Archive for August 2011

Why have you forsaken me?   1 comment

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:45

These were the words spoken out by the one who did not deny that He was the King of the Jews and claimed to be the Son of God. However, the Jews were outraged by what Jesus said. Many of the Jews hated Jesus because He claimed to be God(John 10:33). They considered it blasphemy. The Jews reckoned that such assertions deserved death penalty – crucifixion.

We considered that it was a deserved punishment by God.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53

Taken in the another perspective, this was true not because He sinned but because He was the only blameless man.

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin” Isaiah 53:10

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living;for the transgression of my people he was punished.” Isaiah 53:8.

Who protested? Everyone shouted vehemently that this man deserved death. Rejected and despised He was (Isaiah 53:3). Moreover, God’s punishment and wrath felt on Him. Our iniquities were laid on Him because we have all gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).

Is there anything worst than to be crushed by an almighty God?

He was considered a criminal on that cross but a hero in heaven. Were not the heavenly creatures in sorrow and scandalized to see their God despised, insulted, agonising, beaten and suffering? In amazement the angels were at seeing God’s act of love on the cross.

Moral suffering sometimes cause more pain than physical suffering.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me,so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,by night, but I find no rest.” Psalm 22

This man hanging on the cross still had God in His mouth. My God, my God He said. The Hebrew word ‘El’ used here refers to the almighty God. He knew that this God was almighty and could deliver Him. Extreme pain did not blur His trust in His God.

  • WHY

His disciples left Him, they were just humans and feared. This could still be understandable. But YOU God? YOU abandon me? Many times we cry out to God “WHY?” and we are still left with no answers from heaven. In these times we should say as Job “The LORD has given, and the LORD has taken away! May the name of the LORD be praised” Job 1:21

A unique filial love relationship He enjoyed with God the Father since eternity past. Perfect love. Why would a Father go to the extreme of allowing His perfect Son die on the cross for bad people? Not only that, He knows this Father is all powerful to deliver Him. He is God and He could stop all this in a twinkle of an eye. But there was no other way man from his sins lest He surrendered and offered His life.

God the Father so loved the world that He gave what He loved the most – His Son.

Not only that, not a reply from heaven in His suffering. Total silence! A Father not here to support? This Father with whom He has been for eternity in perfect union abandoned Him? Hard to digest is not it?


Why have YOU forsaken me?

Judas betrayed Him for 30 silver coins. Peter denied Him 3 times (even if he said he was ready to die for him). Peter feared for his life and Judas was taken by the sin of greed. “I can understand that they were but feeble sinful men who have forsaken me.  But YOU my God, you’re Holy, why have you forsaken me?”

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. ” Mat 26:56

Jesus has been saying many times that He is one with the Father and now we see the Father abandoning, crushing Him and leaving Him with no reply! Why such a sudden separation? Separation from God is the worst thing that can happen to a being. Hell was made because of that! Why this temporary separation?  Because our High Priest bore our gross sins on Him. He went into the Most Holy place in heaven to make the expiation of the sins. The Son was God’s provision, He is the Lamb which takes away the sin of the whole world (John 1:29).


What a hard separation! Everyone left Him on earth. Perhaps calling to heaven could bring some relief. But no it was absolute silence day and night.

It was crystal clear that He knew that the God He was calling out to was Holy.This unfair penalty did not lead Him to curse God but rather to continue exalt Him as the Holy One of Israel. He said:

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;you are the one Israel praises.

Job did not curse God in his ailments even if he lost all his possessions, his family and even his health. Job still had the most precious gift – life, which God spared. But our Lord could not even keep His life because our lives were at stake! He did not curse God amidst this hard time but acknowledged His Holiness and Sovereignty. May His attitude in this solemn moment teach us to glorify God in our afflictions even if heaven is silent!

It was this God to whom Moses, Abraham, Joshua and Elijah called out to and were blessed. God did no leave Moses alone in front of the red sea when he called out. In front of the enemies, Joshua called out to God and the battle was won. None of these people were confused or deceived when they called out to God. Not only God replied them, but He also did miracles.

