The earth shook (07-04-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 113:5,7-9
Your word, Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
Bible Reading: Matthew 27:45-46, 50-52
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?"
(which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.
The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
On June 28th 1914 a man was shot dead. His death led to the death of 20 million people and the injury of a further 20 million over the next four years. The man was the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, his death resulted in World War 1. One small action can have enormous consequences.
On the first Good Friday one man was crucified on a cross. The impact was enormous in heaven, on earth and under the earth. God the Son was dead. There was an eclipse of the sun and darkness over the land, the earth shook in a violent earthquake, holy people were raised from the dead and the temple curtain, that symbolic barrier between God and humanity, was torn in two from top to bottom. It was as though the whole created order was thrown into a convulsion.
I wonder if we will ever understand the depth of the interrelationships between God, the heavens, the earth and mankind, and the enormity of what happened on the cross when the Creator of the world died so that you and I could live.
On the cross Jesus felt the forsakenness that we should feel as our sin separates us from a Holy God. But we are not forsaken. God saw us in our sin and came to rescue us; the word ‘Saviour’ can also be translated, ‘Rescuer’.
Not only are we not forsaken, we are actually welcomed into God’s presence. God is no longer ‘behind the curtain’ in the Holy of Holies, instead we have direct access to him through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross.
I wonder if there times when you feel forsaken by God, times when you feel unworthy, insignificant or unnoticed. When this happens, look to Jesus on the cross carrying your sin, feeling your forsakenness and stretching out his arms in love, to welcome you into his presence.
The death of Jesus shook the heavens and the earth. And God reached out to you and to me.
Almighty God, it is a mystery what you did for me on the cross, but I thank you that through it I am welcomed into your presence.
Behold the author of our salvation