The Glory of The Cross part 6 Samuel Zwemer
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By Samuel M. Zwemer






"The Psalm of the Cross begins with 'My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?' and ends,

according to some, in the original with 'he hath done this' or 'it is finished.' For plaintive

expressions uprising from unutterable depths of woe we may say of this psalm, 'there is none like

it.' It is the photograph of our Lord's saddest hours, the record of His dying words, the

lachrymatory of His last tears, the memorial of His expiring joys. David and his afflictions may

be here in a very modified sense, but as the star is concealed by the light of the sun, he who sees

JESUS will probably neither see nor care to see David. Before us we have a description both of

the darkness and of the glory of the cross, the sufferings of CHRIST and the glory which shall

follow. Oh for grace to draw near and see this great sight! We should read reverently, putting off

our shoes from off our feet as Moses did at the burning bush, for if there be holy ground

anywhere in Scripture it is in this psalm." -- Charles H. Spurgeon

This is the only one of the Seven Words on the Cross recorded by both Mark and Matthew; the

same words occur in the opening sentences of the Twenty-second Psalm, yet neither evangelist

refers to them as a fulfilment of prophecy. After six hours of agony in body and soul on the

Cross this cry escaped our Saviour's lips. His first word was: "

Father, forgive them, for they

know not what they do

" (Luke 23:34) -- a prayer for pardon. His second word a promise of

peace; "

To day shalt thou be with me in paradise" (vs. 43). His third word one of tender

solicitude to and for His mother: "

Woman behold thy son ... [son] behold thy mother" (John

19:26), then the thick darkness fell. And before the three last words followed in rapid succession:


I thirst" (vs. 28), "It is finished," (vs. 30), "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit"

(Luke 23:46) -- there was the cry of anguish. "

My God, my God, why? ..."

"For none of the ransomed ever knew

How deep were the waters crossed,

Or how dark was the night that the Lord passed through

Ere He found the sheep that was lost."

That there is something of singular force and feeling in these words of JESUS on the Cross is

evident from the fact that the two evangelists have studiously, and only in this case, given the

very words of the language our Lord used: "

Eli, Eli, lama Sabachthani."

Nowhere else, moreover, in Scripture do we find this repetition of the words save in the

Messianic Psalm. The cry expresses suffering that was never at any other time felt in this world

and never will be again.

There is a tradition, referred to by Ludolf the Carthusian, as early as the fourteenth century, that

our Lord, hanging on the Cross, began repeating the words of the Twenty-second Psalm and

continued His meditation until He came to the fifth verse of the Thirty-first Psalm: "

Into thine

hand I commit my spirit


Aside from this fancy, there is no doubt that in the Psalms, which were in CHRIST's heart and

often on His lips, we find an interpretation of His life and His Messianic consciousness as in no

other book. It is true that we have in this Twenty-second Psalm a description of the crucifixion in

language that makes one ask is it history or prophecy?

Strauss and others indeed say the gospel account of this incident is therefore obviously mythical,

and it never took place but was dragged in to prove the fulfilment of another Old Testament


To the believer, however, this cry is a revelation of the deep suffering and anguish our Saviour

bore, and a proof of His infinite love for sinners. It challenges us, with all the saints, to be strong

to comprehend "

what is the length and breadth and height and depth of the love of GOD

which passeth knowledge


If the Cross is the central Truth of the New Testament, this cry is the heart of this truth and its

deepest expression. This is the holy of holies to the reverent reader of the story of the passion.

Spurgeon rightly says: "We must lay emphasis on every word of this saddest of all utterances.


Why?' What is the great cause of such a strange fact as for GOD to leave His own SON at such

a time and in such a plight? There was no cause in Him, why then was He deserted? '

Hast,' it is

done, and the Saviour is feeling its dread effect as He asks the question; it is surely true, but how

mysterious! It was no threatening of forsaking which made the great Surety cry aloud, He

endured that forsaking in very deed. '

Thou': I can understand why traitorous Judas and timid

Peter should be gone, but Thou, My GOD, My faithful friend, how canst Thou leave me? This is

the worst of all, yea, worse than all put together. Hell itself has for its fiercest flame the

separation of the soul from GOD. '

Forsaken': if Thou hadst chastened I might bear it, for Thy

face would shine; but to forsake me utterly, ah! why is this? '

Me': Thine innocent, obedient,

suffering SON, why leavest Thou Me to perish? A sight of self seen by penitence, and of JESUS

on the Cross seen by faith will best expound this question. JESUS is forsaken because our sins

had separated between us and our GOD."

