My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

A Worship Service for March 22, 2020

WELCOME

Good morning. It’s time to worship the God and Father of our Lord Jesus.

Today, we will continue on in our series focusing on the last seven statements that Jesus made as He hung upon the cross.

I pray that your time spent here will enable you to express your appreciation for all that God in Christ has done for you. And I hope that when you have finished worshipping, you will have a greater sense of how deeply God loves you.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Obviously, we do not know when we will be able to resume corporate worship. But rest assured, as soon as we are able, WE WILL GATHER TOGETHER AGAIN! And I, for one, am already looking forward to that day with great expectation!

Until that day comes, we will have to be creative. For today, let us open our hearts to praising and hearing the Word of the Lord by reading through the worship service. Please take advantage of the opportunity to read, pause, reflect and pray when you feel led; knowing that “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).

Someone will be at the church today, between 12 noon and 1:00 pm for people who wish to drop off their offering. Look for a lockbox on a stand in the lobby. Lift the lid and drop it in. These will be collected for safe-keeping at 1:00 pm. If you wish to send it in the mail, the address is CrossPointe Community Church, P. O. Box 126, Chippewa Lake, OH 44215-0126.

Randy is hosting a meeting of community and church leaders at the church Wednesday evening at 7 pm to discuss ways to provide assistance to those in need in our community. Please pray that this small group of people will be filled with God’s wisdom.

At the present time, we will proceed with Friday’s Community Meal, albeit, with a caveat. We will not have people in the building. Rather, we will invite people to pull in to the parking lot and turn on their headlights. Those who are going to serve will determine how many meals are needed per car. John and Amy will have prepared a chicken cacciatore dinner which will be containerized and handed to them in their cars. We are still in need of at least 4 more volunteers who are willing to car-hop. Bring your roller skates if you wish! Lol! Note it is possible that this event could be canceled should the situation demand it.

Now just for old time’s sake, here’s a couple of puns for all you lexophiles:

I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid,
but he says he can stop any time.  

A thief who stole a calendar got . . . twelve months.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles . . . U.C.L.A.

This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met… herbivore.  LOL!

Lord, open our hearts to worship You now.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:1-7

SONGS OF GOD’S LOVE

Sing (It Used to be Darkness)

It used to be darkness without you.
I lived my life in blindness, but now I am found

And I’ll sing, sing, ‘I love You so.’
And I’ll sing because the world can’t take away Your love.

You found me in weakness, broken.
You came to me in kindness, and now I live.

And I’ll sing, sing, ‘I love You so.’
And I’ll sing because the world can’t take away Your love.
And I’ll sing, sing I love You so.
And I’ll sing because the world can’t take away Your love.

I’ll give my life for you Lord, for all You’ve done.
I’ll give my life for you Lord, for all You’ve done.
I’ll give my life for you Lord, for all You’ve done.
I’ll give my life for you Lord.

And I’ll sing, sing, ‘I love You so.’
And I’ll sing because the world can’t take away Your love.
And I’ll sing, sing I love You so.
And I’ll sing because the world can’t take away Your love.

© 2003 Hillsong Publishing (Admin. in Us and Canada at EMICMG Publishing.com)
CCLI License No. 1843349

Your Everlasting Love

Your everlasting love is higher, higher, higher than the sky.
Your everlasting love is higher, higher, higher than the sky,
Higher than the sky,
Oh the wonder of Your everlasting love is higher than the sky!

Higher than the heavens above is the glory of Your wonderful love
I’m lost in the mystery of Your everlasting love, Your everlasting love.

Your everlasting love is deeper, deeper, deeper than the sea.
Your everlasting love is deeper, deeper, deeper than the sea,
Deeper than the sea.
Oh the wonder of Your everlasting love is deeper than the sea!

Higher than the heavens above is the glory of Your wonderful love
I’m lost in the mystery of Your everlasting love, Your everlasting love.

