Mark 15:34

Sermon preached on May 07, 2017 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

Faberge eggs are the most famous jeweled eggs in the world. They were manufactured under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé between 1885 and 1917. The first one was made in 1885 and Russian Tsar Alexander III gave it to his wife as an Easter present, perhaps to commemorate the 20 anniversary of their engagement. Known as the Hen Egg, that first egg is relatively simple on the outside, but like many of the other Faberge eggs, it contains surprises. It opens up and inside is a yellow-gold yolk. The yoke also contains a surprise as it opens up to reveal a multicolored gold hen. It also reveals a tiny diamond replica of the imperial crown from which a small ruby pendant was suspended. Alexander's wife must have loved the Hen egg because just about every year after that he gave her another. The eggs all contained surprises, sometimes more than one. The 1897 egg is one of the most famous. This Imperial Coronation Egg opened to reveal a precise replica of the 18th-century Imperial coach that carried the Tsarina Alexandra to her coronation at Moscow's Uspensky Cathedral.

Just as those eggs were treasures and contained treasures, so the Word of God is a treasure and contains treasures. (Matthew 13:52) One of the great treasures it contains is the work of Jesus. Do we know everything that Jesus did to save you? No, of course we don't. The more you study it the more you'll see that there are depths, surprises that we can never fully fathom. The words before us are remarkable. John Murray calls Jesus' words here, (Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, p. 77)

"the most mysterious utterance that ever ascended from earth to heaven,"

We read, (Mark 15:34)

"And at the ninth hour
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
'Eloi, Eloi,
lama sabachthani?'
—which means,
'My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?' "

They are incredible. What do they mean? Murray continues, (Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, p. 77)

"We almost hesitate to say so. But it must be said. It is God in our nature forsaken of God."

Jesus, the God-man, was, in his human nature as stricken and abandoned by God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

This is incredible but it reveals important things about our Savior's work. Did Jesus do enough to save you? Do you realize all He did for you? Last week we looked at Jesus' physical death and saw that all the gospels make it clear that Jesus really died. But was that enough? Was it enough for Jesus to die physically? In his Institutes John Calvin makes this somewhat surprising statement. (Institutes, II. xvi. 10)

"If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual."

What Calvin is saying is that if Christ had only died physically there would have been something that was incomplete in our redemption, that His physical death alone would have been inadequate, that it would not have satisfied the curse of sin, that we wouldn't be able to inherit heaven. John Murray tells us the same thing. He writes of the wrath or curse of God, (Redemption, Accomplished and Applied, p. 44)

"the displeasure which rests upon every infraction of the law's demand. 'Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them' (Gal. 3:10). Without deliverance from this curse there could be no salvation."

The curse against sin consists of more than physical death. We see this in Jesus' words in John 8:51. He said,

"I tell you the truth,
if anyone keeps my word,
he will never see death."

But we know that Christians face and undergo physical death. Indeed, later in John (chapter 11) we see that Jesus' friend Lazarus died. At that time Jesus said to Martha, (John 11:25–26)

"I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live,
even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me
will never die."

So Jesus is showing us that death encompasses more than physical death. He's using the word 'death' to refer to two different things. Death includes something larger, more encompassing than physical death. Besides physical death the curse of sin also includes the wrath of God against sin, it includes separation from God, it includes abandonment by God. The Bible speaks of not only physical death but of the second death. We see this in Revelation 2:11. It says,

"He who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit
says to the churches.
He who overcomes will not be hurt at all
by the second death."

Revelation 20:14 and Revelation 21:8 show us what the second death is. Revelation 21:8 says,

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving,
the vile, the murderers,
the sexually immoral,
those who practice magic arts,
the idolaters and all liars—
their place will be in the fiery lake
of burning sulfur.
This is the second death."

Revelation 20:10 reveals that the second death, the lake of burning sulfur is a place of torment. It says that the devil, the beast and the false prophet, after they have been thrown into the lake of burning sulfur,

"will be tormented day and night
for ever and ever."

