About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloe, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!?”
The words above are familiar to most Christians. They were spoken by Jesus on the cross just before He died. On the evening previous to this Jesus had been turned over to the authorities by a “friend”. Another of his “friends” had disowned him. He had been falsely accused, spit upon, and made fun of. A crown of thorns had been pressed into his head. He had been beaten and in a weakened condition had been forced to carry his own cross. He was tortured by having his hands and feet nailed to that cross, and was then left to die. He felt the pain of being desperately thirsty and not being able to drink.
Jesus, the innocent Son of God, suffered all of this because of his love for us. He was able to endure the physical punishment and the humiliation without crying out or pleading with his captors, but when forsaken by God his Father, he cried out in desperation. We read in Isaiah 53:7: He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Our loving Savior Jesus could withstand human punishment, but when separated from his Heavenly Father he cried out in agony.
There is a very strong message here for us. When Jesus cried out in agony, he was suffering the pangs of hell. Hell is a place where there is complete separation from God’s presence. We cannot even imagine the despair and loneliness that Jesus felt at that moment.
Our lives here on earth are often filled with heartache, sorrow and pain. The problems we experience in this life however cannot be compared to being completely separated from God in Hell. Here on earth believers and unbelievers alike receive blessings and gifts from God. All people enjoy the beauty of nature. All have felt the warmth of the summer sunshine. We have all smelled the fresh air and heard the birds singing on a spring morning. We have all seen the winter sunshine sparkling on freshly fallen snow. Most of us have seen the beauty of the mountains, which God created, and the vastness of the oceans. We all have material blessing, which help to make our lives easier and more enjoyable.
In this life believers and unbelievers alike experience good and bad, happiness and sadness. In hell however there will be no happiness. Hell will be the ultimate punishment for those who don’t believe in Jesus as their Savior. The presence of God will not be there. Without God there is no happiness, only sorrow and trouble and pain.
Jesus gives us an idea of what hell is like in Mark 9:47-49 when he says: And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. Everyone will be salted with fire.
As a Christian I consider it not only a privilege, but also my duty to reach out in love to those who do not know Jesus. Hell is a very serious matter. Our time of Grace can be snatched away from us at any moment. Life here on earth is very fragile. Because of this I will continue to lovingly tell all who I meet of the hope they have in Jesus. This life on earth is not all there is.
God…wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3,4)
By Kristeen – To God be the Glory!