Matthew 27:46. 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?”
What is our comfort in the cross?
Is not our greatest comfort in this life found in Jesus Christ’s greatest despair? Our hope found in his hopelessness? Our peace in his passion? Our acceptance by God in his abandonment by God?
More than thirty years before the cross the eternal Son of God incarnated, becoming human. He lived as us. Worked as us. Loved as us. Laughed as us. Suffered as us. And now he is dying as us.
But none of that is enough. None of that is the fullness of the human experience. But in Jesus’ “cry of dereliction” from the cross – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? – we see him enter into what it truly means to be human. He is asking OUR question. Why? Why are we separated from God? Jesus, for the first time, feels what every single one of us feels from birth. To be God’s enemy. To be sin. To be cursed.
What is happening in this cry?
Nothing less than our salvation.
This prayer of Christ on the cross is the heart of our faith. It is the center of Christianity – Christ in our place. Jesus who is fully God, here crushed by his full humanity. God became godless. The sinless one became sin. The law giver was cursed under his own law. The giver of eternal life is dying. The one who was Heaven sent, is now in the Hell of godforsakenness.
The cross itself is a physical picture of humanity’s spiritual reality in sin. On the cross Jesus was condemned, powerless, stripped of all human dignity, reduced to slavery, and declared worthy of only death. This is exactly what sin, empowered by the law, does to every human soul. It condemns us, enslaves us, beats us down, makes us less than human, steals our dignity, and declares us “dead men walking.”
But for Christ his cross wasn’t only a picture of our condition. He actually entered into our condition. He became not only human, but he became humanity’s sin. Paul the Apostle explained it this way:
2 Corinthians 5:21. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Galatians 3:13. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.
On the cross Jesus BECAME what we are. He became Sin. He became the Curse. In so many ways this is beyond our understanding. But what isn’t beyond our understanding is the WHY question for us on the cross. My Jesus, my Jesus, why did you become sin and the curse?
And his answer rings out – FOR YOU!
For our sake Jesus exchanged righteousness for unrighteousness. For his enemies he became his own enemy. For his debtors he paid the wage of sin. For the law breakers he was cursed. Why? So that in him we might become the righteousness of God. So that we might be his body and his bride. His brothers and sisters. His forever family.
Christian, Jesus cried out My God, my God, why have you forsaken me so that you and I would never, ever have to pray that prayer again. We never have to feel alone. We never have to feel abandoned by God. Even in the silence. Even in the “hiddenness of God.” Jesus has once for all time answered the question, “Where is God when it hurts?” He is right there in the hurt. He is in the pain. He is in the silence. He is in the darkness. It is in the sorrow that we find our Savior. It is on the cross that we find our union with Christ.
Why did God forsake Jesus? For you.
Why has God forsaken you? He hasn’t. And he never will. Abandonment by God is the one experience of Christ that those who are in Christ will never share.
“To live is Christ” means living in the full confidence that we will never be forsaken by the Father. He will never send us out. Never close the door. Never change his mind. Never turn away. Never leave us alone. Never.
Do you ever feel abandoned by God? When?
You in Christ
In Christ you will never be forsaken by God. Do you believe this? Why or why not?
Christ in you
What is one practical way that believing that God will always be with you could change how you live?
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