45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” 55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. The Burial of Jesus 57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
God covers the earth with darkness while Jesus takes on the sin of the world. Not only is he in excruciating pain, enduring one of the most painful executions the Roman Empire could give, but he cries out in complete separation from his Father. The physical state he is in and the pressure on his lungs is so great, speaking at all must have been difficult, much less crying out to God.
Jesus quotes Psalm 22, a Psalm of David, which prophesied many events that happened during the crucifixion. He asks God why he’s been forsaken. For the first time in his life, he feels cut off from the favor and fellowship of God as he takes on the sins of the whole world.
Then at the ninth hour, around three in the afternoon, he gives up his spirit. It’s important to note that at the ninth hour the Jews would offer a daily evening sacrifice. The curtain between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place of the Temple, an area that only the High Priest was allowed to enter on the Day of Atonement once a year, suddenly tore itself in two from the top to bottom. There is no longer separation between God and His people. All of this symbolism is God’s way of showing us that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice.
Jesus’s suffering was great, and his sacrifice was final. He took on sin in its entirety and left nothing out. Our sin brings us shame as we feel that separation, the fellowship with God temporarily broken, but we bear none of the weight of the sacrifice. Forgiveness is offered freely and living in sin or in shame from sin is rejecting all that Jesus endured on the cross. When I take on that burden, I act as though I have to do more, and Jesus’s sacrifice was not enough.
Today, remember the suffering that Jesus endured on the cross and thank him for his sacrifice and forgiveness of sins.