This shows us that

the curse against sin encompasses the wrath of God.

The second death involves enduring the wrath of God. John Murray writes, (Redemption Accomplished and Applied)

"The wrath of God is the inevitable reaction of the divine holiness against sin. 'The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness'(Rom. 1:18). The judgment of God upon sin is essentially his wrath."

We see this reference to God's wrath in many places in Scripture. In the parable of The Sheep and the Goats Jesus said the king will tell those on his left, (Matthew 25:41)

"Depart from me,
you who are cursed,
into the eternal fire
prepared for the devil and his angels."

Verse 46 tells us that they will go away,

"to eternal punishment".

In the Parable of the Talents the master said about the man who had wasted his talent. (Matthew 25:30)

"And throw that worthless servant
outside, into the darkness,
where there will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth."

In the story of the wicked servant whose master went away, the servant who exploited his position and abused his fellow servants and squandered his master's possessions, it says that when the Master returns, (Matthew 24:51)

"He will cut him to pieces
and assign him a place
with the hypocrites,
where there will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth."

In the parable of the Wheat and Tares, the tares will be thrown, (Matthew 13:42)

"into the fiery furnace,
where there will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth."

Outside, darkness, punishment, the fiery furnace, eternal fire, the lake of fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth—all these thing depict the wrath of God against sinners.

Jesus, in addition to physical death, on the cross suffered the agonies of hell. Before He died on the cross Jesus fully underwent the curse of sin. He endured the wrath of God and was abandoned by God.

Consider the things in our text.

First of all, darkness set the stage.

Verse 33 tells us that from the 6th hour (noon) to the 9th hour (3:00 P.M.) there was darkness over the whole land. This is symbolic. Darkness signifies many things in the Bible but as we've just seen from the Parable of the Talents it sometimes denotes abandonment from God, a place of torment. It signifies a curse. We also see that in Mark 8:12 where Jesus told the crowd about the centurion's great faith. He said that many would come from the east and west and take their places with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but, (Matthew 8:12)

"But the subjects of the kingdom
will be thrown outside,
into the darkness,
where there will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth."

We see the same thing in Matthew 22 in the Parable of the Wedding Banquet where there was a man without a wedding garment. He was thrown, (verse 13)

"outside, into the darkness"

William L. Lane tells us that there is an, (Mark, NICNT; p. 572)

"ominous aspect to the darkening. In the plague of darkness which preceded the first Passover, darkness over the land was the token that the curse of God rested upon it (Exod. 10:21f.). The darkness that envelops Jesus in his death thus makes visible what the cry of dereliction declares…"

It was after 6 hours on the cross, after 3 hours of darkness that Jesus cries out,

"My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?"

These words are taken from Psalm 22:1. The opening of that Psalm is all about abandonment. Verses 1-2 say,

"My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God,
I cry out by day,
but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent."

Donald MacLeod writes, (Christ Crucified, p. 48)

"This is the only occasion, even on the cross, when Jesus does not invoke God as 'Father'. In Gethsemane, for all its anguish, he had held fast to this: 'Abba, everything is possible for you' (Mark 14:36). Even in the moment of his immolation he retained this sense of his own divine sonship: 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing' (Luke 23:34). And by the end, after the dereliction, he has recovered it: 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit' (Luke 23:46). Clearly, the forsakenness is only a moment in the long journey from the third to the ninth hour; for much of the time Jesus remained in communion with his Father. But now comes a moment of well-nigh unsustainable awfulness. Abba is out of reach, not listening.""The intimacy is broken: an intimacy that had never been broken before. It was a breach for which nothing could have prepared Jesus. Like Abraham and Isaac going up to Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:2), Father and Son had gone up to Calvary together, and throughout his life Jesus had been assured that he was not alone, but that the Father was with him. Even at the cross, his Father, like his mother, had been there. But now, at the ninth hour, Abba was not there, and Jesus can say only 'Eloi!' God is certainly there, but not as Abba. There is now no sense of his own divine sonship, no sense of God's love and no sense of his Father's approval. God is not hearing him. He cries, but there is no answer, and God even seems to mock his trust (Ps. 22:8). Trouble is near, but there is no one to help (Ps. 22:11).""Jesus stands where no-one ever stood before or since, knowing himself the bearer of the sin of the world, destined to pay the price for its redemption (Mark 10:45), and now drinking the bitterest dregs of the cup which had so discomposed him in Gethsemane. In its very nature, the spiritual content of this climax of his suffering is inaccessible to us. Even he himself had to appropriate the words of the psalmist, as if he could find no words of his own; and perhaps no human words could express what his 'hell' meant.""In everything he saw around him, and everything he heard, there was the hand of God. It was the Father who was delivering him up (Rom. 8:32) and everything spoke of his anger."