To understand what suffering of body and mind and soul were in that cry of anguish we must

recall the circumstances.

Crucifixion was the most hideous torture devised by the old world and the extreme penalty of

Roman criminal justice. It included physical agony and disgrace. The former due to the unnatural

posture of the body, the throbbing pain of nail-pierced hands and feet, feverish thirst and gradual

exhaustion and death.

The disgrace was doubly so to one of the Jewish race, for the Cross was an object of horror and

typical of GOD's curse: "

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a

curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree

" (Galatians 3:13)

and "

His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him

that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the

LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance

" (Deuteronomy 21:23).

Add to all this the awful contrast between CHRIST's holiness, innocence and divine dignity and

the brutal jeers, mockery and contempt hurled at the helpless victim by those that stood beneath

the Cross and even by those who hung at His side: "

The thieves also, which were crucified

with him, cast the same in his teeth

" (Matthew 27:44) and "And one of the malefactors which

were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us

" (Luke 23:39).

The chief priests led in mocking Him: "

And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also

with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the

chosen of God

" (Luke 23:35). And for answer there came gloom -- a supernatural darkness, over

all the scene from the sixth to the ninth hour. After these three hours of darkness and out of the

darkness of His lonely agony JESUS cried with a loud voice: "

My God, my God, why? ..."

Melancthon and other Reformers explain this cry as evidence that CHRIST experienced in His

human soul the divine wrath against sin.

Others say it was an indication that His political plans had failed, the cry of a deeply

disappointed patriot.

Others, including Schleiermacher, say it was the opening sentence of the great lamentation psalm

with its sublime conclusion, that JESUS uttered as proof of His Messiahship.

Meyer says that because of the agony of being rejected of men "His consciousness of union with

GOD was for the moment overcome."

Olhausen speaks of "actual, objective, momentary abandonment by GOD."

Dr. Philip Schaff sees in this experience of CHRIST an intensified renewal of His vicarious

sufferings: "It was a divine human experience of sin and death in their inner connection and

universal significance for the race by one who was perfectly pure and holy, a mysterious and

indescribable anguish of the body and soul in immediate prospect of, and in actual wrestling

with, death as the wages of sin and the culmination of all misery of man, of which the Saviour

was free, but which He voluntarily assumed from infinite love in behalf of the race."

Surely it was not, as Moslems often tell us, due to CHRIST's fear of death and lack of moral

courage to face the issue. Even the infidel, Jean Jacques Rousseau, knew better and exclaimed:

"If Socrates died like a philosopher, JESUS of Nazareth died like a GOD."

Without the belief that JESUS bore our sins in His body on the tree, without the acceptance of

the vicarious element in His death, the cry on the Cross is inexplicable. But if JESUS was the

Lamb of GOD and GOD laid on Him the iniquity of us all, we have a key to the mystery of such


If the death of CHRIST was only that of a great martyr for the truth the cry is strangely out of

place. But if He died, the just for the unjust, if "

He was made sin for us," then our own sins and

the sins of the whole world wrung from our Saviour the cry of anguish and loneliness.

What is the Atonement? "It is the satisfaction rendered to the justice of GOD for man's sin by the

substituted penal suffering of His well-beloved SON."

If we dislike such a theological definition we may find the same great truth expressed in the

liturgies of the Church used at the Lord's Supper, when we commemorate His death. What could

be more beautiful than the interpretation of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands: "We

believe that He suffered His blessed body to be nailed on the Cross that He might affix thereon

the handwriting of our sins; that He also took upon Himself the curse due to us that He might fill

us with His blessings. And humbled Himself unto the deepest reproach and pains of hell, both in

body and soul, on the tree of the Cross when He cried out with a loud voice, '

My God, my God,

why has thou forsaken me?

' that we might be accepted of GOD and never be forsaken of Him."

In the last stanza of Mrs. Browning's poem on the grave of Cowper, we have the same thought:

"Yes, once Immanuel's orphan cry His universe hath shaken,

It went up single, echoless, My GOD I am forsaken.

It went up, from the holy lips, amid the lost creation,

That of the lost no son should use those words of desolation."


He hath laid on him the iniquities of us all" --

the guilt,

the stain,

the hurt,

the remorse.

