And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli Eli lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
When the Lord Jesus Christ is hanging on the cross, bleeding and dying for your sins and my sins, he cries with a loud voice, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? We see the answer to the question he voiced many places in scripture, and it is seen very clearly in Paul’s writing of his second epistle to the Corinthians; and in this chapter he is talking about how God reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. Paul, through the Holy Spirit writes,
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
On that cross two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ, who never sinned, was made sin for us, and took the punishment we deserved. All of the history of man hangs on two moments in time, when Christ died on the cross, and when he arose from the grave. But why did the Father forsake Him? Let’s turn to Habakkuk, where we read,
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…
Here the prophet Habakkuk is petitioning God and through the Holy Spirit describing an attribute of God. We learn this attribute also in other places in the Word. So then we see that when Christ was on the cross and became sin for us, the perfect communion that the Father and Son had together since before the world began was broken, and God the Father had to turn away from beholding the sin on the Son. It is at this moment that God’s wrath was poured onto the Lord Jesus Christ for our sins. God’s divine justice had to be delivered for man’s sin, so that man could be reconciled to God. While the new testament shows us the physical death that the Lord died for us, the old testament shows us the spiritual death that he went through for us.
Let us turn to the Psalms, but before we begin, let me just say that it is amazing to me, that the more I study the Psalms, the more I see where the Psalmist is actually speaking the words of Christ through the Holy Spirit. That being said, let’s turn to Psalms 22. Here David, through the Holy Spirit, is writing prophetic words of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. When we read verse 1, it sounds very familiar…
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me and from the words of my roaring.
Please also take the time to compare verses 7&8 with Matthew 27: 41-44, focusing on verse 43. So in Psalms 22 we have pictured, Christ on the cross and some of His words that were not recorded in the new testament, and perhaps they were words of the heart and not of mouth, we just don’t know. But either way, notice in particular verse 6. Again, here we have Christ on the cross, dying for our sins, forsaken by the God the Father, with God’s wrath being poured on Him and He says…
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
This is mind boggling when you read Mark 9 where our Lord is talking about those who shall suffer eternal damnation, and in verse 44 says, Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. At the point of time between when our Lord says, My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me? and when he says It is finished he has experienced the punishment that we deserved for our sins, he suffered an eternity of horror and separation from God the father for us in that time. My mind cannot even begin to comprehend that. What an amazing, merciful, gracious, loving God we serve! Mercy is defined as withholding a punishment due, Grace is defined as withholding punishment and giving a gift in spite of the punishment we deserve.
The Lord Jesus Christ, who was and is 100% God, left heaven and was born of a virgin, manifest in human flesh, and shed His blood and died our death, and suffered our punishment, so we could be reconciled to Him! And not only this, but He was buried and arose from the dead. The apostle Paul says the Lord Jesus was, delivered for offenses and raised for our justification. And we have a hope that is sure and steadfast, that like as He was raised from the dead with a new glorified eternal body, so shall we be given a body fashioned unto like His glorious body.
Whenever I get upset or angry or I am involved in sin, you can take one thing to the bank, I have not remembered what my Lord did for me. May we constantly think on all that Christ has done for us, and give him thanksgiving.
In the Lord Jesus Christ,