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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 27 - Verse 46
Verse 46. Eli, Eli, etc. This language is not pure Hebrew, nor Syriac, but a mixture of both, called commonly Syro-Chaldaic. This was probably the language which he commonly spoke. The words are taken from Ps 22:1.
My God, my God, etc. This expression is one denoting intense suffering. It has been difficult to understand in what sense he was forsaken by God. It is certain that God approved his work. It is certain that Jesus was innocent. He had done nothing to forfeit the favour of God. As his own Son: holy, harmless, undefiled, and obedient— God still loved him. In either of these senses, God could not have forsaken him. But the expression was probably used in reference to the following circumstances, viz.:
(1.) His great bodily sufferings on the cross, greatly aggravated by his previous scourging, and by the want of sympathy, and by the revilings of his enemies on the cross. A person suffering thus, might address God as if he was forsaken, or given up to extreme anguish,
(2.) He himself said that this was "the power of darkness," Lu 22:53. The time when his enemies, including the Jews and Satan, were suffered to do their utmost. It was said of the serpent, that he should bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, Ge 3:15. By that has been commonly understood to be meant, that though the Messiah should finally crush and destroy the power of Satan, yet he should himself suffer through the power of the devil. When he was tempted, Lu 4:1 it was said that the tempter "departed from him for a season." There is no improbability in supposing that he might be permitted to return at the time of his death, and exercise his power in increasing the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. In what way this might be done, can be only conjectured. It might be by horrid thoughts; by temptation to despair, or to distrust God, who thus permitted his innocent Son to suffer; or by an increased horror of the pains of dying.
(3.) There might have been withheld from the Saviour those strong religious consolations; those clear views of the justice and goodness of God, which would have blunted his pains, and soothed his agonies. Martyrs, under the influence of strong religious feeling have gone triumphantly to the stake; but it is possible that those views might have been withheld from the Redeemer when he came to die. His sufferings were accumulated sufferings: and the design of the atonement seemed to require that he should suffer all that human nature could be made to endure in so short a time. Yet,
(4.) we have reason to think that there was still something more than all this that produced this exclamation. Had there been no deeper and more awful sufferings, it would be difficult to see why Jesus should have shrunk from these sorrows, and used such a remarkable expression. Isaiah tells us, Isa 53:4,5 "He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." He hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, Ga 3:13 he was made a sin-offering, 2 Co 5:21 he died in our place, on our account, that he might bring us near to God. It was this, doubtless, which caused his intense sufferings. It was the manifestation of God's hatred of sin to his soul, in some way which he has not explained, that he experienced in that dread hour. It was suffering, endured by him, that was due to us; and suffering by which, and by which alone, we can be saved from eternal death.
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