Your everlasting love is reaching, reaching, reaching out to me.
Your everlasting love is reaching, reaching, reaching out to me,
Reaching out to me.
Oh the wonder of Your everlasting love is reaching out to me!

Higher than the heavens above is the glory of Your wonderful love
I’m lost in the mystery of Your everlasting love, Your everlasting love.

© 1993 Maranatha Praise, Inc.
CCLI License No. 1843349

OPENING PRAYER

Gracious God our Father, we thank You ever so much for Your everlasting love! For when we needed You to fulfill our greatest need, You came through by providing forgiveness through Your Son Jesus. Be so kind to receive our worship as once again we give our lives to You Lord for all You’ve done. For the sake of Christ, Amen.

THE GIVING OF THE LORD’S OFFERING

PRAYER SONG

My Peace

My peace I give unto you.
It’s a peace that the world cannot give.
It’s a peace that the world cannot understand.
Peace to know, peace to live.
My peace I give unto you.

My love I give unto you.
It’s a love that the world cannot give.
It’s a love that the world cannot understand.
Love to know, love to live.
My love I give unto you.

© 1975, 1980 and this arrangement © 1997
Kenwood Music. Admin. by Maranatha! Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

THE MORNING PRAYER

Alan Robbins

Please join me in prayer.

Dear God, Our Heavenly Father,

The events of the last several days has had great impact upon our lives, our country and the world we live in. During this Lenten season…please don’t let us lose focus that Jesus is our guiding light to what is genuinely important to us and the world around us. Jesus alone will give us the answers and direction on how we should pursue in our daily lives and how we can carry God’s message to those in need.

Let us remember in our prayers, our actions, and our deeds those that are not as fortunate and hopes that we can share God’s Grace with them.

Lord we know you will listen, help and guide us as we offer our prayers for
those that are ill
those that are hurt
those that are grieving in any way
and also prayers for our own needs.

We pray for:
Our Church
Our Church Leaders
Our Members
Our Community
Our Families
Our Country
Our World

We pray to do the right thing and give the gift of God’s Grace, Peace, and Love to our community and the world in which we live.

For these things we pray, Amen

THE SCRIPTURES

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Our ancestors trusted in you,
and you rescued them.
They cried out to you and were saved.
They trusted in you and were never disgraced.
But I am a worm and not a man.
I am scorned and despised by all!
Everyone who sees me mocks me.
They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
“Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much,
let the Lord rescue him!”
Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb
and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.
I was thrust into your arms at my birth.
You have been my God from the moment I was born.
Do not stay so far from me,
for trouble is near, and no one else can help me.
My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls;
fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
Like lions they open their jaws against me,
roaring and tearing into their prey.
My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax, melting within me.
My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs;
an evil gang closes in on me.
They have pierced my hands and feet.
I can count all my bones.
My enemies stare at me and gloat.
They divide my garments among themselves
and throw dice for my clothing.

Psalm 22:1-18

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”

Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

Mark 15:25-39

THE MESSAGE

Randy K’Meyer

“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

90% of Bible translations render this puzzling saying of Jesus from the cross as, “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” The Greek meaning of the word translated to ‘forsaken’ is: “left in a condition of lack; hence, to feel forsaken (helpless), like left in dire circumstances. It’s everyday use: leave in the lurch, abandon (one who is in straits), or desert.” 1

Thus four translations substitute the word ‘abandon’ for ‘forsaken.’ And the Contemporary English Version has, “My God, My God, why have You deserted me?”

I mentioned that these words are puzzling words because according to the scriptures Jesus and His Father have been together forever. John says that Jesus had shared His Father’s glory before the world began (17:5).

While He was on the earth, Jesus enjoyed unbroken communion with His Father:

The Father and I are One.

(John 10:30)

The Father is in Me and I am in the Father.

(John 10:38b)

My Father who lives in Me does His work through Me.

(John 14:10b)

In His high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus says,

as You are in Me Father, and I am in You.

(John 17:21b)

But here at the cross, it appears that the Father has abandoned the Son: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken, abandoned, deserted Me?!”

