April 21 – LD 16, Day 6: The Fifth State of Humiliation
Saturday the 21st of April
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
Matthew 27:46 - “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
There is some confusion as a result of the placement of this final state of humiliation. The catechism is following the order of the Apostle’s Creed. While that order originally may have been due to confusion regarding the understanding of I Peter 3:18, we view it as the culmination of Jesus’ suffering. Rather than taking a chronological approach, the confession and catechism approach the humiliation from less to most severe.
Christ suffered the horror of hell while on the cross during the three hours of darkness. God plunged the whole world into darkness as Jesus sank into eternal death for you and me. Christ did not go to a place called hell, but hell came to Him. In the midst of His agonies He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Hell is devoid of God’s favor.
It may seem ridiculous to say that Jesus, in a few hours of suffering, could have experienced hell to its fullest for all the sins of His people. But remember that Jesus was very God and very man. The suffering was great, but because He was all powerful it was possible for Him to suffer the full measure of God’s wrath and curse in a short time.
We recoil in horror to think of the suffering that those who are without Christ will experience. Is there really a hell? Look at the cross of Jesus Christ and you will know the answer. But there is more! Look by faith and believe that Jesus will never let you experience that horror! He took it in its fullness so you can live!