When Jesus cried out “my God my God why have you forsaken me” he was reacting to something he had never before experienced. He was experiencing separation from His Father. He was feeling the weight of sin and bearing sin’s consequence.
You see, sin separates man from God. It causes walls to go up between us and Him. It puts distance between His thoughts and ours, His will and ours. Jesus led a sinless life—never once had sin caused even an inch of separation to exist between him and God. But at the cross, all the sins of humanity were placed upon his shoulders. He wore our sin—all of it. For the first time in his life, His perfect communion with the Father was severed,
He was the lamb led to a slaughter that the prophet Isaiah spoke of 700 years prior. He became the sacrifice required to atone for the sins of humanity. He became the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy for the new covenant. There would no longer be a need for animal sacrifices in the Temple, because Jesus’ innocent shed blood was payment in full for all of our sins.
When Jesus cried out “My God…” he was experiencing the darkness that we as believers in Christ will never know. He was experiencing the wrath of God, so that we will never have to. We have the promise from God that He will never leave us or forsake us. That promise is ours because Jesus was willing to be forsaken. One of my favorite worship songs says, “I’m forgiven because you were forsaken. I’m accepted, you were condemned. I’m alive and well, your spirit is within me, because you died and rose again. Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King would die for me?”
Well we are told that it was for the joy set before him that Jesus endured the cross. Do you know what that joy was? Eternity with you and me, in perfect union with God in heaven. That truly is amazing love.
Separation from God caused Jesus to cry out loud from the cross. At this thought, I have to ask myself, how do I react when I sense distance between me and God. Do I notice? While I will never be forsaken by God, I can choose by my actions to walk away from him, step out of his will for me, or shut Him out from parts of my life. Often we do these things without ever realizing that we have mis-stepped. For me, I often realize it when I sense in my spirit a lack of peace—when I cannot sense His voice. When this happens, I know that it is time for me to stop and evaluate my life. What am I valuing? Am I walking in step with my God or have I allowed unconfessed sin to put distance between me and My Father?
The other day, one of my students and I were talking about the distance from God that Jesus experienced on the cross. We talked about how Jesus was always so close to God that he immediately noticed the disconnect. I correlated it to when someone you love and spend quality time with goes away from you. You notice it. Life feels different without them. You feel, on some level, alone, barren, exposed, and feeble. It is because that person impacted your every day life. So if God is truly the Lord of my life, I should feel those same emotions when I step away from Him. I can honestly say that is probably one of the greatest gifts we have—the ability to sense His presence. Because in knowing what it feels like to be with Him, we can recognize when we are walking apart from Him. The lack of fulfillment, joy, and peace that we feel apart from God is like an internal alarm system, letting us know that we have, in some way, stepped away from God’s best for us. Because of this alarm, we can stop in our tracks and turn back to God. He will run to meet us! Truly, again, AMAZING LOVE.