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Pastor Chris: In Christ Alone

Forsaken by the Father

MATTHEW 27:45-46 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 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?”

At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in the Gospel of Matthew we behold God the Father’s affection for Jesus in his baptism, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

Now, also in the Gospel of Matthew, we see a different picture at the end of Jesus’ public ministry: this beloved Son has been forsaken by the Father.

These words fulfill the words of Psalm 22 written six hundred years before Good Friday… Where King David not only writes a psalm, but prophesies a truth. David prophesies of the One whose hands and feet will be pierced, for whose clothing lots will be cast, and to the One who will cry out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Now quoting and fulfilling Psalm 22, Jesus cries out not from Israel’s throne but from Rome’s cross.

These are words of appalling woe.

This is pain deeper than any nail.

This is a cut more excruciating than any whip.

This is agony worse than any crown of thorns.

This is shame worse than hanging on a cross.

This is abandonment more desperate than the betrayal of friends.

The unbroken fellowship between God the Father and God the Son from eternity past has been torn asunder.

Jesus is utterly and entirely alone.

His only companions are the agony of his flesh and the darkness of our sin.

The word Forsaken is one of the most tragic words in all of human language. It means to be abandoned. It means to be deserted. Have you noticed the depth of connection and the degree of devotion determines how painful the act of being forsaken is? It does not hurt to be forsaken by a complete stranger. The pain of being abandoned by a mere acquaintance can be overcome. When forsaken, abandoned and deserted by a love one though, the pain goes deeper than any physical cut.

Perhaps after enduring an entire year of feeling cut off from family and friends you feel isolated. Isolated out of fear of a virus or grieving the loss of a loved one. Perhaps sometimes you wonder, “Can Jesus relate to my loneliness?" "Does God know my isolation and my sadness?”

Imagine, even though it seems to be beyond our finite minds to comprehend, what Jesus experienced in this moment…

The God who is Father, Son and Spirt,

The God who is Love and Light,

God the Father whose greatest glory is to glorify the Son.

God the Son whose greatest glory is to glorify the Father.

God the Spirit whose greatest glory is to glorify the Son and the Father.

Jesus was sent by the Father.

Jesus loved the Father.

Jesus proclaimed the Father’s words, Jesus did the Father’s work and Jesus fulfilled His Father’s mission.

Jesus never had a thought that was out of harmony with the Father’s mind, Jesus never experienced a moment outside the Father’s will and Jesus never spent a moment out of the Father’s abiding presence.

Now, from a Roman Cross, this same Jesus cries out “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Jesus knows isolation in a way we never will. Jesus experiences desolation darker than our darkest moments. Why did this happen? How could this happen?

Marvel my friend at both the blazing white-hot holiness of God and his lavish love for you.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

This is the great exchange. This is what makes the darkest day in all of history, Good Friday. This where, Jesus, dies in our place, for our sins.

This is where the cross, meant for us

This is where the punishment meant for us,

This is where the penalty meant for us,

This is where the God-forsaken reality of eternal hell due to us,

was taken because of God’s amazing love for us.

This is where we are saved by God, from God, for God. We are saved from God’s righteous wrath, entirely by God’s saving work on the cross, so we could be with God and enjoy Him, now and forevermore. Jesus was forsaken by God, so we could be forgiven. Jesus was forsaken by God, so we would never be separated from God.

Now comes the call to believe. Now comes the call to repent. To turn from your self, turn from your sin, turn from the world, and return to a Heavenly Father who loves you.

A Heavenly Father who for three hours one Friday, two thousand years ago, turned His back on His Son so He would never have to turn His back on His sons and daughters.

JOHN 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.