In you our ancestors put their trust;they trusted and you delivered them.To you they cried out and were saved;in you they trusted and were not put to shame.” Ps 22:4

  • ME

But when God’s Son calls out, even no reply? To imperfect man God showed His faithfulness, but to the perfect One agonising on the cross there’s no comfort. No deliverance and even no answers? He taught how to pray to the Father(Mat 6:9), about perseverance in prayer (Luke 18:1), about faith(Luke 17:6) and trusting God (Mat 6:27). In this moment, there was no one on earth who prayed more fervently than Him, no one had greater faith and trusted in God more than Him but still He got no replies and His life was not spared! There must have been valid reasons for God not to answer this simple prayer of His agonizing Holy Son. It was not lack of faith or lack of perseverance but sin, our sins.

This is what the scoffers said:

Is this the one who relies on the Lord?Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much,let the Lord rescue him!” Ps 22:8

He has done no wrong but He took what He hated most on Him – sin.The 2 criminals by His side deserved their punishment and were not in such agony. Prior to the cross, in Gethsemane there He was already agonising and asking God to help Him. Was it the coming suffering or the separation which was worst? This King said:

My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

Obedient till death He was. He knew that His death was the only way to save man. So He obediently and voluntarily laid down His life.

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17

  • Why have you forsaken me?

Do not be far from me,for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me;strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. ” Psalm 22:12

Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me;they pierce my hands and my feet.All my bones are on display;people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment“. Psalm 22:16

They spitted on Him and mocked Him. Like bulls probably were the harsh and insulting words of the Pharisees and Romans. He was like a defenseless lamb attached to a tree surrounded by hungry wild beast tearing him down with rage! No respect shown to a dying man. To animals we would not do that. But to Jesus, we humans trodden on Him like crushing a worm. He saw himself less than a man, we treated Him like a meaningless parasite – a  worm.

But I am a worm and not a man,scorned by everyone, despised by the people.All who see me mock me;they hurl insults, shaking their heads.“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,“let the Lord rescue him.Let him deliver him,since he delights in him.” Ps 22:6

Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.When he appeared in human form,he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6

Like enraged dogs were the Romans who were torturing our Lord. He was left alone by His Father amidst these dogs and bulls. His Father was not here when He needed Him most. He saw His own blood pouring out like water and slowly He witnessed His life departing. Yet not even a word of sympathy from heaven(v19)!

At this same time, were not angels and powerful creatures in heaven in indignation with all these shameful words said to their God whom they worshiped since eternity past ?

In an instant angels could have annihilated all these scoffers if Jesus wished.

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:53

But no it was not the Savior’s prayer. He did not want anyone to perish. His prayer was: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34.

Adapted from commentaries of  Ps 22 of the Treasury of David – C. H. Spurgeon.


It’s Him who sets the rules   Leave a comment

Laws and Rules

Laws and Rules

I once shared a new way of playing dominoes with some friends. I did not tell them that I invented this new way of playing and just told them the rules. Eventually, as soon as they started to develop new strategies, they started to beat me and it’s now very difficult to beat them.

This remembers me the UK. It was the British who set the rules for football but that does not make them superior since they also have to abide to these rules(When was the last time they won the world cup?). If the rule is not the same for everyone, we say that it is not a fair game.

We are governed by laws and rules and without them our society would be in absolute chaos within several days.
There’re referees to take decisions on a pitch when rules are not respected and judges to apply the law when it has been violated. It’s not because the judge has the power to apply the law that it means that he is above it. Supreme laws have to be obeyed by everyone. Depending on the gravity of the violation of the rules, a referee can give a warning, a yellow or red card. It’s the same for judges, the sentence they give can be from a small fine to life imprisonment.

Though the laws of nature say that a denser body should sink in less dense fluid, we see Jesus walking on the waters. We see Jesus multiplying bread twice for at least 3000/5000 hungry people in the wilderness. He gave sight to a man born blind and gave life back to dead Lazarus. How can science explain that? Everyone knew that Lazarus was dead and buried for several days. The bellies of these thousands were not filled with air and stones. I don’t think a bakery could have secretly produced so many breads. I guess that taking from the sea at least 5000 fish by several fishermen is impossible. These thousands people did not have an illusion I guess.

How can science explain all these?

God does what He wants, where He wants and how He wants. Why is it that people have to believe in Jesus in order to be saved? Because it’s God’s way of saving mankind. It’s Him who sets the rules. We are the sinners and He is the One who decides what should be done to sinners. There’s no deal. We can’t tell God to send us to a so-called “purgatory” to allow us to pay for our transgressions. No bargaining with Him! Sinners go to hell. Period. But sinners who follow the rule i.e. repent and put their trust in Jesus don’t go to hell. As heaven is real, so hell is.