We echo Jesus’ cry; “Why?” What lies behind these puzzling words?

Some would offer what we might consider a COMFORTING view, noting that Jesus is quoting scripture.

You just read Psalm 22. You know that it paints a rather remarkable picture of crucifixion. And not just any crucifixion, but one in which several details concerning the actual crucifixion of Jesus are set forth in remarkable fashion.

And so it has been suggested by some that Jesus recited, not only the first verse, but rather the entire Psalm to Himself.

They note that though it begins in dejection, Psalm 22 ends in triumph. So, some say, Jesus is repeating the Psalm to Himself, as a picture of his own situation and as a song of His trust and confidence in God.

I have been with people who have been on their death bed. On those occasions, I am often asked to read scripture. Sometimes I will read the 23rd Psalm. Sometimes I will read Romans 8 which ends with, “nothing can ever separate us from the love of God which has been revealed in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 8:39). Once I was even asked to read from the Book of Revelation.

I have also been with people who near the end have been able to recite the 23rd Psalm or the Lord’s prayer. In either case, the people involved have drawn a tremendous amount of comfort from dying so near to the heart of scripture.

So why not the Son of God? Perhaps His purpose is to draw comfort from the reciting of the Word of God.

On the other hand, there are those who maintain a more PRAGMATIC view.

They see Jesus, not at all drawing comfort from reciting the Psalm, as much as One who is actually expressing His deep anguish and sorrow that God has left Him in the lurch.

William Barclay, for example, says that “Jesus would not be Jesus unless He had plumbed the innermost depths of human experience.” 2

And let’s face it, in our human experience there are times when bitter tragedy strikes and we too feel that God has forgotten us. Perhaps you may know someone who feels that God has forgotten us in this present crisis we find ourselves in.

I remember being with a particular man near death; a good friend of mine, a believer in Jesus with a very strong faith whose physical pain became so overpowering that without the administering of morphine could only curse God for allowing him to suffer that way. Then he would get the injection and you could see the tension diminish and he would look at me with tears in his eyes and say, “Randy, I’m sorry, you know I didn’t mean to say that.”

Every time I read or am reminded of these haunting words spoken by our Lord as He suffered upon the cross, I cannot help but think of those moments spent with Harry.

The text says that after enduring six hours on the cross, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Reciting the Word of the Lord for comfort? Maybe.

Expressing anguish? I’ll leave that for you to decide for yourself.

Or perhaps the THEOLOGICAL explanation is best.

The Bible teaches that God is holy, a word that has more to do with something or someone being separated from something or someone else than it does with moral purity. Saying that God is holy is to understand that God and sin do not mix. The holiness of God requires that He be completely separated from anyone who sins.

In fact, the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk goes so far as to say of God, “He is of purer eyes than to even look at sin” (1:13).

And so it was, because the Savior, according to the prophet, Isaiah, “was being crushed for our iniquities,” according to the Apostle, Paul, “had become a curse for us,” according to the Apostle Peter, “bore our sins in His body on the cross,” THAT THE HOLINESS OF GOD DEMANDED THAT HE TURN HIS BACK ON EVEN HIS OWN SON!!!

In other words, in these moments on the cross, all the sins of the world’s humanity from the beginning to the ending of time were impregnated into Jesus and He bore them.

It was in those moments, as Jesus was fulfilling what He came to do, that is take our sins upon Himself, in those moments, (how many moments, no one offers) the Father could not have fellowship with the Son.

The two who have been one, are now two. Jesus, who had been with God for eternity, now hangs alone. The Christ has been abandoned by God. The unity, for several horrible moments, is dissolved.

It is more than Jesus can take.

He watched in silence as those He loved ran away. He remained strong at the mock trials; withstood the beatings and crucifixion did not retaliate when the insults were hurled. But when God turned His head, it was more than He could handle. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Certainly there is much Biblical theology to merit this view, painting a picture of a holy God who does indeed completely separate Himself from sin.