John Murray writes, (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, p. 77)

"It is the Lord of glory, the Son of God incarnate, the God-man, drinking the cup given him by the eternal Father, the cup of woe and of indescribable agony… The cry from the accursed tree evinces nothing less than the abandonment that is the wages of sin. And it was abandonment endured vicariously because he bore our sins in his own body on the tree. There is no analogy. He himself bore our sins and of the people there was none with him."

Donald Macleod, (Christ Crucified, p. 49)

"It was here, all of it, in his body (1 Pet. 2:24), being condemned in his flesh (Rom. 8:3); because of it he was a doomed and ruined man, korban, devoted to destruction. God's pure eyes could not look on him, nor heaven entertain his cry. 'Christ cried, 'Is there not a word, dear Father, not a look?' And He answers, 'No, not a look for a world.''"

John Calvin is quite right when he wrote, (Institutes, II. xvi. 10)

"If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. No – it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God's vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment."

One of the things we should note about this is that Jesus dies the second death first, before His physical death. In the Apostle's Creed that we recite it says that Jesus,

"died, and was buried;he descended into hell…"

The order there is wrong. Douglas F. Kelly writes, (Systematic Theology, Vol. 2)

"He dies the second death first…"

Jesus suffered the wrath of God, the wrath of God that was against your sins—and satisfied it.

What does this mean for us?

First it shows that Jesus paid it all.

He took the full curse of sin and satisfied it. Christ suffered the whole of death for us. Jesus took that fully. By laying down His life, Jesus was fulfilling the first part of death—physical death. While He was on the cross suffering He endured the terrors of hell, the terrors of God's wrath. He fully paid the price for your sin. John Murray writes, (Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, p. 44, 77)

"That curse he bore and that curse he exhausted. That was the price paid for this redemption and the liberty secured for the beneficiaries is that there is no more curse."

"He bore our iniquities. He bore the unrelieved and unmitigated damnation of sin, and he finished it."

Jesus' abandonment means that you will never be abandoned by God. Jesus paid the price. Now you have been brought near to God. You belong to His family. You are safe in God's arms. Hebrews 13:5 tells us that God has said,

"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."

Now matter what your present circumstances, you should rejoice in Jesus. Who is like Him? Consider His love for you. What can explain it? Nothing in you. What a God of love we have! Who is like Him?

Secondly, this shows us

how horrible sin is.

Consider the cost! Sin deserves the everlasting wrath of God. Your sin, the sin of Christians, meant that Jesus, the One who never sinned, the dearly beloved of the Father, the One with the Name above all names— He had to hang on the cross for approximately 6 hours, bearing agony and wrath that we will never be able to comprehend.

How can you look lightly on sin, on your sin? How can any Christian do that? Certainly you should not. Christians, be holy. Hate sin and temptation. Fight against them.

Thirdly, this shows you

how much you need Jesus.

On what are you relying toe get you into heaven? The wages of sin is death—death in all its fullness. Your best works won't satisfy the divine wrath. They can't. Death is required, a death of such horror, such agony, such loneliness, such suffering—that you will have to pay—unless you go to Jesus and throw yourself on His mercy. If you do, your sins will be washed away, the curse will be gone forever, and you will receive life from Him. Go to Him today.