He Loves Me!
This devotional is a series of excerpts from Wayne Jacobsen's life changing book, He Loves Me! Download a PDF of this book by clicking the link below.
Day 39: Forsaken Son?
Perhaps Jesus' most puzzling words from the cross were in his cry of utter loneliness and despair, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Theologians have grappled with those words for centuries trying to sort out what was happening between Father and Son at that moment.
Could the Faithful One be unfaithful to his Son? Of course not. Even when Jesus told his disciples that they would all leave him alone, he said he would not be alone for the Father was with him. I don't believe for a minute that the Father forsook the Son. But there could be a vast difference here between what God did and what Jesus perceived. Jesus undoubtedly felt forsaken but that doesn't mean that he was.
Perhaps Psalm 22 holds a clue here since Jesus used the same words that David penned there. Read these excerpts from that Psalm as David vacillates between his security in God's love and his fear that he had lost it:
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ...Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One."
"I cry out by day, but you do not answer... Yet, our fathers...trusted and you delivered them."
"But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people...Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you..."
"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint... (Yet) he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help."
David eloquently described the torrent of emotions that sin produces in us, overwhelming us with emptiness and making us feel abandoned. But he also affirms that God is there nonetheless and in the end will have his way even through our agony.
When Jesus became sin for us he entered into the full shame, darkness and bondage of that sin. It is likely at the moment on the cross when God's wrath was consuming the sin he had become, that he couldn't even see the Father with whom he had shared fellowship through all eternity. Sin blinded him and he felt as if God had forsaken him. But that is the difference between the perception of sin and the reality of God.
We too feel abandoned by God at some of our darkest moments. It doesn't mean he's left us, only that we can't see him through the darkness. The resounding truth, however, is that God is always there, never turning his face against those who are his. To believe he did so with Christ is unthinkable.
That Jesus felt abandoned only shows the depth to which he experienced our sin. He entered into it fully and for a moment in eternity the Son knew what it was like to experience Fatherlessness. How painful that must have been since he had lived every moment with his eye on his Father. He might even have lost sight of the purpose of the cross itself, so utterly dark is the depth of sin.
Unseen though he was, the Father was still there in the same measure that he had always been. But having become sin itself he could no longer sense his Father's presence. Perception would become its own reality as Jesus shared in the emptiness and loneliness that perhaps defines hell itself. There is a mystery here far deeper than Scripture clarifies and we must take care not to make too much of it. But it seems that in allowing sin to touch the Godhead, it caused a rift in the divine community. The price of our sin was borne in their wounding. How his cry must have ripped at his Father's heart, thinking him the object of separation rather than love.
But the story didn't end there.