The Scriptorium

Sin-bearer

Here is Jesus in His deepest suffering. Matthew 27.45-56

Matthew 27: Crucified (4)

Pray Psalm 69.13-15.
But as for me, my prayer is to You,
O LORD, in the acceptable time;
O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.
Deliver me out of the mire,
And let me not sink;
Let me be delivered from those who hate me,
And out of the deep waters.
Let not the floodwater overflow me,
Nor let the deep swallow me up;
And let not the pit shut its mouth on me.

Sing Psalm 69.13-15.
(Greensleeves: What Child Is This?)
O Lord, we make our prayer to You; receive our words, O Savior!
Let lovingkindness see us through, and answer us with favor!
Lord, lift us above the mire; deliv’rance is our one desire!
Let not the floods conspire to swallow us forever!

Read
Matthew 27.1-56; meditate on verses 45-56.

Prepare.
1. What did Jesus cry out from the cross?

2. What happened when Jesus died?

Meditate.
Here is Jesus in His deepest agony and distress. His Father has turned away from Him, as He bears the sin of the world in His own body. He is forsaken by family, disciples, and even His heavenly Father. Only His mother and John are on hand for His end (Jn. 20.25-27). He is unfathomably alone, the Sin-bearer of the world. He cries out in those familiar words of Psalm 22, both to indicate the depths of His suffering, and to cue those watching concerning the meaning of His death.

Yet in the moment of His death, there is hope. In the deep darkness of mid-day (v. 45), Jesus opened the way to God, as symbolized by the tearing of the veil that separates the holy of holies from the rest of the sanctuary (v. 51). Torn from the top down, it signifies that God, through the torn flesh of Jesus, has opened a way to Himself. The earth itself, which groans under the burden of mankind’s sin, seems to have leapt with hope at the death of the Lord (v. 51). Many saints who had died and been buried were raised to life, and appeared to many in Jerusalem (vv. 52, 53). When the reports of Jesus’ own resurrection began to circulate, these newly-revived saints would be evidence of the reliability of that news.

It took a Roman court to condemn and execute Jesus; now it takes a Roman guard to announce to the world the meaning of Jesus’ life and death: “Truly this was the Son of God!” (v. 54)

The mention of the women, watching from far off (vv. 55, 56), is important, as we shall see in the next chapter.

Reflect.
1. Jesus seems to have had two reasons for crying out the words from Psalm 22. What were they?

2. Why was the veil in the temple torn? What is the significance of this for us?

3. How did the earth and sky respond to the death of Jesus? What do these things signify?

He spoke with the voice of Scripture, uttering a cry from the psalm. Thus even to his last hour he is found bearing witness to the sacred text. He offers this prophetic cry in Hebrew, so as to be plain and intelligible to them, and by all things Jesus shows how he is of one mind with the Father who had begotten him.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew 88.1

Thank You, Jesus, that You suffered so for me. Help me to love for you today as I…

Pray Psalm 69.1-12.
God made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Give thanks and praise for the suffering of Jesus, and go forth to live for Him today.

Sing Psalm 69.1-12.
Psalm 69.1-12 (Greensleeves: What Child Is This?)
“Save Me, O God, deep waters rise and threaten to undo Me!
No foothold in the mire I find; the floods must soon subdue Me.
Hear, Lord, My weary cry; My throat is parched, unclear My eye.
Foes long for Me to die and others’ debts are upon Me.”

O God, our folly all You know, our wrongs from You are not hidden;
Let those who in Your mercy go not by our shame be smitten.
“Let none dishonored be because, O Lord, because of Me!
You make Me dishonor see; on Me reproach is written.”

A stranger to the world am I, no family will own Me.
Though I for them have come to diel, yet now must I alone be.
Lord, see how my tears now fall, how their reproach befalls Me!
Yet I am a curse to all, and no one ever calls Me.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore