Forsaken | Devotion #3: Abandoned
Pat Rowland | Locations Pastor
A person’s final words in life are always remembered by those closest because they reveal a person’s character, purpose, and values. As we look at the fourth saying of Jesus on the Cross, we come to Matthew 27:46, which reveals the agony Jesus suffered physically and spiritually.
“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?’”
“Forsaken,” or as translated in other versions of Scripture, “abandoned,” are far from the characteristics we would associate with God the Father. Yet, Jesus expresses the hopeless feeling of abandonment that comes with the bearing of all mankind’s sin. Our sin divides, bringing separation between God who is without sin and us, the sinner. As Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and so we know what it means to be separated from God.
The significance of this moment is that Jesus was without sin, but He chose to take our sin. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus knew that this was His purpose and this was intended from the beginning. There was only one possible solution for a man to be reconciled with God, and Jesus fully understood this moment would be forthcoming. Matthew records Jesus’ prayer just prior to his arrest, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
No one chooses a punishment for a crime in which they did not perform, but that is exactly what Jesus did. The physical agony of the crucifixion did not compare to the spiritual agony Jesus suffered when our sin separated Him from the Father. He cried out, “MY GOD, MY GOD…” It is a cry of desperation, loneliness, and hopelessness that is only remedied with His own death. Jesus experienced what we do not have to ever experience again because of the grace afforded us on the cross.