The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lent 3: Jesus cries out

March 7, 2010
Third Sunday of Lent

The Suffering Savior’s Lonely Cry
Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Matthew 27:46

My sermon outline:

• Throughout scriptures, assurance of God’s presence.

I shared at the Wednesday evening Lenten service how Jesus was our Passover lamb under whose blood we are saved from death, and how Jesus volunteered to be the ultimate (final, perfect, best) sacrifice, covering the sins of all.

Last week the message was on Jesus’ thirst and the physical & spiritual suffering he endured...

Today we witness Jesus crying out “My God, my God Why have you forsaken me?”

• Recall the agony of crucifixion & everything leading up to it. The insult of crucifixion, reserved for low criminals. Likely wearing nothing or next to nothing. Once again, betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, abandoned by most... every source of comfort gone, perhaps unable to sense the presence of God so desperately wanted.

• On one hand, God was never closer than during the redemptive act of Jesus’ sacrifice: “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19). There was a cross in God’s heart before there was a cross on Calvary’s hill.

• On the other hand, God was never farther from Jesus: “God made him who had no sin to be sin...” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And Isaiah 53:4 he has carried our afflictions. And Isaiah 53:10 his life is made an offering for sin... & where there be sin, there God cannot be.

• In Jesus’ cry is the song of faith. He cries out “My God, my God,” the only time he addresses God without saying “Father”, yet also an intensely intimate address.

He’s quoting Psalm 22:1 which begins with the psalm writer crying out feeling far from God but concluding with the statement of trust that God hears the cry of the afflicted one (22:24) and will answer it. The psalm ends with praise for the goodness of the Lord.

• Matthew’s telling of the crucifixion is peppered with references to Psalm 22, including the soldiers gambling for his clothes (22:18), the leaders mocking him (verse 7) and saying He trusts in God, let God deliver him: (verse 8). Read Psalm 22 and see if it isn’t a description of Jesus’ crucifixion.

And Jesus’ cry out to God is a cry out to God.

• What’s it mean for us?
Jesus’ voluntary sacrifice is remembered when we share in Holy Communion, a sacrament re-enacting the brokenness of Jesus and remembering how through that brokenness we are saved from death and entered into a new covenant.

Jesus’ lonely cry causes us to believe that he is the way of salvation. Had there been some other way than the cross, surely God would have used it, and the Bible would have revealed it.

Your only hope of full, free, and eternal forgiveness is through faith in this Christ who died for your sin and who rose again that he might be your Savior. Some of you have delayed making a decision nto let his death be your death for sin. To reject his death for your sin is also to reject the life that he revealed following his resurrection. He died to save you. He lives again to offer you an eternal life of victory over the sin that destroys everything that is worthwhile. Respond to God’s invitation today.

• Hymn 165 Hallelujah! What a Savior!

- Pastor Kerry

This Sunday: 75 in worship. Holy Communion.