All our failings,












We must not shrink from the awful implications of this fact. We shall never "pour contempt on

all our pride" until we realize that we can only be reconciled to GOD because "

For he hath

made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of

God in him

" (I Corinthians 5:21). "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being

made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree

" (Galatians


It was not for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world that He was forsaken of GOD. All

the sin and shame of the ages in some sense passed over Him, all its waves and its billows; deep

calling unto deep. The crude lusts and darkness of ancient races back to primeval time; the long

waywardness of Israel; the pride of Nineveh and Tyre; the cruelty of Egypt and Babylon; the

injustice of society; the crimes of the market, the brothel and the battlefield; the betrayals of

Judas and the denials of Peter and all who ever forsook JESUS; of Pilate, of Herod and of

Caiaphas, the sins of humanity past, present and future.

In some mysterious way all this pressed upon His soul and gave birth to the cry of anguish. The

mind which was the very tabernacle of GOD was haunted in the garden and on Calvary by the

awful spectre of a world of sin. So dark, so absolute, so real, was the torture of the Cross. The

sufferings of CHRIST's soul were the soul of His suffering.

"Well might the sun in darkness hide

And shut His glory in,

When CHRIST his mighty Maker died

For man, the creature's, sin."

"The death and sufferings of CHRIST was something very much more than suffering," says

Forsyth; "it was atoning action. At various stages in the history of the Church -- not the Roman

Catholic Church only but Protestantism also -- exaggerated stress has been laid upon the

sufferings of CHRIST. But it is not a case of what He suffered, but what He did.

CHRIST's suffering was so divine a thing because He freely transmuted it into a great act. It was

suffering accepted and transfigured by holy obedience under the conditions of curse and blight

which sin had brought upon man according to the holiness of GOD. The suffering was a sacrifice

to GOD's holiness. In so far it was penalty. But the atoning thing was not its amount or

acuteness, but its obedience, its sanctity."

Yet one shrinks from analyzing the cry on the Cross. After all has been said that men can say to

throw light on its significance it remains a mystery, the mystery of the Atonement. In what

intelligible sense could the infinite and loving Father forsake His only begotten SON, leaving

Him alone in darkness and dire need? There are some who are quite ready, too ready, to speak of

CHRIST as the object of Divine wrath; and yet without careful qualifications this remains a

thought painful beyond expression.

Surely never for a moment can this Divine sufferer have been the object of the Father's

displeasure -- He that came from Heaven to do His will, to execute the purpose of infinite love in

the redemption of a ruined world at whatever personal cost.

Never, on the contrary, was the thought of the Father fixed on the SON with more unqualified

approbation and intense affection: "

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down

my life, that I might take it again

" (John 10:17).

Never can He have been more thoroughly conscious that He was doing the Father's will and must

be approved and could never be wholly forsaken.

Also, there was summed up in this cry of anguish all the loneliness of JESUS in the days of His

flesh, a loneliness which culminated on the Cross. "

I have trodden the wine-press alone"

(Isaiah 63:3).

Lonely at His birth,

lonely in His silent years at Nazareth,

lonely in the desert and on the mountain-top.

His was the loneliness of misunderstanding,

the loneliness of leadership,

the loneliness of temptation,

the loneliness of prayer.

He was lonely in the crowd,

and lonely on the Mount of Transfiguration;

lonely in His grief and tears over Jerusalem;

most of all lonely and alone when in Gethsemane, at Gabbatha and on Golgotha.


Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled" (Matthew 26:56), "They hated me without a


." (John 15:25), "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:

when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his

days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand

" (Isaiah 53:10).

It was therefore CHRIST shared in the hiding of the Father's face which is the essential and the

final horror of sin. "

For he was made sin for us."

"I believe," says Robert Keable, speaking of this loneliness on the Cross, "that in a real sense He

was voicing the experience of His life, an experience borne hitherto by the Man of Sorrows in

the silence of His heart. No doubt it was intensified on Calvary, but the Lonely Man, who is

rejected by earth because He is sinless, is rejected by GOD because He is sin. Oh, unutterable

paradox of love! Oh, triumph of the wonder of His loneliness. At that ninth hour JESUS our

Lord is unutterably alone in the wide range of all that is."

"Praise to the Holiest in the height,

And in the depths be praise;

In all His words most wonderful

Most sure in all His ways.

