Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?Matthew 27:46
These words, spoken by the Lord Jesus as He hung on the cross, have struck me so forcefully recently. They are terrible words, and yet beautiful.
To all who believe in the Lord Jesus, God has promised, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ (Hebrews 13:5). God’s promise to be with His people at all times, in all places and circumstances, becomes more amazing when we consider those words spoken by Jesus on the cross. We are full of sin, constantly turning our backs on God, forgetting Him in our lives, failing to worship and praise Him as we should. Even in our best moments, there is nothing in us to merit God’s love and care. We deserve to be forsaken by God, and it is only through His grace and mercy that we are rescued from a forsaken eternity in hell.
But this promise of God to never forsake His people was only made possible because He did forsake Jesus for that time on the cross. Jesus’s life was lived in sinless purity, all He did was perfect and pleasing to the Father, free from even a hint of sin. Yet, in love for His people, Jesus went to the cross, and as He suffered there in physical agony, surely the greatest pain was to be forsaken by His Father – to no longer feel His gracious presence, but rather to feel divine wrath. In those hours on the cross, Jesus suffered the eternal punishment – separation from God – all His people deserve by nature. Christ’s suffering was too deep for us to even begin to comprehend.
Consider your life lived in sin and selfishness against God. Then, with the eye of faith look to the cross. Consider how God the Father forsook His beloved Son, consider how the Lord Jesus endured the forsaking of His Father – all so that they would never forsake you and me. Consider this love.
[A00120 – 10/10/2019]
On such love, my soul, still ponder,John Kent
Love, so great, so rich, so free;
Say while lost in holy wonder,
Why, O Lord, such love to me?