Today’s reading covers the end of the Gospel of Matthew and half of the Gospel of Mark. There is so much to soak up between those pages. But the thing that I was struck by the most in today’s reading came early on. In Matthew 27 we read about the final hours of Jesus’ crucifixion as he hung bleeding on the cross. In those moments the human part of him was in excruciating pain and anguish. Before he breathed his last, “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” -which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) A few verses later scripture says that Jesus cried out once more and then he gave up his spirit. He died. Notice it didn’t say he was killed. It says he gave up …which implies he willingly gave it up. But where was God? Did the Father forsake the Son? No. He was there. In fact, the next sentence says that in that moment the curtain in the temple was torn, the earth shook, and dead men in graves rose up and walked out of their tombs. Even in that moment of darkness life sprung up. In those moments people who were watching including the guards put their faith in Jesus and said, “Surely He was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:54)
Where was God during all of this? He was in the same place he is when bad things happen to you and me. He was there just like he is here with us today. He is sovereign…He is with us…He is never failing…He is always loving…He is Lord. He was in control just as he always is…and He won the victory on that day.
A common phrase that people throw around these days for political gain is, “LOVE WINS.” Let me tell you…that first Easter weekend 2000+ years ago…was when LOVE WON. Love won not because of an earthy victory or political agenda. Love won 2000 years ago because God is Love (1 Corinthians 13). We only know love because of God (1 John 4:19). And on that day, God won…Love won. Death was swallowed up in victory. Jesus gave himself up…he gave up his spirit and died. He died that we might live. He rose again on the third day that we might have new, abundant and free lives to give him glory and live with Him forever.
May we all, like the people who witnessed it first hand say, “Surely He was the Son of God!”