As Jesus was dying on the cross, He said the words, "My God, My God, why have You abandoned me?" (Matthew 25:46). In this moment, Jesus expressed feeling a sense of loneliness that came with feeling distant from God the Father because He was taking on the sins of the world. Despite the emotional and physical despair that He must have been feeling, He willingly suffered and died so that He could save us from our sins and restore our relationship with God. Before He breathed His last breath, He said the words, "It is finished" (John 19:30). When He said this, He declared that everything necessary to bring about restoration between God and man had been done. Because of His perfect sacrificial death on the cross, we now have the opportunity to have a relationship with God.
Did you ever get lost as a kid? Where were you, and how did you react?
1. In your own words, define abandon.
2. When was a time you felt lonely or abandoned?
3. Read Matthew 27:45-50. Why did Jesus say the words, "My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?" What do you think Jesus was feeling in those moments?
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, 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. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit.
4. Have you ever considered what an amazing debt we owed because of our sin? Why or why not?
5. Read John 19:28-30. What do you think Jesus meant when He said the words "It is finished"?
6. Another way to translate Jesus' words, "It is finished," is "paid in full." How does this knowledge help your understanding of what Jesus meant when He said these words?
7. How does understanding your sin-debt change your understanding of Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross?
Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The news that Jesus has paid the price that we owed for our sin, death, on our behalf is the greatest news we will ever receive. Have you been sharing this news with others lately? Easter is a great time to reach out to friends and family members who do not know Christ. Think of a lost friend or family member who you can invite to join you for one of our Easter services. When you have decided who you will invite, tell your group members. As a group, make plans to be a part of our Stages of the Cross experience next week.
Wallpaper available for download in the Sagebrush App.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.