While playing dominoes with my friends, a friend pointed out to me that a rule was not fair so we had to adjust this rule.

A lie was a sin thousand years ago and so it is now. God’s laws are perfectly just, no need to readjust. God does what He wants. “Our God is in heaven he does whatever pleases him” Ps 115.
Why is it that we inherit Adam’s sinful nature? Simply because it’s God who set the rules.

For 33 years God lived under rules He Himself set. He was tired, had to sleep and was hungry. He was a human, He wept when He was sad. He obeyed the rules of the human nature. In agony He was in Gethsemane. He suffered when beaten and eventually died as any human would.

Perfect He was on earth, no lies or no pride in His heart. The only human being who did not transgress all rules set by God is the Messiah. He’s the One who sits on the throne and all authorities have Him as supreme Judge whether they like/know it or not. One day Jesus will come to judge His creation. The only way to be saved is Jesus Christ, no other rule and no other options.

The Supreme Judge

The Supreme Judge

Posted August 14, 2011 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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How can I know God loves me?   Leave a comment

I have been asking myself this question for quite a long time and was not convinced with the reasons I heard. Do the sufferings of Jesus on the cross prove that God loves me? But were not 2 criminals suffering the same death penalty? Furthermore, their legs were broken by the soldiers which did not occur to Jesus. Many people endured greater pain than Jesus, they were tortured and saw members of their family go through inhuman treatments. Many people stress on Jesus’ sufferings to justify God’s love. I was not convinced that this argument justified God’s love for me. This is not to say that I’m minimising the pain Jesus endured, but it’s just that I could not see how it proved God’s love for me. To understand God’s love based on the claims of John 3:16, I realized that the questions to be answered were these: Who was on a cross and why?

What is the greatest act someone can do to show his/her love?
Giving all his/her money? Serving and doing everything asked for?

In my opinion, the greatest act of loving is to be willing to die to let another one live. History has so much to say about mothers who died to let their children live.  It’s the willingness, without being forced which gives this act of dying a great sign of love. To love is to give. There’s no greater love than to give his life for his friends Jesus said (John 15:12).

God so loved the world that He gave…  He gave what? A bottle of water? No, He gave His Son,  to die (John 3:16).

The motive for a mother to be willing to die for her child can have several reasons. E.g. This child is innocent, young, does not deserve that and so on…

But what about all of us humans. Are we innocent? In God’s perspective, we are all sinners. From pope to the worse criminals, from richest person to denuded beggars, all are sinners, not one exempted the bible declares. How many will be willing to die for a criminal? Even more, would we be willing to die to let our offenders live? Jesus, who is God, was willing to die for sinners(offenders).

It was not a bad person dying to let a good person live. It was not a bad person dying because he deserved it as the criminals on Jesus’ side said.

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Luke 23

No, it was a perfect man dying for sinners. Jesus drank this cup of God’s wrath. The God almighty crushed His Son on the cross(Isaiah 53).

A sinner like me did not have a solution to my sins. What could I propose to God to receive forgiveness? Could I say “Look God at all the good stuff I did, you have to forgive me!”. No bargaining, no deal. It was not me who tried to take the first step to reconcile either.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:6

The way God wanted to forgive us was by showing this marking evidence that He really loved us i.e. death for our sake. Jesus’ death was NOT a substitute as many people teach but it was God’s way of reconciling humanity to Him. Jesus did not die because we would have died if He did not. We were already dead in our sins the bible teaches. Jesus died for us but not in our place. He was a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Eph 2:5, Col 2:13

Simply believing that this is God’s way of saving humanity does not make sense to many people. Intelligent people consider it a foolish argument but yet it’s God’s wisdom. God did that so that one could be saved only through faith. Those who rely on their intelligence to find God and refuse Jesus will be frustrated. We could not see how this process of redemption occurred(Col 2:9). Therefore, it’s only through faith that we can believe that Jesus’ death saves us. Faith in God’s provision has always been of central focus throughout the Old Testament. Without faith it’s impossible to please God (Heb 11). In the New Testament, it’s still through faith in God’s provision (Jesus) that we are saved. Because God loves us He did all that? That does not make sense, it seems foolish says the world. Sometimes, love can do things which seems foolish in the eyes of others. Love can make you appear to be weak. It can make you bend, humble yourself, accept to lose for the sake of the one you love, be ready to endure what it cost because you love someone so dearly even if that person does not love you that much.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God…

God's love

God’s love

Posted August 6, 2011 by Cedric in Theology

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