Matthew 27:45-56 Divine Infant: Born to Die

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,[c] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[d]

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[e] 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,[f] and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Divine Infant:  Born to Die

Genesis have made some beautiful music, especially in their earlier years with Peter Gabriel on lead vocals.  I used to listen to it as a teen and be transported to a land of butterflies and fairies, as Phil Collins might say.  A line popped out from the lyrics as I listened back then and comes to mind now:

Once a Jesus suffered
Heaven could not see him.
And now my ship is sinking
The captain stands alone.
A pawn on a chessboard
A false move by God will
Now destroy me
But wait on the horizon
A new dawn seems to be rising
Never to recall this
Passerby born to die.

The song is called Dusk and seems to be the ramblings of a person on the cusp of death.  They recall that Jesus once suffered as they do.  Like Jesus, they are a passerby born to die.  However, unlike Jesus they will be forever forgotten.  God holds the power to create, to kill and to destroy.  In this season of Christmas we remember the greatest of creative miracles.  God overshadowed a virgin and His life became human in her.  This was not ‘sex’ in the way we use the word.  This was a purposeful begetting of a life where the eternal second person of the Trinity became Emmanuel, God with us.  He was Joshua/Yeshua/Jesus, the LORD saves.  His arrival was peace on earth, good will to men.  His death would be propitiation, appeasement of God’s divine judgement on sin.  His resurrection would be the first birth into new life.

Did Jesus know who he was when he arrived?  No.  He wasn’t mulling over divine thoughts about justification, redemption, and propitiation when he came from the womb.  His destiny unfolded before him as it unfolded before the disciples.  His mother knew something special was in the offing.  However, no-one could have known the importance of this precious life as it lay newly begotten in the manger.  The all powerful God had emptied himself.  He took on the genuine life of a human with all its dependency and frailty.  Then he became a passerby born to die.


  1. What did Jesus cry out?
  2. How does this relate to Psalm 22?
  3. Why would the people who were there at the crucifixion still look to see if Elijah would come?
  4. How does Jesus’ death help a person understand Christmas?
  5. How does The Holly and the Ivy tie Christmas to Easter?  Could you sing it?  Go on – it’s Christmas Eve.

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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2 Responses to Matthew 27:45-56 Divine Infant: Born to Die

  1. Christian Abbott says:

    Faith and Learning Extra Credit

    1. What did Jesus cry out?
    Jesus cried out Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    2. How does this relate to Psalm 22
    Psalm 22 is referring to Jesus, it is a psalm that talks about Jesus on the cross, it is prophetic. Jesus quotes this song on the cross. (Psalm 22:1) This song portrays Jesus’ agony and what occurs on Golgatha

    3. Why would the people who were there at the crucifixion sill look to see if Elijah would come?

    They wait because the belief of the Jews was that Elijah would come again. Furthermore, they mistook Jesus saying Eloi, Eloi, for possibly Eli, Eli, or Elijah . And it was a common Jewish belief that Elijah would return before the coming of the Messiah. So they were waiting to see if Elijah would come to save Jesus, the Messiah. (summarized from pg. 514 in A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels: Volume I by James Hastings)

    4. How does Jesus death help a person understand Christmas?

    Because when understanding that Jesus came to earth as a baby, you must also realize why he came, what was is purpose. He came to die on the cross for our sins. And if we understand the purpose of Christ’s coming, it adds more gravity to him coming, and it also shows God’s love, that he would send his son to come to earth fully human, as a babe, and that he would then die for the sins of humanity years later.

    5. What is the Holly and the Ivy? Are you referring to the plants? I cannot sing however.

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