Devotion #1. Was Jesus Forsaken?
Why did Jesus cry out from the Cross, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” or, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus’ whole life was dedicated to faith in His Father. At the age of 12, He said, when His parents finally found Him at the Temple, “did you not know I had to be about my Father’s business?” He knew where God was leading Him, to a death astonishing to the world, anytime it is understood, but about which the Lord said, “how distressed I am until it is accomplished.” Yet He did not turn back and He did not doubt.
On the contrary He says in John not long before the Cross, “Now My soul is troubled. What should I say–Father, save Me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour.” And when Peter takes violent action to defend the Lord in the garden, Jesus rebukes Him, saying, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” But only hours later, with breath bought by great pain, He calls out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” See the context of that pain, Psalm 22.
Did Jesus loses faith; did something go wrong? No, absolutely not. Rather, it is because the Father too is heartbroken that the Cross is effective. Just as David’s heart was broken over his son Absalom, and Jacob’s heart was broken over Joseph – neither of them wanted to go on – so the Father’s heart broke over the death of His Son. Like Jacob, He did not expect to ever see Him again perhaps in the depths of His soul – perhaps – perhaps the death of someone, when you really accept they die, when it is someone as dear to you as yourself it is like that. And He had to accept He was dying and dead because the Lord plunged the knife into the Lord’s heart though He did not make Abraham do this.
He did forsake Jesus but He did it so that you and I might live. As Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, He did not want to drink the cup, but the Lord God chose to sacrifice Him. As Isaiah 53: 10,11 say,
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
This was the Lord’s way. Jesus held fast, saying sweetly and with longing, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” though He was slipping into death. Scripture was on His lips, and the redemption of the world in righteous Love was truly in His heart and body, and that was when they gave Him vinegar to drink and He said, “it is finished,” and died.
But as God says in Psalm 30:5, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” Because Jesus broke the Lord’s heart when He said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” therefore God repented of it and said to His Son who had been cast into the depths, I would that He were back, I wish He were alive. Be forgiven though you bore all the sins; because you bore all the sins you will have a portion with the great. In this Jesus was our propitiation, because He was pitiable and innocent to His Father when he bore our sins. Therefore He is resurrected, the author and finisher of the faith, and we can be saved through Him. Remember that David longed to bring back even Absalom when he had killed Ammon his brother.