O generous love! that He who smote

In Man, for man, the foe,

The double agony in Man

For man should undergo."

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Sermon Video:How God Word's Produces Are Work John Piper
Sermon Video:Jesus Christ In Romans Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Lionhearted Pastor John Piper
Sermon video:Marriage Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Marriage Pursuing Conformity to christ Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Pray Like This by Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Racial Diversity Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:The Light of The World Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:The Obedience of Faith Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:The Recession Pastor J Piper
Sermon Video:The Truth Will Set You Free Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:We Found The Messiah Pastor J Piper
Shared Intentions? Reflections on Inspiration and Interpretation in Light of Scripture's Dual Author
Sin and God's Gift Dr J Gresham Machen
Spanish Theology Video ,La Perspectiva Circunstancial:Revelacion y Situación
Spanish Theology VideoLa Perspectiva Normativa: Dios y Su Palabra
St Anselm R C Sproul
St Cyprian Epistle 1
Strange Fire by A W Pink
Studies In Acts Group
Studies In Matthew Group
Studies in Popular Islam Dr Samuel Zwemer
Suffering And Consolation Rev C H Spurgeon
Sufferring Christians by A W Pink
Systematic Theology DR Cheung
Testament Hebrew Lexicon
That the Scriptures Might Be Fulfilled Piper
The Atonement by Dr J Gresham Machen
The Attributes of God by A W Pink
The Bands of Brotherhood Dr R C Sproul
The Bible and Modern Criticism by Professor F Bettex
The Bible Is The Word Of God A W Pink
The Book of Daniel Professor Joseph Wilson
The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
The Cambridge 7
The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts: Deliverance and Damnation Display the Divine
The Children's crusade DR R C Sproul Jr
The Christian Faith DR Geerhardos Vos
The Christian in Complete Armour;William Gurnall, M.A.,
The Consecrated Life:The Life and Times of Francis Ridley Havergal by J J Burns
The Conversion of Dr Martin Luther
The Covenant Way Susan Hunt
The Cross by J C Ryle
The Cross John Newton 1725-1807
The Cross: A Call To The Fundamentals Of Religion J C Ryle
The Cup of Wrath Andrew Bonar
The Dangers of Mixing Law and Gospel Jason Stellman
The Dazzling Darkness of God’s Triune Love: Introducing Evangelicals to the Theology of Hans Urs von
The Death and Resurrection of Christ W. H. Griffith Thomas
The Death of Pride
The Deity of Christ & the Church Robert Peterson
The Divine Refuge Rev Charles Spurgeon
The Doctrinal Value of The First Chapters of Genesis Rev Dyson Hague
The Doctrinal Value of The First Chapters of Genesis Rev Dyson Hague
The Duties of Parents by Bishop J C Ryle
The Early Narratives of Genesis Professor James Orr
The End of Soap Oprah Dr Carl Trueman
The Excellence of Christ by Jonathan Edwards
The Faithful Promiser John MacDuff
The Fallacies of the Higher Criticism by Professor Franklin Johnson
The Fiture of Justification John Piper Book Review
The Fool's Creed DR Torrey
The Genesis of the New Faith Charles Cutler Torrey
The German Reformation part 1 DR Philip Schaff
The German Reformation part 2 Dr Philip Schaff
The Glory of God In Preaching Darrell W. Johnson
The Glory of The Cross Part 1 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 10 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 2 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross Part 3 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross Part 4 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 5 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 7 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of the Cross part 8 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 9 Samuel Zwemer
The Goodness of The Law DR R C Sproul
The Gospel and the Poor Tim Keller
The Gospel of John A W Pink
The Gospel of John Set Free: Preaching without Anti-Judaism.
The Grace of Cheerful Giving Frank Cavalli
The Heart of The Gospel DR A T Pierson
The Historical Basis Of The Historical Faith by DR James Denney
The History of Justification by faith James Buchanan
