Indescribable, unfathomable love

Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 27 Jul 2014

God’s word is amazing. You cannot fathom its height and depth and width.
Once Luther said he tried to think on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus intellectually, but he he soon realised that it was too high and deep and wide.

Matthew 27:45-46

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

The sixth hour referred to 12 noon, since the Jews’ day start at 6 in the morning. So from 12 to 3 in the afternoon there was total darkness.

A certain intellectual living at that time made the statement that either it was the end of the world or the Creator was in anguish. He got hold of a mystery.

When Jesus was crucified, two murderers were also crucified with Him, one on each side. The one reviled Jesus and cursed but the other begged Jesus to remember him and Jesus gave him that promise that he would be with Him in paradise that day (Luke 23:43).

While Jesus was in that anguish and pain on the Cross, and mocked by many in the crowd, His mother was before Him and He took care of her by saying to John His disciple, ‘behold your mother’ , and to His mother, ‘behold your son’ (John 19:26-27). We notice also that James the brother of Jesus didn’t react, as many of us would have, with jealousy.

Can you think what it must have been like when God forsook His Son, and Jesus cried out, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’

We could speak of all the pain and agony He went through, but think of this that His Father forsook Him! Why? Because of your and my sin. He became sin for us.

We read in Habakkuk that God is so Holy that He cannot look upon sin (Hab 1:13).

Jesus is God and He was with His Father for all eternity, but it was the first time ever that His Father forsook Him.

If you read Ps 22 you will realise what He went through and that He even went to hell for you and me. That reminds us of the rich man in hell that begged Abraham for a drop of water. We read in Ps 22 that all the moisture of His body was drained (Ps 22:14-15). He was chastised, stricken, cursed like the people in hell. You can imagine the great pain and suffering He wenth through in hell, for you and me so we don’t have to go through it in hell.

This matter is beyond description. He went through it all for you and me.

The psalms were written thousands of years before, but David was inspired to write it down as a prophesy of what Jesus would go through for us.

According to Jewish tradition they never crucified anyone, but stoned a person that was condemned to death. Yet Jesus was crucified as was prophesied.

When Jesus took our sins upon Himself the Father couldn’t look upon it anymore and turned His back on Jesus. Jesus drank the cup of your sin, your anger and irritability. It’s written that He could count the bones in His body (Ps 22:17) because of your sin, the drugs you took, your arrogance and stealing. His sweatdrops became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44).

His love is amazing! He went through all of this to save you and me!

That’s why He says that he that loves father and mother, wife and children more than Me is not worthy of Me (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26).

Now today Jesus is still thirsty – thirsty for all those that are still lost in their sins. Maybe they’ve heard the Gospel but haven’t responded or maybe they’ve never heard about Him.

What about you? Do you also experience His thirst? If you are saved but you have no feeling for the lost then your profession is humbug.

If you have seen Christ on the Cross and He has changed you then your heart will go out to the next person that they too might receive what you’ve received. And when you see the evil they do then you will reach out to them that they might be saved.

The first Sunday after DL Moody got converted he took 30 people with him to church. Jesus must’ve meant something to him. During those days you had to book your seat in church. Moody booked two rows and kept his word and filled those benches the following Sunday.

Jesus’s suffering included that His tongue stuck to the roof of His mouth for thirst (Ps 22:15).

After the three hours of darkness Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘it is finished’ , and then the sun shone again. He had overcome. He had overcome death, sin, hell and the devil.

Do you understand the greatness of this matter? Luther was right that one cannot comprehend the greatness of this matter.

He also proved His complete victory by the resurrection from the dead.

When God had forsaken Him He called His Father God, but when He had gotten the victory He called God His Father again. He was united with His Father once again.

What does He mean to you? Do you understand the work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross? He drank that cup for you and me.

May we have eyes to see and ears to hear. May the matter of the Cross not be foolishness to you but the power of God unto salvation.


German translation: