In death, in resurrection, and in glory
In view of the sufferings of the cross, our Lord said to His loved ones, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death” (Matt. 26:38). What those sufferings and sorrows were the finite human mind can never fathom. The darkness and distance He knew in that awful hour we can never penetrate. It is ours to worship before Him as we remember that it was for us suffered and sorrowed thus.
The darkness and distance were His that the light and nearness might be ours. He was forsaken that we might be received. He was alone in the desolation and solitariness of Golgotha, that we might be His companions in the delights and communion of the glory of God.
Throughout His pathway He had ever rejoiced in the love of His Father, whose will He had come to do. Ever in addressing Him He speaks in all the joy of the glorious relationship which was His. We hear Him say, “He that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). “Father I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me” (John 11:41). “Even so Father for so it seemed good in Thy sight” (Matt. 11:28). We see Him as “the Son of the Father” (2 John 3), finding all His joy in doing His good pleasure.
And as it was during His ministry of grace, so it was at its close in dark Gethsemane when the cross with all its woe unspeakable was to be His. With strong crying and tears He exclaimed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.” We know that that cup could not pass from Him if the Father were to be glorified about sin or if we were to be blessed and brought nigh in righteousness. Thus it was that at Calvary the judgment of God in all its terribleness fell upon Him.
He had presented Himself as the Spotless One to be the sin offering and was made sin, He “who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21), and He “who did no sin neither was guile found in His mouth . . . bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:22, 24).
Then it was that when He had taken our place we find Him crying, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
That hour of unspeakable anguish stands alone in the annals of eternity. As another has said, “It baffles thought that most solemn lonely hour, which stands aloof from all before or after.”
The repetition of the cry, “My God,” may awaken thought. “My strong One, My strong One, why hast Thou forsaken me?” The One in whom He had found His joy, the One whom He knew had abandoned Him. Never had He forsaken God. Never had He swerved one hairsbreadth from the path of God’s will for Him. Now in the time of unspeakable woe, when all others have left Him, how is it that God, His God, has abandoned Him?
But in the midst of the fires His perfection shines out, He glorifies God saying, “Thou art holy.”
Apart from the fact that we know that our Lord was enduring the judgment of God suffering “for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18), all would be wrapped in mystery inexplicable. But knowing this, with adoring hearts we look back and cry, “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me.”
The next occasion on which the Lord uses the expression, “My God,” is in resurrection. The sorrows and sufferings are past, the victory is won, and the Victor hastens to share the spoils with His own for whom He has fought the fight.
By Mary Magdalene He sends the message to His disciples telling of the place He has won for them. “Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God” (John 20:17). He had been alone at Calvary in the hour of death in order that He might have them with Him in the sunshine of everlasting relationship before the Father and in everlasting righteousness in the presence of God. “The Corn of Wheat” had fallen “into the ground” and died that Me might not abide alone but bring forth “much fruit”—a harvest of glory for God His Father and a harvest of blessing for us (John 12:24).
“My God, my God,” it was at the cross. Now it is “My God and your God.” He is no more isolated, He has companions to enjoy with Himself the delights He has as the Risen Man before His Father and His God.
Blessed indeed is the portion He has and which His own now share with Him. His nearness is ours. His dearness is ours. Christ’s place is our place. He liveth unto God and we are alive to God in Him. Christ is our life. Christ is our righteousness. He is the measure of our acceptance. If we wish to learn what our place is, we must learn it in the position which He has now in the glory of God “Because I live ye shall live also.” And we are to enjoy this now while we are on the earth. “As He is so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Henceforth we who believe are bound up inseparably with Christ, and it is His joy to share with us this place. He has gone forth weeping, bearing precious seed. Now He comes again with rejoicing bringing His sheaves with Him. He sowed in tears. He reaps in joy. As has been said, “Christianity was sown in the tears of the Son of God.”
If the first occasion on which the expression, “My God,” was heard from our Lord’s lips was in atonement, and the second was in resurrection, the third time is in the glory of God. In Revelation 3:12, we hear Him encouraging the overcomer with the promise, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.”
Four times over the title, “My God,” is found in this promise. He will identify the faithful with Himself in the glories of the coming kingdom. Whether in the innermost shrine or in the city of displayed glory, that holy name shall be seen upon His loved and loyal followers. And this written with His own hand as a mark of His own personal approval and delight.
Surely we who believe may covet such a distinction, and seek to be here for His pleasure in the world where He suffered.