I believe it was the last piece of humanity Jesus suffered for us.
Even Jesus experienced that feeling of God’s absence.
Many of us know this too. We haven’t hung on a cross, but we’ve trudged through grief, heartache, illness, pain, and our own sin.
“WHERE ARE YOU?” we shout. And silence replies. At the times when we need God the most he seems MIA.
There’s a teaching going around that tries to explain Jesus’ forsaken cry. I’ve heard preachers teach that as the sin of the world hung heavy upon Jesus, the Father turned his back. He couldn’t look.
Moses, the guy who sat face to face with Divinity told Joshua what God was like as he prepared Joshua to take the lead into the Promised Land. He told Joshua,
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:3).
Jesus told his disciples that he would be with them forever too:
. . . I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:40).
God’s character is constant. It’s not like God to bail especially on his son.
Yet Jesus himself felt forsaken. What happened?
While I do believe Jesus felt God had left him Jesus’ words were the exact cry David wrote in Psalm 22, a Messianic psalm.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? . . . .I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaw; you lay me in the dust of death. . . (Psalm 22: 1,2, 14,15).
I can’t fathom how David wrote this psalm except that the Holy Spirit gave him the words, the prophecy of the One who was to come. Yeshua, Jesus, whose name means “Save.” And Jesus, as all good rabbis knew the words by heart, but he also knew these words would one day be his.
I don’t believe he quoted them just because he knew them. Jesus was living out the prophecy. And with that prophecy came the final words of the psalm, “. . . they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to the people yet unborn, that he has done it” (Psalm 22:31).
“It is finished.” Were his last words before he died. It was done.
Christ took our punishment which involved sin separating Him from the Father, but in Peter’s first sermon he speaks of another Messianic Psalm when he quotes Psalm 16:
“Seeing what was to come, he (David) spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned (forsaken) to the grave.” (Acts 2:31)
The night Jesus was arrested he had celebrated his final Passover with his disciples. He’d lifted up the third cup of the Seder meal, the Cup of Redemption, and said, “This is my blood poured out for you.”
We are redeemed for all eternity. It has been done.
If you feel forsaken, I pray it may help to know Jesus did too. But I also hope that you now know that God is still there, waiting.
. . .and resurrection day is coming.