Holy Week: Forsaken

Matthew 27:46 (ESV)
"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

It is interesting to note that when the enemies of Jesus seized Him and took Him to trial, He made no complaint. When they thrust a crown of thorns onto His head, He said not a word. When the Roman soldiers scourged Him, when He was mocked and spat upon, He remained silent. Even when He was being nailed to the cross, He made no plea for mercy. Only when God forsook Him on the cross, did Jesus cry out—a cry from a soul suffering from separation.

For all of eternity, the holy communion of the Godhead has existed—existed in love, in nature, and in purpose. But on that cross of Calvary, a separation was required from a just God who cannot tolerate sin and the sin bearer for all of the world, who died for every single one of us. Let these two paragraphs sink in for just a moment. Realize what He did for you and I. If this does not make you fall to your knees and cry out “Who am I, Lord?”, I do not know what will.

Consider everything taking place: The communion Christ enjoyed with Heaven was broken; He was suffering greatly in his human existence; His disciples had for the most part abandoned Him; and although the power to call down legions of angels was within His grasp, His sacrifice would not allow it to happen. Jesus must bear the sins of all of the world, because we know God cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Christ was left alone to suffer in agony, and in abject loneliness.

To the unbeliever, theirs is a simple question: “Why?”

His atoning death meant that God’s law and justice were satisfied, making it possible for us sinners to now be justified (Romans 3: 23-26). God had previously declared that, “The soul that sins, must die” (Ezekiel 18:4); and if He were to go back on His word, He would no longer be a holy God. The sinner must die—not only physically, but spiritually—and face eternity separated from God.

Jesus did this for us. He died physically as a human, and also experienced spiritual death on the cross in His separation from God. He did not cry out because of physical death, but rather the pang of being apart from His Father.

This should paint us a vivid portrait of how much God hates sin—a fact presented many times in Scripture. Think about it: If God could not even look upon His own Son while He was bearing sin, how much more do you think He will despise those in the flesh who continue in sin? Let this be a reminder to us all when we struggle to feel His presence, are we still holding on to unconfessed sin?

Every one of us needs go back and read John 3:16 and thank the Almighty today for not striking us dead where we stand.