The Final Hour – Gospel in Life

The Final Hour

Tim Keller |  April 16, 2000

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  • Suffering
  • Atonement
  • Jesus' Death & Resurrection
Matthew 27:45-56
RS 112-4


Today’s passage comes from the Passion narrative found in the book of Matthew. Matthew is not just a reporter; he’s a teacher. He doesn’t just tell us that Jesus died, but he always builds the narratives around certain statements and sayings that interpret why Jesus died. It’s very typical today for people to say, “Well, the cross might mean something for you. You interpret it your way. I interpret it my way.” But the gospel writers don’t leave that as an option; they are very clear to let Jesus interpret the events that are happening.

In the last moment of Jesus’ life, there are three cries in the dark, and each tells us something about the meaning of the cross (vv.46, 50, 54). The first cry solves our modern dilemma; the second solves a human dilemma; and the third solves a personal dilemma.

Matthew 27:45–56

Matthew’s account of Jesus’ last moments on the cross gives us three important cries in the darkness. Each of these cries helps us understand the cross’s power to solve three big problems we all face: the modern problem, the human problem, and the personal problem. It’s like the cross is the answer to every major issue we come across.

1. The first cry and the modern problem

Jesus’ cries while he was being crucified show a deep spiritual pain that goes beyond physical or emotional hurt. This was his true suffering. He was abandoned by God, feeling a sorrow that was endless and limitless, all to save us. When we grasp this, it changes how we see the world. It gives us a stronger answer to why we see suffering and injustice and wonder where God is.

2. The second cry and the human problem

When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” on the cross, it was like he was tearing down the wall that keeps us away from God. This cry speaks to our constant struggle to be good and to be free from strict rules. It reminds us that we can’t reach God through our own efforts. As followers of Jesus, we’re invited to live joyfully, knowing that our mistakes aren’t a punishment but a challenge because of our close relationship with Christ. We don’t need to finish what God has already completed.

3. The third cry and the personal problem

Matthew’s account shows how easy it is to misunderstand the real message of the gospel. Even religious scholars can miss the point, while outsiders get it right away. It makes it clear that we can’t earn our salvation through good works or by being respectable. The gospel urges us to really get to know and live out what the Bible teaches, letting the cross’s power touch every part of our lives.



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