” [23:46], ‘to breathe out’; ‘to expire, die’;
ii. The Death of Jesus
There is a sense of rest having spent a life doing the will of God: “into your hands I commend…” [23:46].
§ evxe,pneusen - “breathed his last” [23:46], literally ‘to breathe out’; ‘to expire or to die’; a standard Greek way of speaking about dying;
§ Promise to the thief: “Today you shall be with me in paradise” [23:43].
§ Hebrews: “He that has entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his” [Heb.4:10].
§ Rest of glory and honour: “sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool” [Ps.110:1].
Jesus has ‘ploughed the depths’; ‘light has now dawned’ in Jesus conscious experience
§ The intimacy of the personal relationship, eclipsed for three hours on the cross, is once more enjoyed.
§ Restoration: “I restored that which I took not away” [Psa.69:4].
§ Reconciliation: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself…” [2Cor.5:18-21]; “for he himself is our peace…” [Eph.2:14]; “has made peace through the blood of his cross…” [Col.1:20].