The History of The Higher Criticism by Canon Dyson Hague
The Holy Spirit A W Pink
The Holy Spirit Rev C H Spurgeon
The Idea of Biblical Theology DR Geerhardus Vos
The Importance of Christian Scholarship Dr J G Machen
The Importance of Prayer DR A Torrey
The Internal Evidence For The Fourth Gospel Canon G Osborne
The Jewish World In The Days Of Christ Dr Edersheim
The Kingdom of God DR Geerhardus Vos
The Koran H A R Gibb
The Life of Adoniran Judson
The Life of Dr Martin Luther part 1 by Philip Melanchon
The Life of Dr Martin Luther part 2 by Philip Melancthon
The Life of Elijah by A W Pink
The Life of Faith A W Pink
The Life of John Bunyan
The Life of King David A W Pink
The Life of King David part 2 A W Pink
The Life Of Matthew Henry
The Life of Stephen Charnock by William Symington
The Magic Bullet Sebastian Heck
The Mohammedan Controversy (1897) Dr Samuel Zwemer
The Mosaic Authorship by Professor George Wright
The Most Important Question DR Torrey
The Need For Revival Dr A Torrey
The New Life Andrew Murray
The Oppresion of Man Thomas Manton
The Origin of Paul's Religion by Dr J G Machen
The Origin of the 'ID AL-ADHA Dr Richard Bell
The Origins of The Qur'an Rev W Goldsack
The Pastor and the Funeral by Harry Reeder
The Peace that Passes R.C. Sproul Jr.
The Persecution of the Church by Dr Philip Schaff
The Person of Christ Dr John Owen
The Place of Christ In The New Testament by Dr James Denney
The Pleasures of God video 4 Pastor John Piper
The Pleasures of God Video 1 John Piper
The Pleasures of God Video 2 Pastor John Piper
The Pleasures of God video 3 Pastor John Piper
The Pleasures of God video 5 Pastor John Piper
The Power of Prayer Andrew Murray
The Power of The Word Of God R A Torrey
The Precious Gift of Baby Talk John Piper
The Rainbow In The Clouds John MacDuff
The Reformation by Dr Philip Schaff
The Refutatation of Dispensationalism by A W Pink
The Resurrection of Christ Dr J G Machen
The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ John Calvin
The Secret of Blessing DR R A Torrey
The Secret of Blessing DR R A Torrey
The Soul-Shaping Reality of the Gospel: An Interview with David Wells
The Spirit of Rebellion R C Sproul jr
The Study Bible developed and located around the world!
The Tabernacle In The Wilderness by Professor David Heagle
The Testimony of Christ To The Old Testement William Cavan DD
The Theology of John Calvin by DR Philip Schaff
The Theology of Romans by Dr Charles Hodge
The Things of God R.C. Sproul
The Triune God: Good, Beautiful, and True Harry Reeder
The Unholy Pursuit of God in Moby Dick Dr R C Sproul
The Vanity of the world Rev John Newton
The Victory Parade We Don't deserve R C Sproul Jr
The Way of Holiness Jonathan Edwards
The Way The World Thinks DR A Mohler
The Westminster Assembly Project Chad Dixhoorn
The Will of God In Prayer DR A Torrey
The Witness of Paul by Dr J G Machen
The Word Of God B B Warfield
The Work Of The Holy Spirit Dr A Kuyper
The Works Flavius Josephus
The Year in Books Keith Mathison
Theological Articles
Theology in the time of Charlemagne
This Isn’t Going to Be As Easy As It Looks by Keith Mathison
Time to (Re)Discover Hebrews Sinclair Ferguson
To Be Deep in History Keith Mathison
Truly Reformed Theology Burk Parsons
Truth of the Christian Religion in Six Books by Hugo Grotius. Corrected and Illustrated with Notes b
Two Thumbs Down by R.C. Sproul Jr.
United in the (whole) Truth Burk Parsons
Unqualified Christians Burk Parsons
'Uthman and the Recension of the Koran Leon Caetani
Vehicles for Giving the Self: An Interview with Michael Card
Video on the Prosperity gospel John Piper
Video:The Prosperity gospel Pastor John Piper
Video:The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World Dr D. A .Carson
Walking With God George Whitefield
Water of Life John Bunyan
Way to Christ Boehme, Jakob (1575-1624)
We Believe the Bible and You Do Not Keith Mathison
Western Seminary Missions Conference
What is Christianity? Dr J G Machen
What makes the Apostles Creed so special? By Simon Peter Sutherland
When To Pray Dr A Torrey
Who Belongs To The Church? by John Calvin
Who Is My Brother Dr R C Sproul jr
Why Jesus Christ Died Rev T .T. Shields Famous Canadian Preacher
With Passion R C Sproul jr
Work of Jesus Christ John Bunyan
Writing Fo God 's Glory Burk Parson
Young Women,Idolatry and The Powerful Gospel Elyse