As to an application of these words to our lives today I would offer this. Regardless of which explanation you choose; comforting, pragmatic, theological, it seems to me that these words picture for us above all else just how very, very much JESUS LOVES US.

For Jesus knew all of this was coming! He knew He was going to suffer not only the beating with wooden rods, the humiliation of being stripped naked, spat upon, mocked and taunted, the excruciating pain of the 39 lashes with the lead-tipped whip, numerous blows to His head and body, six hours of crucifixion, and perhaps the most painful of all the feeling of being abandoned by His heavenly Father. And yet . . . He subjected Himself to it anyway. For you, for me.

He willingly suffered for us! Why? Because He loves us so!

Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end.

(John 13:1)

Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

(John 15:13)

He also said, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” But it was not possible that His friends be saved unless He drained that awful cup. Because there was no other who could drink it, He drained it! Blessed be His name!

I close with a rather long, but timely illustration.

“The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio. You hear a little blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It’s not influenza, but three or four fellows are dead, and they’re sending some doctors over there to investigate it.

You don’t think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear another radio spot. Only they say it’s not three villagers, it’s 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it’s on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb; people are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. For it’s not just India; it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you’re hearing this story everywhere and they have coined it now as ‘the mystery flu.’

The President has made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, “How are we going to contain it?”

That’s when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen.

And that’s why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a French news program into English: “There’s a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu.” It has come to Europe. Panic strikes. As best they can tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don’t know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die.

Britain closes its borders, but it’s too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it’s Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: “Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing.”

Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about what if it comes to this country, and preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It’s the scourge of God.”

It’s Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and says, “Turn on a radio, turn on a radio.” And while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. “Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the mystery flu.” Within hours it seems, this thing just sweeps across the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California. Oregon. Arizona. Florida. Massachusetts. It’s as though it’s just sweeping in from the borders.

And then, all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made.

It’s going to take the blood of somebody who hasn’t been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: “Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken. That’s all we ask of you. And when you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospitals.”

Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they’ve got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your wife and your kids are out there, and they take your blood type and they say, “Wait here in the parking lot and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home.”

You stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on, and that this is the end of the world. Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, “Daddy, that’s me.”

Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute, hold it!” And they say, “It’s okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. We think he has got the right type.”

Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another … some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, “Thank you, sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine.”

As the word begins to spread all across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and laughing and crying. But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and you wife aside and says, “May we see you for a moment? We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor and we need … we need you to sign a consent form.”

You begin to sign and then you see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. “H-h-h-how many pints?” And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades and he says, “We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need it all!”

“But-but…”

“You don’t understand. We are talking about the world here. Please sign. We … we need it all … we need it all!”

“But can’t you give him a transfusion?”

“If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign? Would you sign?”

In numb silence you do.

Then they say, “Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?”

Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?” Can you take his hands and say, “Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?”

And when that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve … we’ve got to get started. People all over the world are dying.”

Can you leave? Can you walk out while he is saying, “Dad? Mom? Dad? Where are you going? Why are you leaving me?” 3

Perhaps II Corinthians 5:21 says it the best, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

In other words, it was God’s plan from the beginning for the one who never sinned, to bear the sins of humanity, so that we who are full of sin might be looked upon by the Father as sin-free!

Could there be a greater love than this? Thanks be to God for His marvelous grace!

CLOSING PRAYER

Our gracious and loving Heavenly Father . . .
(I encourage you to pray as you feel led).

CLOSING SONG OF GOD’S LOVE

How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure.
That He would give His only Son,
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away.
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there,
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life,
I know that it is finished,

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection,
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.

© 1995 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music
CCLI License No. 1843349

BENEDICTION

Now may the God of peace — who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood — may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

Hebrews 13:20-21

1 https://biblehub.com/greek/1459.htm

2 Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible Series: [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Westminster Press, © 1975]. Page

3 https://bible.org/illustration/mystery-flu

Randy K'Meyer

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