"My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).
Alone on the cross he hanged. To lift his head and look
around him would reveal to him groups of people looking on. Some were they who cried for
his death. Some were they who wept for his life. The sky grew darker and his vision
worsened beneath the weight of his thorny crown. And he knew in his heart that he would
soon draw his last breath as the
man they called Jesus.
What went through his mind in those last moments on the cross, only he knows; all is not
recorded for us. Perhaps He thought of the times he saw joy fill the eyes of one who had
just received sight, or who was lame and could now walk, or who was desperate and had now
found hope. Perhaps He thought about how only recently, He had been praised in moments of
a triumphal entry, only now to be spat upon and cursed. Perhaps He considered the
relationships He developed with His friends, family and followers. Perhaps He thought of
it all sporadically and interrupted by his need to lift to draw a
breath, or by a sudden twinge of pain shooting through His body. Even still, all was
brought still within a single moment--the moment that the Father turned away leaving
Christ, for the first time, completely alone.
It was an eternity of loneliness. He had faced His oppressors, He had faced crucifixion,
and now He faced everything alone.
Why did God turn away? Jesus had walked with Him daily in perfect fellowship. He heard His
Father's voice and did His will. He accomplished His Father's business and had presented
Himself the perfect, unblemished sacrificial Lamb that would take away the sins of the
world. He knew no sin, and He glorified His Father in every moment of His life. Why did
God turn away?
As we read in God's word of this moment wherein Jesus cries out, "My God, My God; why
hast thou forsaken me?" it may cause us to ask some questions of our own. "How
could God turn His back on Jesus?" and "What does that mean?" In the
attempt to understand this event, many of us have accepted this for an answer: that He,
God, simply could not look upon His Son with the sins of the world laid upon Him. It was,
therefore, our sins that caused Him to withdraw His presence from Jesus. And so, because
of our sin, Jesus faced the eternity of loneliness.
Our sins today still do much the same. They cause us to feel a separation from God, from
others, and from even ourselves. But we can take heart because we need not feel alone
anymore. Jesus placed Himself in a position to be forsaken so that we would never have to
be. God turned His back on our sins placed upon His Son, so that He would not ever have to
turn His back on us. In the parable of the prodigal son, the son went out from the
presence of his father's house and experienced a period of pain, confusion and loneliness.
Yet the arms of his father were always waiting and open to receive him back. It was simply
a matter of him turning back and returning to his father's house once more. Jesus was
momentarily forsaken once, and for each and everyone of us. He has made us sons of God,
and provided us the way to return through His death and resurrection. It is by trusting in
what Jesus has done that you need not ever be alone again. The lost can come to Him just
as they are. The prodigal son can return, and all can escape the loneliness by coming in
to the presence of the Lord.